I recently wrote about the controversy over the film Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Those who have seen the film may recall a funny but puzzling episode near the very end, involving a uniformed ‘suicide squad’ of soldiers who appear at the scene of Brian’s crucifixion.
The puzzling aspect was that the appearance and actions of this strange squad did not seem to surprise Brian at all. He did not look hopeful of being saved at the last minute by their appearance, nor did he look disappointed at the way things turned out. He merely seemed resigned and exasperated.
The reason for his reaction is that an earlier scene that set up the final joke was cut from the final release. The cut scene involves a militaristic Jewish leader named Otto with Nazi-type ideas about racial purity who dreams of ridding the region of all non-Jews. Here is a compilation of deleted scenes from the film, with the one that I am referring to starting at around the 9:10 minute mark.
In later interviews, members of the Python said that the backers of the film thought that such a scene was too controversial and would anger Jews and would add to the problems they already had with Christians over the film.
Also the bit at 7:00 where Judith sends for Otto and his suicide squad via Pigeon. I assume the bit at the end where she accepts his martyrdom was added after they decided to edit that bit out, or it would have made no sense at all. Try and save and accept he is going to die …
Have to say I never thought that bit was incongruous however as it was the Judean Peoples Front! He wouldn’t be happy or expect to be saved, in the scene where they are kidnapping Pilots wife the JPF are hated more than the Romans. So it fitted for me anyway. But interesting to see what they meant to happen and I agree Nazi Jews could have been the bit that killed it for good, would have been without one of the best comedy films of all time, if not the best.
Good morning Mano,
The JPF, of course, had its moment of glory 40 years later at Masada.
Do all you can to make today a better day,
hyphenman -- well that taught the Romans a lesson didn’t it?
Romanes Eunt Domus
People called Romanes they go the house?
I have the Life of Brian screenplay book that I got in the 80’s. The scene with the suicide squad is in the book, so I am familiar with it. I didn’t even realize that the scene is actually cut out of the movie! now I have to go and watch the movie--it has been over twenty years since I have seen it.