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View Full Version : Monty Python & Holy Grail Q: What'd that witch say?


Seraphim
08-30-2001, 11:40 AM
Despite having seen this movie a zillion times, there's one part I never got.

It's the scene just after when Bedemir and Lancelot meet, where the peasants are weighing the witch in the huge scales. They knock the the supports out, the scales stabilize, the crowds cheer, and the camera cuts to a close-up of the witch, who says...something. The noise from the crowd drowns much of it out. Despite repeat rewindings, I still can't resolve what she said. So what did I miss?

Meliadus
08-30-2001, 11:45 AM
If I remember correctly, she says "It's a fair cop".

Why A Duck
08-30-2001, 11:51 AM
Originally posted by Meliadus
If I remember correctly, she says "It's a fair cop".

That's it. It's a British expression, so it might not have clicked with a Yank. Same phrase in the Whizzo Candy factory sketch (Howdy Crunchy ;))and a thousand other Python bits.

lawoot
08-30-2001, 11:53 AM
Or tp put it in 'American': "You got me. I did it"

TheeGrumpy
08-31-2001, 06:11 PM
Is that what it means? Wow! That changes the punchline entirely. Always sounded to me like she was protesting.

VarlosZ
08-31-2001, 07:02 PM
I always thought it was, "It's a fair court." Of course, I could be wrong. Would "It's a fair cop" mean more-or-less the same thing?

Crunchy Frog
08-31-2001, 07:28 PM
I'm too late. Damn. Well, if you've decided to skip all those other posts just to read mine (yeah, that happens) she says, "It's a fair cop." Which, as has been said, basically means, "You caught me."

I hate being late to these things.

Howdy back, pcubed.

BTW - It's the scene just after when Bedemir and Lancelot meet...
No it's not. It's the scene where the audience is introduced to Bedemir, but right before he joins King Arthur. (Arthur shouts from the crowd, "A duck!" right before they go to the scales, afterward Bedemir asks who he was, so wise in science. Arthur says he's Artheur King of the Britains, Bedemir drops to his knees and says, "My liege!" Arthur dubs him Sir Bedemir, etc etc. Is it obvious I've seen this film WAY too many times?)
We never see the actual meeting of Bedemir and Launcelot, since after that scene they cut to "The Book of the Film" and the narrator tells the audience the other knights who join King Arthur (including Launcelot and the aptly named Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film)

Sorry about that. I just got carried away. I'll stop now before I end up relating the entre film.

everton
08-31-2001, 07:38 PM
Originally posted by VarlosZ
I always thought it was, "It's a fair court." Of course, I could be wrong. Would "It's a fair cop" mean more-or-less the same thing? Hmm, OK, just about the same. It's the sort of thing people only ever "turn to the camera and say", Bugs Bunny style though. The only time I've every heard it in real life was from a co-worker of mine who wrote it (jokingly) on a cover note he sent when paying a speeding ticket by post.

BTW, isn't it Sir Bedevere?

Cap'n Crude
08-31-2001, 07:41 PM
That's Sir Bedivere, folks. Read yer darn Arthurian legends fercryinoutloud. I'll let you slide on Launcelot, since either spelling is accepted.

Ah, I always new that my concentration on Early English literature (even if Le Morte d'Artur was in French) would pay off big. Ni! :)

everton
08-31-2001, 08:02 PM
Wouldn't you just know there'd be a link (http://home2.pacific.net.sg/~joshua_wong/Monty/MontyP2.html)?

I dub thee Sir Google, and grant thee all yonder lands...

Hail Ants
08-31-2001, 11:25 PM
The 'witch' was played by (the very cute) Connie Booth, John Cleese's girlfriend/wife at the time. She play Polly in Fawlty Towers (as well as writing it with Cleese).

Seraphim
08-31-2001, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Crunchy Frog

BTW - It's the scene just after when Bedemir and Lancelot meet...

No it's not. It's the scene where the audience is introduced to Bedemir, but right before he joins King Arthur. (Arthur shouts from the crowd, "A duck!" (etc.)


Main Entry: meet
Pronunciation: 'mEt
Function: verb

1 a : to come into the presence of : FIND b : to come together with especially at a particular time or place <I'll meet you at the station> c : to come into contact or conjunction with : JOIN d : to appear to the perception of

In my book, that counts as a meeting.

Lemur866
09-01-2001, 12:21 AM
Sorry Seraphim. Two people do indeed meet, but they are not Bedevir and Lancelot.

Seraphim
09-01-2001, 01:00 AM
Lemur866, we all know the agenda (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=83650) you have against people with "S" names.

Anyway, "It's a fair cop."? That's it? Ten years of idle wonder for that? And all this time I thought I had missed the zenith of Pythonian repartee...


:::Seraphim departs, broken-hearted:::

SPOOFE
09-01-2001, 05:30 AM
she says, "It's a fair cop." Which, as has been said, basically means, "You caught me."
Actually, I took it to mean that she was resigned to her fate, i.e.- whether or not she was really a witch was unimportant... she was tried under "fair" circumstances (more than fair, actually), and was still found guilty.

In other words, it's not so much "You caught me" as "Aw, fuck it."

DAVEW0071
09-01-2001, 08:17 AM
I was always under the impression she said, "'Tis a fair court." This is also said by Eric Idle in the Dead Vicar Sketch on a Monty Python LP. Although, I suppose Idle could be saying "It's a fair cop" also, but to my ears it sounds like the word "court."

Although I have no documentation of this, I've been under the impression that it was a somewhat standard reply by the defendant after a verdict was rendered, something along the lines of acknowledging that the defendant wasn't railroaded and that the QC et al presented things on the up and up regardless of a guilty verdict.

Do any of the British Dopers have any feedback on what the witch says, or on my wholly unsubstantiated scenario of British court procedures?

Crusoe
09-01-2001, 08:30 AM
'It's a fair cop' would seem more in keeping. As others have said, it's a cross between 'Fair enough, you caught me' and a resigned 'Aw, fuck'.

This Monty Python FAQ (http://bau2.uibk.ac.at/sg/python/Sources/monty.python.faq.html) agrees with the 'cop' line.

DAVEW -- I can't say I've ever heard 'tis a fair court' said in the UK. I can't see many bank robbers, muggers or whatever coming out with something that restrained and eloquent on being found guilty. The FAQ above also claims that's it's 'a fair cop' in the Dead Bishop sketch.

DAVEW0071
09-01-2001, 08:33 AM
As I said, I was only going by what I heard and my own fevered imagination.

Guess I'll have to get some Q-Tips for my ears and aspirin for my fever.

Thanks.

Crusoe
09-01-2001, 08:37 AM
Just don't light the Q-Tip. Homer has a lot to answer for.