A first look at the new 4K restoration of Terry Gilliam’s Jabberwocky, a beautifully crazed landmark in British cinema. Gilliam, Michael Palin and Annette Badland were all in attendance at a 40th anniversary screening of the film at the BFI London Film Festival last week on Thursday 5 October.
Terry Gilliam’s first feature as a solo director, here gloriously restored, is a riotous tale of monsters, true love and medieval manners. Sometimes seen as a companion to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Jabberwocky is pure, undiluted Gilliam. The most Python touch is the presence of Michael Palin – playing put-upon medieval peasant Dennis Cooper, who is forced to seek his fortune in a land of mud, gore and historically authentic junk food, whilst he is menaced by the hideous dragon ‘Jabberwock’. Riotously funny, the film is also a fascinating signpost to its director’s future – Dennis a definitive Gilliam hero, the little man terrorised by bureaucracy. For Gilliam, the road to Brazil well and truly began here. This screening gives the LFF audience the first chance to see a new 4k restoration of the film, overseen by Terry Gilliam. Delight in the rich colours of Medieval life. Particularly the mud. (Danny Leigh)
Jabberwocky has been fully restored to 4K by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation 4K, supervised by Gilliam himself, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. The Criterion Collection UK/SONY Pictures Home Entertainment are releasing a special director’s edition on Blu-ray and DVD.