Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Monty Python and the Jewish Swastika Star Symbol

Looking for the famous Judean Suicide Squad scene from Monty Python's "Life of Brian", I came upon a claip of deleted scenes, of which I knew not.

And what do I see?

The squad is a Nazi/Teutonic groupos of racists (demanding doing away with all "the scum of non-Jewish people", seeking to Hail the Leader, "The Leader who will save Israel by ridding it of the scum of non-Jewish people, making it pure! No foreigners; no riff-raff; no gypsies" here at 9:15).  

When the commander finds out they faked their suicide he calls them "non-Semitic racially impure".

And on their helmets?

See for yourselves:

Researching, I found another source.



Joe in Australia said...

Well, there's a reason it was deleted.

Michael in Pennsylvania said...

From the Wikipedia entry for the film... Note the remarks by Idle and Nash about "Rabid Zionism" and "extreme forms of Zionism", respectively.

(Well, well...)

"The most controversial cuts were the scenes involving Otto, initially a recurring character, who had a thin Adolf Hitler moustache and spoke with a German accent, shouting accusations of "racial impurity" at people whose conceptions were similar to Brian's (Roman centurion rape of native Judean women), and other Nazi phrases. The logo of the Judean People's Front, designed by Terry Gilliam,[26] was a Star of David with a small line added to each point so it resembled a swastika, most familiar in the West as the symbol of the anti-Semitic Nazi movement. The rest of this faction also all had the same thin moustaches, and wore a spike on their helmets, similar to those on Imperial German helmets. The official reason for the cutting was that Otto's dialogue slowed down the narrative. However, Gilliam, writing in The Pythons Autobiography by The Pythons, said he thought it should have stayed, saying "Listen, we've alienated the Christians, let's get the Jews now." Idle himself was said to have been uncomfortable with the character; "It's essentially a pretty savage attack on rabid Zionism, suggesting it's rather akin to Nazism, which is a bit strong to take, but certainly a point of view."[12] Michael Palin's personal journal entries from the period when various edits of Brian were being test-screened consistently reference the Pythons' and filmmakers' concerns that the Otto scenes were slowing the story down and thus were top of the list to be chopped from the final cut of the film.[23] However, Oxford Brookes University historian David Nash says the removal of the scene represented "a form of self-censorship" and the Otto sequence "which involved a character representative of extreme forms of Zionism" was cut "in the interests of smoothing the way for the film's distribution in America."[27]"

Though I enjoyed Monty Python's Flying Circus (the TV program) immensely, I experienced more than a little unease when (in the 1980s) I viewed "The Life of Brian".

It seems, in retrospect, my disquiet about the film (and inevitably the Pythons?) was more than warranted.

And now, years later, confirmed.

Anonymous said...

From your description, I saw the helmets and logo as a reference to, and a comment on, Oswald Mosely and the British Union of fascists. Since Life of Brian was set in first-century Judea, the organization's symbols would have to relate somehow to first-century Judea, with the pointed helmets and not-a-swastika wires pointing at Moseley's (and many other Britons') affection for - and support for - fascist Germany.

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