The Holy Grail on Film

Essays on the Cinematic Quest


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About the Book

This collection of new essays is the first to study film depictions of the quest for the Holy Grail—the holy Christian relic of legend supposedly used by Jesus at the Last Supper. Scholars from a range of disciplines discuss American, Australian and European films that offer fresh perspectives on this enduring myth of the Arthurian world and Western culture, including The Silver Chalice (1954), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Excalibur (1981), The Road Warrior (1981), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), The Fisher King (1991), The Da Vinci Code (2006), The Waterboy (1998), and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Undead (2009).

About the Author(s)

Kevin J. Harty, professor and formerly chair of English and coordinator of the Undergraduate General Education Core at La Salle University in Philadelphia, is associate editor of Arthuriana, the official journal of the North American Branch of the International Arthurian Society (of which he is the former president). He has previously written or edited 14 books, including ground-breaking studies of depictions of the Middle Ages on film.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kevin J. Harty
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7785-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2053-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Holy Grail, Silent Grail (Kevin J. Harty) 7
The Silver Chalice: The Once and Future Grail (K. S. Whetter) 21
Lancelot du lac: Robert Bresson’s Arthurian Realism (Joan Tasker Grimbert) 37
Perceval of the ­Avant-Garde: Rohmer, Blank and von Trier (Alan Baragona) 50
Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal: Remystifying Kundry (Jon Sherman) 67
“Lovely Filth”: Monty Python and the Matter of the Holy Grail (Christine M. Neufeld) 81
John Boorman’s Excalibur and the Irrigating Light of the Grail (Raeleen ­Chai-Elsholz with ­Jean-Marc Elsholz) 98
The Da Vinci Code and the Myth of History (Susan Aronstein) 112
Percival in Cooperstown: Arthurian Legend, Baseball Mythology and the Mediated Quest in Barry Levinson’s The Natural (James Jesson) 128
Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King (Cory James Rushton) 143
A Son, His Father, Some Nazis and the Grail: Lucas and Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Joseph M. Sullivan) 158
A Grail or a Mirage? Searching the Wasteland of The Road Warrior (Paul B. Sturtevant) 173
The Grail as Symbolic Quest in Tarkovsky’s Stalker (Andrew B. R. Elliott) 187
The Waterboy and Swamp Chivalry: A Grail Knight for American Teens (Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman) 202
Holy Grail, Schlocky Grail (David W. Marshall) 215
About the Contributors 233
Index 237

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “It is a rich and rewarding collection of daring essays by edgy scholars”—Arthuriana
  • “Engaging…a beautifully written work that would appeal to anyone interested in the Holy Grail, Arthurian legend and indeed, the medieval period.”—Destructive Music