Mark Forstater : The 7th Python

The 7th Python

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Arts & Entertainment , Biographies & Memoirs

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Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a great, original comedy and the most profitable independent film made in the U.K. If you’d invested £1,000 in it, you’d have made £130,000 back. With more to come.

As a young man, Mark Forstater produced the film. He set it up so that the Pythons had total creative control. Each Python also made many millions. Mark got over 5 % of the profits. Everyone was happy – well as happy as John Cleese could be before he started therapy. Then golden icing on the cake: Eric Idle hit on the idea of turning the hit film into a musical. Spamalot was a smash. Spamalot was also cashalot for everyone involved and it should have been for Mark.

But the Pythons, or their managers, or their lawyers, or the gorilla in their collective unconscious, decided Mark didn’t deserve so much. No one used the word ‘deserved’. It was a question of how lawyers, accountants and managers re-interpreted his contract. Back in 1974, it had been amended by hand. Lawyers poured over these squiggles as if they were holy writ – apt since we’re into the Holy Grail.

Forstater decided he had to fight the battle of his life. After 7 years of struggle it came to court, where the judge, the lawyers and the Pythons were all Oxbridge men. Forstater, an American, had gone to Manchester. Yet he won. If there were a Nobel Prize for Bitching, Eric Idle would be proud to win it. In revenge he called Forstater a loser, an idiot and a twat. The twat, however, has now decided to speak.

An original, lively and at times moving account of the inside story of one man’s battle against the mighty Python.

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