Jabberwocky | Terry Gilliam's muddy medieval fantasy from 1977 gets a sparkling restoration

Jabberwocky Terry Gilliam
(Image credit: The 61st BFI London Film Festiva)

Jabberwocky Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam's first solo outing as a director, 1977's  Jabberwocky is a messy medieval fantasy that is bursting at the seams with mud, grime and gore.

There are a fair few chuckles, too, as Michael Palin’s ambitious but dim-witted cooper's apprentice, Dennis Cooper, leaves his village to seek his fortune in the city. There he finds crowds of peasants trying to escape from the Jabberwock, a hideous monster that is ravaging the countryside.

Amid a roster of British comic talents, including Max Wall (as King Bruno the Questionable), Warren Mitchell, Rodney Bewes, John Le Mesurier and Harry H Corbett, Gilliam displays the visual flair that would become his trademark. This splendid Criterion Collection Blu-ray release showcases the film’s new 4K digital transfer from a restoration by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation, approved by Gilliam himself.

Certificate PG. Runtime 105 mins. 5.1 Surround. 1.85: 1 Aspect Ratio.

Released on Blu-ray by the Criterion Collection and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Director Approved Special Edition Features • New 4K digital transfer from a restoration by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation, approved by director Terry Gilliam • 5.1 surround mix, supervised by Gilliam and presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray • Audio commentary from 2001 featuring Gilliam and actor Michael Palin • New documentary on the making of the film, featuring Gilliam, producer Sandy Lieberson, Palin, and actor Annette Badland • New interview with Valerie Charlton, designer of the Jabberwock, featuring her collection of rare behindthe- scenes photographs • Selection of Gilliam’s storyboards and sketches • PLUS: An essay by critic Scott Tobias


Jason Best

A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.