quarta-feira, 28 de março de 2012

"A tiger - in Africa?" - Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983): The First Zulu War. Natal 1879 (not Glasgow)

Democracy and humanitarianism have always been tarde marks of the
British Army and have stamped its triumph throughout history, in
the furthest-flung corners of the Empire. But no matter where or
when there was fighting to be done, it has always been the calm
leadership of the officer class that has made the British Army what
it is.

[Inside a tent.]

Pakenham-Walsh: Morning Ainsworth.

Ainsworth: Morning Pakenham-Walsh.

Pakenham-Walsh: Sleep well?

Ainsworth: Not bad. Bitten to shreds though. Must be a hole in the
bloody mosquito net.

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes, savage little blighters aren't they?

First Lieut Chadwick: [arriving] Excuse me, sir.

Ainsworth: Yes Chadwick?

Chadwick: I'm afraid Perkins got rather badly bitten during the

Ainsworth: Well so did we. Huh.

Chadwick: Yes, but I do think the doctor ought to see him.

Ainsworth: Well go and fetch him, then.

Chadwick: Right you are, sir.

Ainsworth: Suppose I'd better go along. Coming, Pakenham?

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes I suppose so.

[Chadwick leaves. Ainsworth and Pakenham-Walsh thread
their leisurely way through the line of assegais.
Pakenham-Walsh's valet is speared by a Zulu warrior but
Pakenham-Walsh valiantly saves his jacket from the mud.
They enter Perkins's tent. Perkins is on his camp bed.]

Ainsworth: Ah! Morning Perkins.

Perkins: Morning sir.

Ainsworth: What's all the trouble then?
Perkins: Bitten sir. During the night.

Ainsworth: Hm. Whole leg gone eh?

Perkins: Yes.

[As they talk, the din of battle continues outside.
Screams of dying men, crackling of tents set on fire.]

Ainsworth: How's it feel?

Perkins: Stings a bit.

Ainsworth: Mmm. Well it would, wouldn't it. That's quite a bite
you've got there you know.

Perkins: Yes, real beauty isn't it?

All: Yes.

Ainsworth: Any idea how it happened?

Perkins: None at all. Complete mystery to me. Woke up just now...
one sock too many.

Pakenham-Walsh: You must have a hell of a hole in your net.

Ainsworth: Hm. We've sent for the doctor.

Perkins: Ooh, hardly worth it, is it?

Ainsworth: Oh yes... better safe than sorry.

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes, good Lord, look at this.

[He indicates a gigantic hole in the mosquito net.]

Ainsworth: By jove, that's enormous.

Pakenham-Walsh: You don't think it'll come back, do you?

Ainsworth: For more, you mean?

Pakenham-Walsh: Yes.

Ainsworth: You're right. We'd better get this stitched.

Pakenham-Walsh: Right.

Ainsworth: Hallo Doc.

Livingstone: [entering the tent with Chadwick] Morning. I came as
fast as I could. Is something up?

Ainsworth: Yes, during the night old Perkins had his leg bitten
sort of... off.

Livingstone: Ah hah!? Been in the wars have we?

Perkins: Yes.

Livingstone: Any headache, bowels all right? Well, let's have a
look at this one leg of yours then. [Looks around under sheet]
Yes... yes... yes... yes... yes... yes... well, this is
nothing to worry about.

Perkins: Oh good.

Livingstone: There's a lot of it about, probably a virus, keep
warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or
anything try and favour the other leg.

Perkins: Oh right ho.

Livingstone: Be as right as rain in a couple of days.

Perkins: Thanks for the reassurance, doc.

Livingstone: Not at all, that's what I'm here for. Any other
problems I can reassure you about?

Perkins: No I'm fine.

Livingstone: Jolly good. Well, must be off.

Perkins: So it'll just grow back then, will it?

Livingstone: Er... I think I'd better come clean with you about
this... it's... um it's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a
virus is what we doctors call very very small. So small it
could not possibly have made off with a whole leg. What we're
looking for here is I think, and this is no more than an
educated guess, I'd like to make that clear, is some
multi-cellular life form with stripes, huge razor-sharp teeth,
about eleven foot long and of the genu *felis horribilis*.
What we doctors, in fact, call a tiger.

All in tent: A tiger...!!

[Outside, everyone engaged in battle, including the
Zulus, breaks off and shouts in horror:]

All: A tiger!

[The Zulus run off.]

Pakenham-Walsh: A tiger - in Africa?

Ainsworth: Hm...

Pakenham-Walsh: A tiger in Africa...?

Ainsworth: Ah... well it's probably escaped from a zoo.

Pakenham-Walsh: Well it doesn't sound very likely.

Ainsworth: [quietly] Stumm, stumm...

[A severely-wounded Sergeant staggers into the tent.]

Sergeant: Sir, sir, the attack's over, sir! the Zulus are

Ainsworth: [dismissively] Oh jolly good. [He turns his back to the
group around Perkins.]

Sergeant: Quite a lot of casualties though, sir. C Division wiped
out. Signals gone. Thirty men killed in F Section. I should
think about a hundred - a hundred and fifty men altogether.

Ainsworth: [not very interested] Yes, yes I see, yes... Jolly good.

Sergeant: I haven't got the final figures, sir. There's a lot of
seriously wounded in the compound...

Ainsworth: [interrupting] Yes... well, the thing is, Sergeant, I've
got a bit of a problem here. [With gravity.] One of the
officers has lost a leg.

Sergeant: [stunned by the news] Oh *no*, sir!

Ainsworth: [gravely] I'm afraid so. Probably a tiger.

Sergeant: In Africa?

Ainsworth and Pakenham-Walsh: Stumm, stumm...

Ainsworth: The M.O. says we can stitch it back on if we find it

Sergeant: Right sir! I'll organise a party right away, sir!

Ainsworth: Well it's hardly time for that, is it Sergeant...?

Sergeant: A search party...

Ainsworth: Ah! *Much* better idea. I'll tell you what, organise one
straight away.

Sergeant: Yes sir!

[Outside dead British bodies (of the other ranks) are

Sergeant: [apologetically] Sorry about the mess, sir. We'll try and
get it cleared up, by the time you get back.

[They walk through the carnage. Orderlies are cheerfully
attending to the equally cheery wounded and the only
slightly less cheery dead.]

A dying man: [covered in blood] We showed 'em, didn't we, sir?

Ainsworth: Yes.

[He gives a thumbs up and dies.]

Sergeant: [addressing a soldier who is giving water to a dying man]
We've got to get a search party, leave that alone.

Another cheery cockney: [with an assegai sticking out of his chest]
This is fun, sir, init... all this killing... bloodshed...
bloody good fun sir, init?

Ainsworth: [abstracted] Yes... very good.

[He waves and moves on.]

A severed head: Morning, sir!

Ainsworth: Nasty wound you've got there, Potter.

Severed head: [cheerily] Thank you very much sir!

Ainsworth: Come on private - we're making up a search party.

Another terrible casualty: Better than staying at home, eh sir! At
home if you kill someone they arrest you. Here they give you
a gun, and show you what to do, sir. I mean, I killed fifteen
of those buggers sir! Now at home they'd hang me. *Here* they
give me a fucking medal sir!

[The search party for Perkins's leg is passing through
thick jungle. As they emerge into a clearing they suddenly see
a tiger's head sticking out of some bushes.]

Ainsworth: Look!

[Their eyes follow along the bushes to where the tiger's
tail is sticking out several yards away. For a moment it looks
like a very long tiger.]

My God, it's *huge*!

[The tiger's head rises up out of the thicket with its
paws up. The tiger's rear end backs out of the thicket
further down.]

Rear end: Don't shoot... don't shoot. We're not a tiger. [Takes off
head.] We were just... um...

Ainsworth: Why are you dressed as a tiger?

Rear end: Hmmm... oh... why! Why why... isn't it a lovely day

Ainsworth: Answer the question.

Rear end: Oh we were just er...

Front end: Actually! We're dressed like this because... oh no
that's not it.

Rear end: We did it for a lark. Part of a spree. High spirits you
know. Simple as that.

Front end: Nothing more to it...

[All stare.]

Well *actually*... we're on a mission for British
Intellingence, there's a pro-Tsarist Ashanti Chief...

Rear end: No, no.

Front end: No, no, no.

Rear end: No, no we're doing it for an advertisement...

Front end: Ah that's it, forget about the Russians. We're doing an
advert for Tiger Brand Coffee.

Rear end: 'Tiger Brand Coffee is a real treat
Even tigers prefer a cup of it to real meat'.


Ainsworth: Now look...

Rear end: All right, all right. we are dressed as a tiger because
he had an auntie who did it in 1839 and this is the fiftieth

Front end: No. We're doing it for a bet.

Rear end: God told us to do it.

Front end: To tell the truth, we are completely mad. we are inmates
of a Bengali psychiatric institution and we escaped by making
this skin out of old cereal packets...

Perkins: It doesn't matter.

Ainsworth: What?

Perkins: It doesn't matter why they're dressed as a tiger, have
they got my leg?

Ainsworth: Good thinking. Well have you?

Rear end: Actually!

Ainsworth: Yes.

Rear end: It's because we were thinking of training as taxidermists
and we wanted to get a feel of it from the animal's point of

Ainsworth: Be quiet. Now, look we're just asking you if you have
got this man's leg...

Front end: A wooden leg?

Ainsworth: No, no, a proper leg. Look he was fast asleep and
someone or something came in and removed it.

Front end: Without waking him up?

Ainsworth: Yes.

Front end: I don't believe you.

Rear end: We found the tiger skin in a bicycle shop in Cairo, and
the owner wanted to take it down to Dar Es Salaam.

Ainsworth: Shut up. Now look, have you or have you not got his leg?

Rear end: Yes.

Front end: No. No no no.

Both: No no no no no no. Nope. No.

Ainsworth: Why did you say 'yes'?

Front end: I didn't.

Ainsworth: I'm not talking to you...

Rear end: Er... er...

Ainsworth: Right! Search the thicket.

Front end: Oh come on, I mean do we look like the sort of chaps
who'd creep into a camp at... night, steal into someone's
tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg and
run away with it?

Ainsworth: Search the thicket!

Front end: Oh *leg*! You're looking for a *leg*. Actually I think
there is one in there somewhere. Somebody must have abandoned
it here, knowing you were coming after it, and we stumbled
across it actually and wondered what it was... They'll be
miles away by now and I expect we'll have to take all the

[During the last exchange a native turns and leers at the
camera, while the dialogue continues behind him. Then he
unzips his body to reveal a fully dressed white announcer
in dinner jacket and bow tie underneath.]

Zulu announcer: Hallo, good evening and welcome to the Middle of
the Film.

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