Yellowbeard: The Id Has Its Posterchild
Posted by Socrates Crenshaw and Orlando W. Harris on May 14, 2004 - 7:04:00 PM
Frenchmen of the world take notes. Only a gay man could have played a man this hetero. That man could only be the late great, Graham Chapman. As one of the Monty Python troupe, Chapman set the tone for his film acting by playing the protagonist in every Python film. "Yellowbeard" is no exception.
Chapman takes up once again as the perfect evil man with good intentions, playing a pirate named Yellowbeard. He has no reservations about anything, and lives his life as only a buccaneer king could, following in the footsteps of Sir Henry Morgan, Sir Francis Drake and his quasi-namesake, Blackbeard.
We start out as Yellowbeard attacks a Spanish treasure ship manned by Cheech and Chong. He plunders their booty, and does his duty as a pirate. When next we see him, he's in prison, twenty years later, slaving away for the The Woman, Queen Elizabeth.
He's about to receive his pardon when his wife comes to visit, bringing news that he has a twenty year-old son that he's never met.
Yellowbeard can't believe it because, as he so eloquently puts it later, "No woman's ever slept with me and lived." What's more, his son Dan has the only remaining map to Yellowbeard's treasure tattooed on his head. So, Yellowbeard escapes prison to seek out his lost fortune and find Dan, so he can cut off his head and take the map. Avast, Dan convinces him otherwise.
The plot is simple, and at times boring. But the only thing that makes this flick worth watching is Chapman, who plays Yellowbeard with the conviction of an evangelical minister. Obsessed with his treasure and rape, Chapman sets underway, and never takes down a single sail. He pushes on full speed at all times, taking what he wants when he wants, including female victims. When his wife brings up their last cuddle, he replies, "I remember I was raping you, if that's what you mean." Shakespeare never wrote this pretty.
Here's the booty. The actual death count is near impossible to pinpoint, and best left to tales told by the campfire (or midnight watch), but five main characters die. The best death goes to Chapman's writing partner, John Cleese, who plays a blind informant, and is blown up in an outhouse by the late Marty Feldman's character (R.I.P. Eye-gor). A half dozen rapes, all by Yellowbeard, zero breasts, but some filthy talk by Madeline Kahn (R.I.P Madam Von Stupp). The entire movie is summed up by the line, "My God, Son, with your head on my shoulders, I could wreck civilization." We were thinking the same thing.
We rate this monstrosity at four kegs out of five. See it tonight.
Photo Taken By Rachelle Sadler
And as a final note, R.I.P. to Senor Biggi's, King Arthur, and Brian. We miss you Graham.