Manny's Reviews > The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: The Illustrated Novel

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen by Terry Gilliam
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Jun 19, 15

did not like it
bookshelves: older-women-younger-men
Read in November, 2009

Don't read this book. Do see the marvellous film, which I have watched so many times that I virtually know it by heart. Here are some of my favourite bits of dialogue:

(Baron Munchausen meets the Right Ordinary Horatio Jackson, leader of the beseiged city)

JACKSON: You appear to have a rather weak grasp of reality.

MUNCHAUSEN: Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash, and I am pleased to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever!

(The Baron has persuaded the theatre company to build him a hot air ballon entirely constructed from women's underwear)

FIRST ACTOR: It's like the dawning of a new age! Of beautiful, intimate fings!

SECOND ACTOR: He's going to kill himself you know.

THIRD ACTOR: Yes, but what a way to go!

(The Baron and his followers have tied a rope around one end of the moon, and are trying to lower themselves back down to Earth)

MUNCHAUSEN: This is just the kind of thing that no one ever believes!

(The Baron has been introduced to the Goddess Venus, played by a radiant young Uma Thurman)

MUNCHAUSEN: Madame, I am overwhelmed! Your beauty surpasses even that of the late Catherine the Great of Russia, whose hand in marriage I once had the honour to decline.

VENUS: Baron, you flatter me!

MUNCHAUSEN: (Gazing at her décolletage) Not one jot, Madame! Not one tittle!

(The Sultan is about to cut off the Baron's head)

SULTAN: Any famous last words?

MUNCHAUSEN: Not yet.

SULTAN: (puzzled) "Not yet"? Is that famous?

(After an exceptionally confusing reversal of fantasy and reality)

MUNCHAUSEN: And that is merely one of the many times I have died! An experience I do not hesitate most heartily to recommend.
_______________________________

I was interested to discover this morning that the Baron's Incomparable Servants are in fact taken from the Brothers Grimm's Sechse kommen durch die ganze Welt . There can be no reasonable doubt about it: in particular, Berthold's race to Vienna and back, which ends up getting the Baron a free haircut, is directly adapted from the story.
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Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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message 1: by Pavel (new)

Pavel If you mean Terry Gilliam's Munchausen, the movie is marvellous indeed!


message 2: by Manny (last edited Aug 27, 2010 12:46AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Pavel wrote: "If you mean Terry Gilliam's Munchausen, the movie is marvellous indeed!"

That is exactly the one I mean. I have never understood why it isn't generally acclaimed as a masterpiece! Nice to see that you're also a fan :)


message 3: by Ronyell (new)

Ronyell I loved Terry Gilliam's version of Baron Munchausen also! The story strongly reminded me of The Fool and the Flying Ship (which was a story I love!) and the characters in Munchausen were just so memorable. I just don't understand why it wasn't one of the most popular movies ever. I'm glad that you loved the movie too Pavel and Manny!


message 4: by Tom (new)

Tom To die in my prime, on the cusp between Romeo and King Lear! My public will kill me for dying!


message 5: by Tom (new)

Tom If you want to see Baron Muchausen again, you'd better do something about it!


Manny I see you're another fan :)


notgettingenough Now I know two people who think this is about the best movie ever made. On my list.


message 8: by Angela (new)

Angela on my list.


Manny Beautiful ladies! Beautiful ladies! You won't regret watching this excellent film.


message 10: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Pavel wrote: "If you mean Terry Gilliam's Munchausen, the movie is marvellous indeed!"

Has he done anything that is less than marvelous (except perhaps the animations in Python that brought him to notice)?


message 11: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope I have never heard of the book nor of the film...

Manny may now unfriend me.


message 12: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Kalliope, you MUST see this wonderfully visual and inventive movie! It is a masterpiece!


message 13: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Cecily wrote: "Pavel wrote: "If you mean Terry Gilliam's Munchausen, the movie is marvellous indeed!"

Has he done anything that is less than marvelous (except perhaps the animations in Python that brought him to..."


Even by Gilliam standards, this movie is very fine.


message 14: by Matt (new)

Matt I'm confused! I always thought Gottfried August Bürger wrote Münchhausen? There's also a film based on Bürger's book (from 1943, Erich Kästner wrote the script). I haven't seen it, but since it was a German film from the Nazi time it's probably not good (since it passed the censors).


message 15: by Manny (last edited Jun 19, 2015 01:51PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Ah, Münchausen has been filmed more than once. The Gilliam version is here.

For further details, people may wish to consult my review of The Invention of Hugo Cabret...


message 16: by Matt (new)

Matt Here's the one I meant. Both films have the same avg rating (7.2) on IMDB.
And here's the full version on Youtube (German with English subtitles)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ximQy...


message 17: by Matt (new)

Matt OK. I think I figured it out what led to my confusion:
The real person Hieronymus Karl Friedrich, Freiherr von Münchhausen (1720-1797) apparently told his tales, writer Rudolf Erich Raspe adopted these and called his book "Baron Munchausen" (u instead if ü), published in English. Gottfried August Bürger then took Raspe's book, translated and embellished it, and published (in German) under the rather long title "Wunderbare Reisen zu Wasser und zu Lande; Feldzüge und lustige Abenteuer des Freiherrn von Münchhausen, wie er dieselben bei der Flasche im Zirkel seiner Freunde selbst zu erzählen pflegt."


message 18: by Bugenhagen (new)

Bugenhagen Very underrated film


message 19: by Forrest (new)

Forrest One of my favorite movies. Gilliam is a mad genius.

So was the book really that bad? Was it the execution or the medium itself?


message 20: by Manny (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny Definitely a mad genius!

So was the book really that bad? Was it the execution or the medium itself?

Well... if I hadn't seen the movie, maybe I would have liked the book. But it's just unnecessary. It adds nothing to the movie and it's not even a proper script. It reads like it was put together in three afternoons. I honestly don't know what they were thinking!


message 21: by Forrest (new)

Forrest Manny wrote: "Definitely a mad genius!

So was the book really that bad? Was it the execution or the medium itself?

Well... if I hadn't seen the movie, maybe I would have liked the book. But it's just unnecessa..."


It's a bummer to see failed artistic potential. I think of what someone could do with that material, and the sky's the limit . . . Actually, no it's not!


message 22: by Manny (last edited Jun 20, 2015 07:07AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Manny I don't think Gilliam is a writer, his talents lie in other directions.

It is odd how underrated the movie is. Nearly everyone I know who's seen it thinks it's amazing, but it's pretty obscure even 25 years after it first came out.


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