THE CRIMSON PERMANENT ASSURANCE
Monty Python, Terry Gilliam, UK
1983, 16 min 27 sec
Having originally conceived the story as a six-minute animated sequence in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, intended for placement at the end of Part V, Terry Gilliam convinced the other members of Monty Python to allow him to produce and direct it as a live action piece instead. According to Gilliam, the film’s rhythm, length, and style of cinematography made it a poor fit as a scene in the larger movie, so it was presented as a supplementary short ahead of the film.
It was a common practice in British cinemas to show an unrelated short feature before the main movie, a holdover from the older practice of showing a full-length “B” movie ahead of the main feature. By the mid-1970s the short features were of poorer quality (often Public Information Films), or simply banal travelogues. As a kind of protest, the Pythons had already produced one spoof travelogue narrated by John Cleese, Away from It All, which was shown before Life of Brianin Britain.