Newest Review: ... intimacy during which they discuss the kingdom and come up with the new order of chivalry which would be known as the 'Knights of the Roun... more
A musical Camelot
Member Name: arnoldhenryrufus
Advantages: A musical if you like them
Disadvantages: A musical if you don't like them
I own an extensive collection of musicals, well all kinds of movies really, but I tend to review my musicals more than anything else. Camelot is not I feel an outstanding musical, I should imagine a lot of people have not heard of it, I think before seeing it again over the last week I had only watched it once before when I was a child.
I put the disc into my DVD player and it slips straight into the Overture and the start of the movie, which is quite disconcerting as usually you go through the options on the menu first.
Anyway, the film starts with King Arthur played by Richard Harris sitting in the woods just outside Camelot, talking to Merlin (in his minds eye) and just before he goes into battle, he reflects on his life and the camera takes us back to a snow covered wood and a much younger King Arthur as he awaits the arrival of his new bride.
Arthur comfortably slips into song with I wonder what the king is doing tonight. He sings in a similar style to Rex Harrison of My Fair Lady and Dr Doolittle, also like Harrison he sang live recordings rather than opting for the voice over. This is a musical where the songs continue the dialogue of the story. We slip from Arthur now to a carriage being pulled through a snow covered forest, with Guenevere lying under fur throws; gosh it does love extremely romantic.
Back to the movie, something causes the carriage to stop and Guenevere who is dreading the forthcoming meeting with King Arthur starts telling us, well singing about the simple joys of maidenhood. She starts wondering through the woods alone when she bumps into the king, who playfully introduces himself by his childhood nickname of Wart and falls deeply in love at first sight.
We move onto their lavish wedding and their early intimacy during which they discuss the kingdom and come up with the new order of chivalry which would be known as the 'Knights of the Round Table'. Flyers are sent far and wide, looking for prospective knights to join King Arthur and his round table, one of these is Lancelot du Lac of France, and we meet him as he falls into song with his deep baritone voice singing C'est Moi all about why he should become a knight of the round table. We have now met our three main central characters that become involved in the most famous love triangle in history; this is their tragic love story.
The film is split into two parts, the first part introducing the characters and the wonderment of the love story between the three, the second half covers the unrest and the collapse of Arthurs' round table.
I have already mentioned the first three songs of the movie in the description of the film. As stated each song continues the dialogue and the storyline.
The Lusty Month of May - it is May Day and Guenevere and her ensemble are enjoying the wonderful spring day as Lancelot rides into Camelot.
Then you may take me to the fair - at first Jenny (affectionate name for Guenevere) is not taken by Lancelot and she flirts with all the knights to get them to challenge him and gain the prize of taking her to the fair.
How to handle a woman - poor Arthur is seeking advice and questioning how as a ruler he can control his queen, a very nice ballad.
If ever I would leave you - a lovely melody that captures the essence of their love (I can't help it, but the comedy version keeps coming to mind 'If ever you should leave me, I would throw a party' 
What do the simple folk do? - A fun and laughter song with a tinge of sadness as Arthur and Jennie try to get back what they have lost,
Follow me - Arthur back in the forest reflecting.
I loved you once in Silence - a deep and emotional scene and tragic love song.
Guenenvere - reflections of Jenny.
I know a lot of people with know the outcome of this as movie as it follows aspects of a story told throughout time, but I don't want to give it all away which is why I did not put too much info into the last few songs, I don't want to spoil your viewing.
King Arthur - as I have already stated he was portrayed by Richard Harris, they originally wanted Richard Burton for the part but he was asking for too much money. When you see him in this part he has a childlike, innocent quality about him which makes you want to take him under your wing.
Guenevere (Jenny) - played by Vanessa Redgrave, the eldest daughter to actors Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, she like Richard Harris decided singing live on the set rather than do a voice over later; she had quite a nice voice. The electricity between Italian actor Franco Nero who played Lancelot du Lac, built up throughout the movie as they became lovers on and off the screen. When director Joshua Logan first met Franco all was nearly lost because he could not speak English, but then he recited a romantic scene from Romeo and Juliet resulting in him getting the part.
David Hemmings played the part of Mordred, Arthurs' illigitmate son. Not the most pleasant of sons to have as he tried to make sure his father would loose his crown, so that he could take it for himself. Although the actor has a face that sticks in my mind and is instantly recognizable when I searched on the internet to see what he had done, nothing shot out to me as to why I remember him, I think it's his eyes.
Lionel Jeffries - plays the doddery forgetful King Pellinore who becomes a good friend to King Arthur. The adorable Lionel has been mentioned before in my reviews, he played the grandfather in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and more recently he appeared in one of my favourtie soaps Holby City.
I have covered the main characters and of course there were more of them including Lawrence Naismith who played the long time friend and mentor Merlin. The movie was produced by Jack Warner and the screenplay and lyrics were by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe.
I have given my opinion throughout the review in little pieces, but I do find it a good film; do I recommend you sit through nearly three hours, well that I cannot honestly say, go out and grab the nearest copy. I did not love this movie, but in a way it grew on me and it was fairly pleasant, but I could quite easily wait another 20 yrs before I watch it again. So it did not hit me.
There are parts of it that I liked and other parts that I thought were really, truly over the top. Rex Harrison I thought was brilliant, but Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero occasionally got on my nerves.
I can't really explain why, not sure whether or not it was the actors or characters they played, but something just did not sit right with me. The Mordred character made me mad as I simply hate back stabbers, so the film did well to get its audience to love and hate the right characters.
If you like a musical drama and you have a few hours to kill on a rainy afternoon; then you may want wish to sit down and watch this; but if you don't then give it a miss.
I was disappointed that there were no extras at all, not even a picture gallery. There was also only and English soundtrack and two choices of subtitles.
Thank you for reading
Summary: A musical