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I was able to see Richard Burton in the stage play, Camelot when it toured in Chicago. I always wondered why he wasn’t cast in the movie version. I read that he was asked, but declined. Then he regretted the decision. I also read different reasons why Julie Andrews wasn’t cast. One reason was that she didn’t want to work with Richard Harris who was very boorish while Filming Hawaii. I also read that Jack Warner said she was too wholesome. Do you think Camelot would have been as successful if cast with the original Broadway cast?

Note 1: Julie Andrews was also passed over for My Fair Lady. Audrey Hepburn was excellent after Professor Higgins transformed her, but was not a convincing Cockney Eliza. 

Note 2: Here is some trivia that I found on IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061439/trivia

Note 3: Two clips of Burton/Andrews singing on the Ed Sullivan show.

What Do the Simple Folk Do? 

Camelot: (No one sings this better than Richard Burton.) https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xqWFbo_ZLUA

and What Do the Simple Folks Do?

 

 

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        I do think it would have been more successful with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews. As someone who grew up listening to the Broadway "soundtrack" album of Burton and Andrews, the singing in the movie version suffers by comparison. I have the same problem with the movie version of "My Fair Lady." When the singing doesn't sound the way you think it should, the viewing experience is compromised.  "Camelot" also needed a disciplined editor to prune it down to a reasonable length! One of the weaknesses of the Road Show presentation was the need to justify the title by lengthening the film. Some very good stories can survive this but most can't. Modern film making can't seem to understand that sometimes (actually, most times) less is more. The road show era was the beginning of the regrettable trend of producing "epic-less" epics that seem to go on endlessly.  Besides, I can't watch Richard Harris without wondering about that damn cake he left out in the rain at "MacArthur Park." This 1968 pop song also seemed to go on forever (over 7 minutes) and did nothing to endear him to me.

 

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I would rather have Julie Andrews than Vanessa Redgrave but having never seen Richard Burton, although my mother had the OBC album, I fell in love with Richard Harris as King Arthur. When Camelot was revived on the stage they brought Burton back but RH stepped in when his health started failing him. I got to see twice in touring shows and loved every minute of it both times.

 

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5 minutes ago, MarkH said:

I agree Richard Harris is great, and I love Vanessa Redgrave too, although it would have been lovely to have Julie Andrews. 

I was never a Vanessa Redgrave fan, and don't get me started on Franco Nero. Although if I'm not mistaken they were having a hot and heavy affair so that probably added an extra layer of believability to their love scenes.

I think David Hemmings was a perfect Mordred, but I was disappointed they cut out Seven Deadly Virtues and Fie on Goodness.

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Redgrave and Nero were together, you’re right. They do kind of smolder on screen. They were together for about two years, then reconnected in 2006, got married, and are still together today!

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I've been thinking lately about how bad the Camelot movie was. Dark, somber, bad singing, unlikable actors, just a terrible, unwatchable flop.

When I was a pre-teen, we had the Camelot Broadway LP and I played it hundreds of times. I remember Camelot as being joyful and imagined the stage musical to be light and lovely. So yesterday, I downloaded the original Broadway recording on iTunes and listened to it for the first time in over 50 years. It was as great as I remember. One number that stands out is Robert Goulet, in his wonderful baritone, singing "C'est Moi". 

"C'est moi! C'est moi! So adm'rably fit!
A French Prometheus unbound.
And here I stand, with valour untold,
Exeption'ly brave, amazingly bold,
To serve at the Table Round!"
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I saw this when it came out, on a big screen, and I remember how disgusting it was to see into Richard Harris's mouth in the ultra-close-ups.  What a draggy movie.  I don't know if that was due to director Joshua Logan, (South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon). 

Or maybe it was partly due to the intermission structure.  As Whipsnade noted, the films lengthened. This seemed especially noticeable in the worst movies, where excess pad and filler stretched to justify a split (aka bathroom break). 

I'd be curious to see those films re-edited so they didn't need an intermission.  Trimming overly long musical numbers and tightening slower paced scenes might improve them.

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I saw Burton twice during the 1980’s tour in San Francisco. Would have loved to see his performance filmed for prosperity. Same with the rest of the cast. Robert Goulet as Lancelot....Roddy McDowell. So much better that what the film turned out to be.

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