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Camelot (1967)


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Richard Harris .... King Arthur

Vanessa Redgrave .... Guenevere

Franco Nero .... Lancelot Du Lac

David Hemmings .... Mordred

Lionel Jeffries .... King Pellinore



This film is often maligned because many do not accept the musical numbers. Especially Richard Harris' singing. I however, really enjoy this film and it grows more on me with each viewing. I remember seeing this film with my entire 6th grade class at the theater in 1967 and it left many impressions on a young boy who was just beginning to come into his own personhood.


Richard Harris does a decent job as King Arthur but many try and compare him to Richard Burton's stage performance and presence and think he fails. Since I never saw Burton perform the role I only have this movie to judge.


Vanessa Redgrave is very beautiful and I think quite sexy in her prime here. The women naturally fall head over heels for Franco Nero as Lancelot.


David Hemmings as Mordred does a decent and convincing job as the sneaking, self-seeking, conniving son of Arthur and Lionel Jeffries as Pillinore offers necessary humor to the movie.


The film is based on T.H. White's book "The Once and Future King" where he recounts the story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Arthur is set to marry Guenevere, who he does not really know and doesn't want to marry her until he actually sees her and he falls madly in love with her. Over time Arthur's preoccupation with rule and justice leaves the queen in compromising positions that eventually leads to an affair with Lancelot.


Visually this film looks wonderful. Richard Kline did a fantastic job with the cinematography.


As many times as I have seen this movie it's concepts of right and wrong i.e "might for right NOT might is right". have spoken deeply into my heart. Arthur's dream of having all kingdoms united is a worthy dream but we see that side of human nature that does wicked and evil things without fully thinking the consequences through. Guenevere and Lancelot both loved Arthur but not enough to control their own base passions.


Arthur's dreams look like they will fall apart but the final scene is touching as Arthur makes friends with a young boy who heard the tales of the Knights of the Round Table and he knights the young lad and commands him to tell everyone what he has heard. We see Arthur yelling after the boy saying "Run boy! Run!"


And the dream will live on as long as their are young people to take up the message.


The many Christian parallels and inferences in the story would take a lot to explain in any detail but perhaps they can be discussed further in this thread.


The music, visuals and timeless story make me come back to this film again and again. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.




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  • 4 months later...

CAMELOT is also one of my favorite musicals...it's light years better than the stage play, which i saw with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews...The play is a mess and the story doesnt work very well....The film filled in holes in the story and also gave us a very lovely Vanessa Redgrave who might not have the voice of Julie Andrews but has an earthiness and believability that poor Julie never managed to capture... Yes this one is a keeper.

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  • 4 months later...

I can't believe you people. How do you like that movie? The show itself is fantastic, but it is for people who can sing and act. The show had two beautiful singers (Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet), who can also act. Richard Burton was a very good King Arthur, acting well and singing fairly well for a usually non-singing actor. But, if you're making a movie of a singing show, FOR PETE'S SAKE, HIRE SINGERS!!! NO ONE IN THAT MOVIE CAN SING. Yes, the movie is visually pretty, but the bad singing, not-that-great acting, and poor adaption ruin it. I don't like it very much and I don't see how you people do.

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  • 5 months later...

The central problem with Camelot is that Richard Harris is quite ineffectual as King Arthur. The role screams for the subtle bravado of Richard Burton. Redgrave is winsome enough but her voice is paper thin compared to Julie Andrews. But even these two glaring oversights in casting might have been corrected if Joshua Logan hadn't directed the entire film with his usual leaden 'flair.'


I've also never been able to accept much of the gaudy Arthurian costumes that don't look quite so regal as they do tacky! The jousting sequence in particular is a sea of flamboyant costumes that remind me more of a pride parade in Frisco or one of those revival tours or roadshow "ye olden days" that come complete with juggler, gimp and festoon.

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  • 1 month later...

It's been ages since I've seen it, actually. I think one of the AMC theaters in Century City had a matinee some weekend and I happened to be there so I of course I was first in line.


I wouldn't say it's the best musical of the 60's, but it does have some nice moments and I really like almost anything that Richard Harris was in :)

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