on July 13, 2000
Yes, 'Camelot' is a flawed movie, but a MAGICAL one, nonetheless. It is too long, and Franco Nero's dubbed singing voice as 'Lancelot' is laughable, and YET! Yet, we have RICHARD HARRIS, so perfect as the failing King Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave, never lovelier than in her role as the torn Guinavere, and David Hemmings, a dastardly 'mod' Mordred reeking havoc on the troubled Kingdom. Franco Nero (dubbing notwithstanding) brings a wonderful comedic touch to Lancelot, and with the sumptious sets and costumes, 'Camelot' really is a BEAUTIFUL film. It has been critisized for having a 'Sixties' feel to it, but the somewhat hippy-ish design just adds to the pleasure; and it REALLY doesn't matter that Richard Harris is wearing WAY to much blue eye-shadow - we're in CAMELOT, for goodness sake! There may very well be a 'legal limit to the snow' there, but when it comes to make-up, no holds are barred! Oh, one can pick a MILLION holes in 'Camelot' - but why bother? It's better just to pour yourself a glass of mead, light some candles, put 'Camelot' in your VCR and let Lerner and Loewes wonderful score sweep you into a magical time which never existed. 'Camelot' is pure escapism, but it's escapism with 'heart', and that heart belongs to Richard Harris. This movie is HIS, and years after first seeing this movie, when I imagine the face of King Arthur, the face that I see is Richard Harris'.
This 45th Anniversary Edition of Camelot arrives at blu ray with AVC MPEG-4 1080p 2.40:1 encode. This transfer is impressive with sometimes great details and depth, showing off all the tiny details in the lavish costumes and sets. Individual links of chainmail armor and intricate textures on Vanessa Redgraves's dresses are all resolved in sharp clarity. However, the first part of the film is relentlessly dark, with images looking quite soft. At around the 30 minute mark, things perk up dramatically, at which point fine detail also increases exponentially. There is also the strange preference for browns and oranges in the colour scheme of the film. Grain is intact, and the image is perfectly filmic. (4/5)
The glories of this soundtrack! Camelot is presented with a lush and lovely lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that springs elegantly to life in the film's many musical sequences. Fidelity is superb. Dialogue is very cleanly and clearly presented, and dynamic range is superb throughout the film. There are many memorable songs, like If Ever I Would Leave You, that will keep you humming for a while. (4/5)
This 45th Anniversary Edition comes in a gorgeous digibook case with many pages of beautiful pictures...very well done indeed. There is also a 4 track soundtrack sampler CD.
This movie won 3 Oscars: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design and most impressive of all, Best Music Score for the great Alfred Newman and Ken Darby.
This 45th Anniversary Edition of Camelot is presented handsomely in a digibook case with many gorgeous memorable pictures, plus great video and audio. The cast is solid with Richard Harris (King Arthur), Vanessa Redgrave (Guenevere) and Franco Nero (Lancelot Du Lac). A very enjoyable film, and this edition is the definitive version. After listening to Richard Harris's singing in the film, I just could not help to play his very popular single "MacArthur Park". This set is highly recommended.
Lastly, I notice that Amazon.ca tends to put reviews of the movie in standard edition, done many years ago, into the high definition column. So, please read the date of review before wasting valuable time reading outdated materials.
I hope the above review is helpful to you.
on December 29, 2003
CAMELOT is a Time Machine taking the willing viewer back to a Once-and-Future of love, goodness, heroism and possibility of Justice. Only the most heartless cynic (overwhelmed by today's PM lust disguised-as-Love; violence disguised-as-valor; and PC treachery disguised-as-tolerance over Truth) can fail to be beguiled by this wondrous fairy-tale. Richard Harris is perfect as be-more-than-YOU-can-be,KING ARTHUR. Vanessa Redgrave is enchanting as Never Never Land-Eden's Eve,Guenevere. Franco Nero is superlative as Round Table SUPERMAN,Sir Lancelot. Recently deceased David Hemmings(once bad boy,super-hippy of Michaelangelo Antonioni's BLOW-UP)is ingratiatingly obnoxious as Arthur's ill-conceived Mephistopheles,MORDRED. Joshua Logan's screen adaptaion of Lerner & Loewes' stage musical triumph, deliberately and beautifully affects artificial glamour. It evokes child-like memories of The Impossible First Love and invincible GOOD GUYS unfailingly defeating the BAD. CAMELOT is Wonderland story about "happily-ever-aftering". Winnie-the-Pooh and his Hundred Acre Wood buddies no doubt live there, and helped Merlin train Wart to become wielder of EXCALIBUR.
John Boorman produced the definitve adventure of King Arthur and The Knights of the Round Table. His EXCALIBUR is mythical, mystical saga of heroes in unending battle of Good against Evil. Its themes are courage, forgiveness and hope. CAMELOT is pure/impure love story. Herein--as Boorman--a lesson on consequences of SIN reveals."Inappropriate behaviour"is not what brings down CAMELOT. Complex human frailty does: humanity denying limits.Despite laughter,and pre-Post Modern,untainted "gaity",the MORDRED within has to be confronted if "Magic" is to survive and the Good prevail. EXCALIBUR presented Tragic dimensions of The QUEST.CAMELOT is reminder of the golden Eden to be sought and preserved in history; Myth;and the Pure of heart...
on October 19, 2002
The Lerner and Lowe musical seems to be a variation from the T.H. Lawrence novel, "The Once and Future King," from which the animated Dysney film was taken. Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero effectively carry out the movie, their voices superb in every song and their dramatic performances making an excellent and enjoyable film. The story is the age-old Arthur myth. King Arthur, the idealist, tutored by his all-knowing wizard Merlin, creates Camelot, a peaceful realm supported by the mighty Round Table, whose aim is "Might for Right". But things begin to fall apart for Arthur and his dream. Guenevere, whose marriage to Arthur had all been arranged, falls for the dashing French-born champion Knight, Lancelot. Their affair sparks the suspicion of Mordred who reveals it to the public, just when it was ending (the parting scene between Guenevere and Lancelot.."And I shall never come to you again" and their duet is very emotional and heartrendering). As we know, Mordred and Arthur battle, the Round Table is dissolved and Camelot becomes a dream remembered. This musical was appropriate to its milieu. It was the 60's when this film was made, and peace rallies were manifested over America. The idealism of peace and brotherly harmony (as in the Round Table) is effectively similar to the idealism of American government. The allegory of the musical is quite transparent. I hope you give this musical a chance, and it has a special place in my heart. Along with The Sound of Music and The King and I, this musical stands out in the great tradition. Five stars well deserved. Songs that stand out in this musical are "I wonder what the King is doing tonight" "Where are the Sweet Joys of Maidenhood ?", "Camelot" "How to handle a woman" and "If I ever Would Leave You."
With its lavish sets, beautiful music, and undeniable star quality, Camelot is a wonderful motion picture built upon the successful Lerner-Loewe Broadway musical, which in turn was based on T.H. White's The Once and Future King. It is in no way a definitive account of King Arthur's story, as it concentrates on the fateful lovers' triangle of Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot. I probably have a different take on the legendary romance of Arthur's two closest companions than most, for I look upon this story not as a love story at all, but as a true tragedy. Franco Nero is wonderful as Lancelot (despite the fact that Nero is Italian, not French), and Vanessa Redgrave makes for a most enchanting Queen Guinevere, but my opinion of these illicit lovers is set in stone and could hardly be pulled out even by the likes of Arthur. To me, Lancelot is one of the biggest cads in literature. Granted, he had no intention of falling in love with Guinevere, but his actions made a mockery of all his numerous, rather obnoxious claims to purity, nobility, and chivalry. Chivalry does not start by betraying your king and closest friend to engage in an adulterous affair that could not but lead to disastrous consequences on an epic scale. This just goes to show how one lone Frenchman can bring about the ruin of the noblest of kingdoms.
I initially had a little trouble with Richard Harris as King Arthur, as he certainly doesn't conform to my image of the legendary hero (my King Arthur, for example, doesn't wear copious amounts of eye shadow), but his nobility and sense of purpose soon won me over. Still, I'm not overly fond of the film's characterization of the man, for it creates for us the image of a weak, ineffective ruler who shames himself over his unfaithful wife and basically allows his kingdom to fall into ruin all around him. I don't see many glimpses of "the future king" in this movie. It would not be right for me to describe this as a fault with the film, however; it's just part of the filmmakers' designs, as their intention was to show us Arthur the man rather than the mythic Arthur of legend. This version of King Arthur is exceedingly human, and that makes for some powerful scenes, particularly his passionate soliloquies as he ponders the loss of everything he cares about. One cannot help but despair alongside Arthur as Camelot begins to crumble, particularly since, in this version of the tale, Merlin never warned against marrying Guinevere. The one weak character in the film is Mordred (David Hemmings), who - despite his late-arrived scheming - seems almost tangential to the tragedy that unfolds.
While the film runs almost a full three hours, it never really succeeds in revealing the true magic of Camelot. The hopes and dreams of Arthur for his Round Table of noble knights dedicated to pursuing justice and right doesn't get enough emphasis, and his attempt to create a criminal justice system feels like little more than a plot device for Mordred to orchestrate his downfall. The loss of the Arthurian ideal is the true tragedy of this story, but too much of the film's emotion is dedicated to the illicit lovers, ignoring the fact that their sins would have basically pushed England into the Dark Ages.
It's a real shame that the musical has all but disappeared as a cinematic art form these days, as Camelot shows just how much depth and meaning an impassioned score and exquisite songs can add to a story. When you think of Camelot, you think of the characters and the story only after your mind replays such songs as the title theme and the award-winning love song If Ever I Would Leave You.
The DVD's special features are good but not great. Alongside comparably short descriptions of important Arthurian topics, short bios and filmographies of prominent players in the drama, and five different movie trailers, you get a 10-minute contemporary documentary about the filming of Camelot and a thirty-minute look at the movie's opening (with Vanessa Redgrave rather conspicuous in her absence).
on July 16, 2003
Reviewers pick on the film's weaknesses, but overall, I think it is winning. Here are my top disagreements with fellow viewers:
1) Blue eyeshadow. This adds to the exoticism of the medieval setting, in which courtiers were often dandy types, and strange fashions came and went.
2) Stage cast vs. film cast. Overall, I'd say the film audience got the best of it. Most of all, Richard Harris, who campaigned for the part, plays Arthur with such puckish enthusiasm, dramatizing the conflict between the human boy/man and the beloved king. Famous and drunk, Richard Burton would never have brought so much charm to the role. (Later Harris became famous and drunk.) Vanessa Redgrave's ethereal yet sensual charmisma convinces us that she is the fickle queen who dismantled Camelot; Julie Andrews' girl next door quality would never have had the same magic.
3) Franco Nero was no Olivier, but his handsome doll-like appearance and stiffness actually drive the humor home in the hilarious "C'est Moi." He comes across as a slick and shallow narcissist, making us feel worse for the all-too-human Arthur.
4) Singing voices. In most musicals the singing voices are dubbed. Here they sang as they acted, giving the songs a rough but natural quality. Harris is a good singer. Redgrave's voice is delicate but this emphasizes her charm. Nero? Oh well.
5) The film could have benefited from some editing. It does get a little pompous. The score relies too heavily on the songs, sometimes forecasting them before they have actually been performed, which bugs me.
6) The highly detailed set is wonderful and has aged well.
Humor and sweet, manipulative emotion win the day. You have to be willing to go along with this film, as its original audience was.
on October 24, 2013
I bought this from a firm called **^^*-CA. To me, that suggested the firm was located in Canada and that the DVD would work in my machine. As it turns out, however, the firm is actually *****-UK and the DVD will not work on a North American machine. To be fair, it does say Region 2 in the detailed listing but I confess that when I saw 'CA' as the firm's name, I did not read the detailed listing. Lesson learned and money wasted. Sigh.
on January 7, 2003
I am an advocate of all the arts and Broadway musicals have descended from the noble art of opera. The musical era of the early twentieth century did not die in the face of the Cuba/Missile conflict, nor in the war years of Vietnam. The brilliant musical masters, Rogers and Hammerstein and Lerner and Lowe were incredibly gifted, providing audiences with catchy melodies, romance and powerful dramatic emotions. In Lerner and Lowe's Camelot, we are immersed by the love triange between Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot, which seems small next to the bigger picture- the stability of Camelot. Camelot is the ideal world, the perfect society, Utopia, Paradise. With the aid of the good wizard sage Merlin, Arthur assumed heavy responsibility as king and head of the Round Table, a fellowship of knights on the quest for the Holy Grail and sworn to uphold justice and balance in the world. This peace was upset by war and by the problematic situation that arose when Guenevere fell in love with Arthur's best friend and champion knight, Lancelot.
In this excellent DVD, the 60's film is back with full glory. We realize why this musical appealed to a generation that was insistent on peace. Richard Harris is the perfect Arthur, idealistic, romantic, wise, mature, and in his scenes with Merlin we do see the pararellism with the writings of T.H. Lawrence's "Once And Future King" and the magic (Arthur becomes a goldfish, communes with nature, etc, is similar to the Disney interpretion, "The Sword In The Stone". Richard Harris sings superbly in his solos, "Camelot," and "How To Handle A Woman". Vanessa Redgrave was not the original stage interpreter of Guenevere. The credit belongs to Julie Andrews, whose light voice, cheerful, innocent and sweet temperament is directly polar opposite to Guenevere's lusty, earthy, darker-voiced portrayal. But in my personal opinion, Vanessa Redgrave captures the true Guenevere. This is evident in her song "Where are the Joys of Maidenhood ?" "Take me to the Fair", "The Lusty Month of May" and her melancholy duet with Lancelot "I loved You Once In Silence". Franco Nero as Lancelot is charming, comedic, witty, a direct opposite to the upright Arthur, but we are sympathetic with his situation when his humanity comes through. He decides to break up with Guenevere out of his own love and respect for Arthur. Unfortunately, that is the moment when their affair is discovered, and the rest is history. Arthur battles Mordred, both of them lose and die, and Camelot disappears into the pages of myth. The rousing choruses are striking, especially in the wedding of Guenevere and Arthur and when Guenevere is sentenced to be burned at the stake. The finale is unsurpassed, as Arthur says: "Ask anyone if they've ever heard the story, and if they have not, say it loud and clear; that once there was a fleeting wisp of glory..called Camelot".
on November 6, 2001
A musical. But this is NOT a chick flick. This is an era of Hollywood stage-to-screen musicals at it's best. You all know the myth of Arthur, Guinever, and Lancelot in so many permeated forms. This is the one that started it all, and if I must say (oh, I must, I must), it is one of the best (maybe Excalibur). I read Maltin's review, and I gotta tell ya, Maltin needs to crack open a few cold ones and get off the high horse. Yes, Camelot can be a rather stiff translation from stage to screen at times, but take the whole bag or don't take it at all. Richard Harris made his mark with this movie. He is THE King Arthur which all subsequent Arthurs are guaged by. Venessa Redgrave never looked or acted better (I mean that), and the scene where Lancelot (Franco Nero) believed he had killed his friend in a joust, damn near made me cry. It was exceptional, considering this movie was done during the men-don't-cry era. David Hemmings is the perfect bastard as Mordred, Arthur's son by his sister. I don't know why Arthur insisted on calling Guinevere `Jenny', nor Lancelot `Lance'. I presume it was to `update' the film. But it doesn't matter. Every phrase is perfect in it's place. Arthur's solitary prose upon discovering Lancelot's love for Guinvere is a masterpiece in reflection, and it's style is still copied to this day. Something that makes you realize there was such great screenwriting in the 60's. There is a certain sadness in the movies' realization of a time and world lost, yet the songs, `What Do The Simple Folk Do', `Camelot', and `If I Ever Would Leave You' have created an eternal survival for this film. The costuming was typical `clean' serf suits, but the scenery looked as real as could be. And the soundtrack? absolutely magnificant. I am not a big fan of musicals. I am not a fan of overacting. But the background music to this film is as stirring as Armeggeddon, and the cinematography is excellent. There are no flaws in the film-to-dvd translation. If you own Lawrence of Arabia, you will own this. There is a line in this movie, "you will learn that the world wags, and what wags it". There is magic in this film. It embraces that kind of enchantment. Trust me. I am never wrong.
on December 9, 2003
In this lavish adaptation of the Broadway musical based on T.H. White's modern classic "The Once and Future King," the music of Frederick Loewe and Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner weave this story into an intricate tapestry of unforgettable heart-stirring emotions. The emotions are quite overpowering and you almost have to watch this movie three times to fully appreciate the texture and detail of the 45 sets and 3,500 costumes.
Camelot is a timeless romantic drama that takes us to a medieval world that could only be imagined in your most romantic fantasy. The humor is witty, the music is unforgettable and the world of Camelot has castle scenes that are beyond compare. In fact, if you love castles, you will see scenes from dreamy castles in Spain. The Castle of Camelot is modeled after the Castle of Coca. The architectural details in the design are partly Romanesque, Norman, Viking and Gothic. The decorations have a "fantasy" medieval flavor.
The movie is at first shrouded in mystery as Arthur sits in a dark misty forest. Arthur is about to go into battle and doesn't want to die in a state of confusion. Merlin advises Arthur to think back to the time when he met Guenevere.
We are transported into King Arthur's memory, where the entire story takes place in vivid detail. King Arthur sings about his fears of the wedding night and it is all rather cute and humorous. We instantly see King Arthur as an eternal boy and later find out how he became king quite by accident when he draws the sword, Excalibur, out of a stone.
Guenevere arrives all wrapped in fur as she travels through the "most ferocious, savage, terrifying forest" she has ever seen. The branches are laden with snow and icicles. She simply adores the danger and beauty. When she hears the forest is quite dangerous, she wishes to be stolen away. Her heart is quite hungry for adventure and romance as a damsel in distress and all she has to look forward to is an arranged marriage.
When she meets "Wart" she has no idea he is King Arthur and asks him to run away with her. Vanessa Redgrave and Richard Harris are like two happy children living in a magical dream. King Arthur has a boyish charm, plenty of witty lines and the almost periwinkle eye shadow quite matches his turtleneck sweater and promotes a whimsical mood.
The royal marriage is magnificent and the wedding gown flows between two seas of candles. For a time, we truly believe this arranged marriage will succeed. Arthur shares his dreams of uniting the feudal city-states and Guenevere seems intrigued with her husband's leadership qualities. She too seems to be dreaming of a new world filled with chivalrous knights who fight for right.
When French knight Sir Lancelot arrives, he destroys the intimacy between Guenevere and King Arthur, although he promises to be the king's defender in this newly civilized world. Guenevere becomes a woman who must make impossible decisions. Lancelot dreams of all the good he can do, all the wrongs he can right and in fact, his desires lead him to a place where a fragile utopia is destroyed.
"Camelot" then becomes a serious study in how three people are almost forced to make irreversible decisions. King Arthur (Richard Harris) seems to quickly go into an extended period of denial and since he deeply loves Guenevere, he forgives her for being human. Lancelot (Franco Nero) lives life intensely and feels deeply about King Arthur's mission. He is filled with a passion for life and makes promises he can hardly keep once he enters Guenevere's world.
Guenevere (Vanessa Redgrave) is so innocent in her love of both King Arthur and Lancelot. She falls madly in love with Lancelot because he embodies all that she has always dreamed of, despite the fact that their love now destroys Lancelot's chivalrous ideals. He fights for her and his impressive battle skills and depth of emotion after he fights in the joust draws her into his world. Each time they look at one another, the world stands still and in awe of this love they feel for one another. If only she had met Lancelot before she had been promised to King Arthur.
I doubt there is a more powerfully erotic and yet angelic scene than the one where Guenevere stands in the doorway with her golden hair flowing behind her in the drafty castle. This scene portrays her in an almost angelic way as "If Ever I Would Leave You" plays on, drawing us into an intimate circle created by three hearts who are forever woven into this immortal tale. How can your heart not melt when Lancelot declares his undying affection by saying: "I, I love you. God forgive me, but I do."
There are a lot of extras:
1. Jump to a Scene
2. Explore Camelot
-Cast & Crew
-The History of the Legend - Information on King Arthur (Interesting ideas, like that King Arthur was really a Celtic chieftain in the 5th century who became a king in the legends after his death. He was believed to have been killed at a battle at Camlan in 537 AD.), Excalibur, The Holy Grail (Why King Arthur was seeking this magical object) and The Knights of the Round Table
-King Arthur Comes to Hollywood
-Featurette: The Story of Camelot
-Featurette: Special Premiere Footage
-5 Theatrical Trailers
3. Languages - You have to choose "English" or you will only hear the Musical Score.
I really can't think of a more perfect movie. Sadly at the end of the movie, the story is not quite what we expect. Yet, I don't think we would want this movie to end in any other way. The sheer tragedy is terribly romantic.
To romance, men who never leave, undying devotion and eternal love. I adore this movie! 100 stars.