The legend of King Arthur has enchanted generation after generation. His pure, perfect kingdom was shattered because of the tragic passion between Queen Guenevere and the Round Table's bravest knight Lancelot. Alan Jay Le... more »rner and Frederick Loewe shaped that saga into the 1960 musical Camelot. Seven years later, the stage hit became a triple Academy Award winner with glowing performances by Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero and a glistening score. This remastered edition delivers a revitalized picture and remixed Dolby Digital sound. Experience anew the melodic romance of that "one brief shining moment" known as Camelot.« less
"In the annals of musical theater, there are more than a few great scores. Among them is Lerner and Loewe's "Camelot" which has more than its share of great songs that shine away from the musical play.
In 1964, Jack Warner produced "My Fair Lady" at Warner Brothers. It was an excellent film, if a bit too cautious. The play was a phenomenon and Jack didn't want anyone mucking about with it. Going to see it was almost as exciting as going to church, even though the film itself was entertaining and beautiful to look at.
Four years later, Warner attempted to do the same thing with "Camelot." In many ways, he failed, but in a couple of others, he outshone "My Fair Lady" and many other fine movie musicals. First, but not foremost, he enlisted the talents of John Truscott to design the film. No medieval tale has ever benefitted from so fine a vision. His sets and costumes are among the finest -- yet most realistic -- ever created. Second, and this is the best part (for me) -- he acquired the services of the finest composer/conductor Hollywood has ever produced. Alfred Newman had already won 8 Academy Awards prior to scoring "Camelot." Newman was one of a handful of composers who invented film scoring in the 1930s and 1940s. As head of the Fox music department from 1940-1959, Newman had the best orchestrators, best musicians and best composers working for him at Fox than could be found anywhere else.
For "Camelot," Newman had a free hand, along with his associate Ken Darby who had worked with Newman for nearly 20 years, collaborating on such film musicals as "Carousel," "The King and I" and "South Pacific."
The reason I'm making such a fuss over this -- in addition to the fact that "Camelot" earned Newman his 9th Oscar -- is that "Camelot" rates as one of the best scored musicals in film history and on this DVD, you can hear the entire musical score, free of dialogue and solo vocals, in 5.1CH stereo!
What separates "Camelot" from "My Fair Lady" is that in the latter, Warner would not let conductor Andre Previn alter the basic orchestrations of the play. Previn had some leeway, and it really shows in the score when he cuts loose. By and large, though, this did not include songs....just musical underscore/transitions. Newman, on the other hand, virtually co-composed the entire score. Using the thematic material, he wrote a dynamic, Erich-Wolfgang-Korngoldian ("Robin Hood," "The Sea Hawk," etc.) underscore that rouses you, thrills you and makes you feel great even if the film drama itself can't quite live up to it.
Watching a film for this isolated score feature alone is something only die-hard music lovers could tolerate, but it's there and can be enjoyed by anyone. Think of it as a full-orchestra karaoke feature and you can sing your favortie songs backed by one of the finest Hollywood orchestras ever assembled!
I've always been partial to "Camelot" for the score, the sets and the luminous presence of Vanessa Redgrave.
In truth, however, "Camelot" never looked as good in its first-run roadshow performances as it does on this DVD. This movie shimmers and sparkles and glows. It looks absolutely NEW. The sound does show its age in spots.
If only Arthur didn't run around all the time calling Guinevere and Lancelot "Ginny" and "Lance." (Lance. Ginny. Ginny. Lance.). That almost ruins the film for me -- that and Arthur's eccentric blue eye shadow. And if only Hollywood had not entrusted another great musical into the musically uninspired hands of Joshua Logan (one of Broadway's greatest directors but whose heavy hand all but ruined the film versions of "South Pacific", "Camelot" and "Paint Your Wagon.")
It's a whale of a movie. And the score is one of the finest ever committed to film."
If Ever I Would Leave You
Rebecca Johnson | Washington State | 12/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 -Building Camelot -Costumes -Awards -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 Rebecca Review"
"Mark me well - I will tell you, sir!"
Amanda HALE | 07/14/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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'."
Rebecca Johnson | 04/18/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Camelot made an impression on me over 30 years ago, and today, watching the remastered video, all the songs and lines come easily to me, yet I probably only saw it twice. Most reviews treat this film version unkindly, but I quite prefer Richard Harris as Arthur. In my mind, it's the greatest thing Harris has ever done, and his almost impish Arthur is appropriate for a boy-turned-king. He's neither too regal nor too arrogant, like some who have performed the role. He inhabits Arthur. I'd not have chosen Redgrave but she turns out to be luminous: by turns innocent, lusty, loving, and decent. Marni Nixon's dubbed singing works through her. Franco Nero's Lancelot is a sculpted icon of steel-eyed beautiful purity. Nero may not the greatest actor in the world, but he is endearing as Lancelot, and his physical loveliness in muscle, jaw, cheekbone and eye is probably unmatched for this role. The costumes are brilliant and gorgeous enhancements. (although a bit more real fur could have been used, back in the 60s!) The fact is, the score could not be more magnificent; the "natural" style singing is charming. Rather than focusing on "great" voices, we instead hear the intended core of each scene through "real" characters expressing themselves. These actors portray their roles gamely and truthfully as three people in love with each other. The entire production is a lush, bittersweet escape that infuses me with the sheer emotion and passion of ideals imagined and dashed. Love both lavished and betrayed is a sweet torment that this film tenderly displays to this viewer. I think it's highly underrated."
Glowing Movie Version Of The Immortal Broadway Production
Simon Davis | 08/16/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The 1967 film version of "Camelot", always seems to ignite feverish debate among movie fans over its merits both in production and performances. The viewpoints tend to range from "the worst musical sung by non singers in movie history", to "a totally beautiful film production that captures the spirit of the famous Broadway musical to perfection". Having been fascinated by the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table since I was a young boy I tend to view this film very affectionately while not for a moment failing to see its shortcomings. Criticism is always heavily directed at the two main leads Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave and their "talk singing", of the show's memorable score, however viewers must realise that the original Arthur on Broadway was Richard Burton who like Rex Harrison cornered the market in talk singing in a very successful way. Certainly many of the cast have a very 1960's appearance however it has to be remembered that this is an adaption of a Broadway musical with a medieval setting, it is not trying to be a careful document of life in the middle ages. On a high note the film boasts amazingly lavish sets and a musical score courtesy of lyricist Alan Jay Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe that is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard in a movie musical, it being highly romantic and sensual in feel which suits perfectly the great talents of both Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave ideally cast in the leads.
Based on H.T. White's "The Once And Future King", Warner Bros. Screen version of "Camelot", tells the ultimately tragic romantic love triangle involving King Arthur, his lovely wife Guenevere, and the dashing French Knight Lancelot. Arthur has a dream of world peace where all the collective rulers will come together around a special round table. However what he doesn't realize is that one of the strongest believers of this principle, the French knight Lancelot Du Lac who travels to Camelot to put his services at Arthur's disposal unexpectedly becomes involved in a passionate affair with Guenevere. The Queen of course also loves her husband but is drawn to the passionate Frenchman which threatens to destroy the whole kingdom. The arrival of troublemaker relative Mordred also spells trouble as he conspires to destroy Arthur's whole belief in the principle of a early united nations. When Lancelot and Guenevere are trapped in a passionate embrace the Queen is condemmed to death by being burnt at the stake however at the moment of her execution Lancelot rescues her and Arthur must go into battle to save his kingdom and the principles he has fought so long for. On the morning of his battle with Lancelot after learning that the remorse ridden Guenevere has left him to join a convent Arthur comes across young Tom of Warwick in the camp and the young boy's simple sincerity and belief in the principles that Arthur is about to fight for restores his faith and belief that there is hope for the world.
To this day there is still feverish debate in regards to the casting of the leads in "Camelot" and to the merits of the overall production. Personally I think Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave make perfect casting as Arthur and Guinevere, while Franco Nero is the very image on screen of what the dashing Lancelot should be like. Immortalised on Broadway by Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet respectively, critics seemed to have difficulty with the actors selected for the same roles in the film version. As Vanessa Redgrave was famously quoted as saying at the time of production; "If Julie Andrews had really wanted to play this role in the film version she would definitely be doing so now". Richard Harris gave I believe one of his most likeable performances as Arthur and like Richard Burton before him manages beautifully with the many "talk singing" numbers that make up a large part of the score of "Camelot". Vanessa Redgrave normally associated with gritty dramatic roles in films as diverse as "Blow Up", "Mary Queen of Scots", and the superb "Playing for Time", here is luscious in the famous role of Guenevere , the very epitome of beauty and romantic passion. Rarely has she appeared more beautiful on screen, which is an attribute about Ms. Redgrave which is sadly often overlooked. Her opening scene as she approaches Camelot through a snow covered forest for her upcoming wedding clad in a magnificent white fur coat is probably one of the most beautiful images captured on screen in any 1960's musical. In supporting roles many actors succeed in creating a great impression often in limited screen time from veteran character actor Lionel Jefferies in a comic performance as the forgetful King Pellinore, through to David Hemmings in a wonderful turn as the villianous Mordred Visually "Camelot", is a feast for the eyes and displays it's lush budget at every turn from the rich colour photography to the sumptuous locations used in Spain and France, to the stunning set of Camelot itself which was miraculously created on the backlot of Warner Bros Studios in Hollywood and was one of the last great outdoor sets to be constructed at the studio. So special was this "Camelot" set that it was to reappear six years later magically transformed to represent Shangri La in the 1973 musical version of "Lost Horizon". It is the rich musical score of "Camelot", by Alfred newman however that in my belief is it's shining glory. The prelude and overture combines some of the most beautiful instrumental compositions of any musical and the other numbers are sublime including the wistful "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood", to the lively "The Lusty Month of May", through to Arthur's magical "How to Handle a Woman" an of course the film's romantic highlight with "I Loved You Once In Silence". Despite the criticism of actors who are not trained singers attempting these numbers the compositions of these musical numbers ideally suit the talents of Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero and the end result is some of the most romantic musical moments you could imagine in a motion picture.
Nominated for achievements in cinematography, musical score,and of course for the superb costume design "Camelot", was crucified by a majority of critics at the time of its release in 1967. The film however has that warm nostalgic feel to it that makes repeated viewings of it essential. The passage of time makes me wonder at some of the spite of critics back in 1967 as the film is far from the total disaster that we are always led to believe it is and is really part of that last gasp of elegant film making just prior to 1970. It certainly captures Richard Harris in his prime as the good hearted, high principled King with a dream and provides Vanessa Redgrave with a stunning showcase for her considerable talents in the role of the beautiful but ultimately tragic Queen Guenevere. While "Camelot", is certainly very much of its time, i.e. the mid 1960's, its romantic story is sure to charm all lovers of well made tales of romance, combined with tragedy. Enjoy! "