Camelot Blu-ray Review
The film CAMELOT originated from the massive success of a Broadway show penned by partners Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Jack Warner (an actual Warner Brother) was so smitten with the story and how the Kennedys affectionately adopted the “Camelot” name to represent their administration, that he spared no expense to secure the rights and make the play into a movie. Two years and several million dollars later, it hit the silver screen to less than stellar reviews.
The opening scene depicts King Arthur (Richard Harris) alone on a hill at dawn. He recites an extensive soliloquy in which he pines over Genny, lost values and pending war. A flashback takes us to a simpler time when Arthur has just been crowned king. Here, he delivers another speech (set to music of course) singing about his pending arranged marriage. After falling from a tree at the sight of Guinevere (Vanessa Redgrave), it’s love at first sight and the two are married.
Arthur shares his idea for a grand “Round Table” that will seat all the noble knights from around the land, signifying a unified England. Word spreads to France where Lancelot (Franco Nero) learns about Arthur’s new regime. He travels to England to pledge allegiance to Arthur. Guinevere is irritated by Lancelot’s superior attitude and secretly arranges for three of England’s best knights to challenge him in a dual. After winning the first two battles easily, he nearly kills the third man. Lancelot is distraught and begs for the man to live. Slowly, the knight’s eyes open, Lancelot crumbles in tears with gratification and Guinevere fights her building attraction to this great warrior. Thus sparks one of the greatest love triangles in history.
I’m a huge supporter of all movie musicals. I would consider myself somewhat of an expert on the subject. Therefore, I can say with confidence that I equally loved and loathed CAMELOT. I feel the music and lyrics were a huge success. However, the storyline moved at a snail’s pace. I place all the blame on the studio. Allow me to explain.
According to the behind-the-scenes bonus featurette, Warner Bros. really needed a hit that year. Believing that CAMELOT was going to be a huge success like the stage play, Jack Warner sunk every dime into the production. The sets and costumes were epic and gorgeous. The details that went into every little prop were impressive. The “feel” of the movie reminded me of GONE WITH THE WIND or THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Everything was huge. People were everywhere. It was breath-taking. It had everything going for it visually.
Was I emotionally connected to the story or characters? Not so much. Let it be known that this has nothing to do with the acting ability of our main trio. I think Harris, Redgrave and Nero were phenomenal. However, the scenes were so incredibly long that I became bored with the dialog or plot development. I had a lot of time to get distracted which only made me wish for the next scene and check my watch. The three-hour long movie (with an intermission) was okay. A movie half that long could have easily been great.
Video: The grandeur of each set was divine. I especially loved the wedding scene with Arthur and Guinevere. Thousands of pumpkin seeds were sewn to her dress and it had a lovely affect in the room filled entirely with candles. The opening snow scenes were gorgeous too.
Audio: I love the soundtrack of the movie. The three main actors did a great job performing the songs. Again, these were the scenes I looked forward to most.
Camelot: Fallen Kingdom (29:59): This featurette shares how Jack Warner sunk all of his money into the production of CAMELOT. His grandson explains that the studio ran out of money, called the director and told him that he had to finish filming that day. This explains why all the scenes were so long.
The Story of Camelot (9:45): Cameras catch behind-the-scenes footage during actual filming of CAMELOT. Most of the information we find out is the same as the featurette above.
The World Premiere of Camelot (29:04): This is the televised premiere in its entirety, complete with commercials from the 60s.