What makes a man in uniform so appealing? Could it be dedication to his job? Perhaps it's his 70 lb suit of armor. Whatever the allure, even English folklore has its own example of the timeless (and in this case -- tragic) attraction. The Arthurian legend and its infamous love triangle as told by T.H. White in The Once and Future King, was adapted for the silver screen as the epic musical Camelot
Waiting for a terrible battle to begin, King Arthur (Richard Harris) pauses to reflect on how his life ended up in such a mess. Merlyn (Laurence Naismith), his childhood teacher, mysteriously appears and prompts him to remember the first day he met Guenevere (Vanessa Redgrave). After overcoming the jitters of their arranged marriage, the new couple, together as King and Queen, begin to build a civilized, united England and establish an order of Knights. In such a paradise they should have lived happily ever after.
But along comes Sir Lancelot (Franco Nero). Eager to prove his gallantry and join the castle's ranks, the pompous and self-righteous Frenchman at first seems better suited for court jester. The overachieving hero's incredible deeds and feats of skill eventually win everyone's respect, and sadly, Guenevere's heart. For Arthur, it is pure emotional torture watching the two people he loves most betray him -- thus is the beginning of the end.
The theme of infidelity is tastefully portrayed as a terrible mistake. Any scenes implying sexuality are limited to characters shown bare-shouldered or wrapped in blankets. Song lyrics to The Lusty Month of May (which encourage naughtiness) are mild enough that the film is still recommendable for families.
This knight-in-shining-armor tale was given a lavish production budget as well as big-ticket names to draw audiences. Although it fell short of high expectations, it still managed to reel in three Oscars: Best Art & Set Direction, Best Costume Design, and Best Music. Its successful formula of mixing romance, action, and a popular story catered to many tastes and rendered Camelot the reigning monarch by which all other medieval movies are measured.
Content Details: Beyond the Movie Ratings...
A Utopian society built by King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table meet their slow demise when the Queen engages in an illicit affair. Filled with moral lessons, heart-wrenching portrayals, and songs, Camelot is the classic rendition of this timeless legend.
Character falls out of tree. Characters discuss ways to physically harm another. In jousting matches characters are knocked off their horses and receive injury. Dueling is used to solve disputes. Numerous sword fights with implied deaths occur. Grabbing a sword cuts character’s hands. Man on horseback is ambushed. Character sentenced to burning at the stake is shown bound and awaiting the order. Flaming sticks thrown into character’s face.
Sexual Content: B-
Nakedness concealed by blankets. Shirtless men shown on two occasions. Lyrics to The Lusty Month of May advertise the removal of one’s sexual inhibitions. Couples kiss, snuggle, and sometimes roll on floor. Remark made concerning a characters lack of sexual activity. Character accused of adultery.
At least: 6 mild profanities and 2 terms of Deity used as expletives.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A-
Wine used to toast at various events. Unruly characters shown drinking from goblets.
Discussion Ideas: Talk About the Movie...
King Arthur and Guenevere wonder with longing about life outside of the castle in the musical number What Do the Simple Folk Do? Why would anyone in the upper class envy a peasant? Why do the poor often envy the rich and powerful? What things bring real happiness?
Several of the characters choose between passion and responsibility. How do the consequences of their decisions affect each other?
For everything you ever care to know (and more) about the legendary King Arthur, check out “http://www.britannia.com/history/arthur/kaking.html
The tale of King Arthur has inspired many movies including: First Knight (aimed at an older audience), and A Kid In King Arthur’s Court (for the younger crowd). Arthur’s code of chivalry serves as the backbone of the modern story told in The Mighty.
Home Video Notes
Blu-ray Notes: Camelot: 45th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)
Release Date: 24 April 2012
Camelot releases to Blu-ray in a 45th Anniversary Edition. Bonus extras include:
- Audio commentary
- Four featurettes
- Theatrical trailer
DVD Release: Camelot- Special Edition
DVD Release Date: July 29, 1998
If you subscribe to the notion that “there’s simply not a more congenial spot for happily-ever-aftering than… Camelot,” then you will love Warner Home Video’s Special Edition DVD of the popular 1960s musical. Bonus materials include The Story of Camelot featurette, The World Premiere of Camelot documentary, and five theatrical trailers. A lot of attention has been paid to the movie’s soundtrack, which has been re-mastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, with the musical score placed on a separate sound channel. The audio track is in available in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), with subtitles in English, Spanish and French.