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Camelot (1967)



5 out of 5 stars=    If Ever I Would Leave You

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
-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.

4. Recommendations

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.

~The Rebecca Review

If you love this movie,
I'd imagine you would also love:

My Fair Lady     Madame Butterfly

Howards End


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