"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
Fascination with the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable has sparked fantasies and imaginations for generations. The 1967 musical Camelot, now in Blu-ray, brings this legend to life. Richard Harris stars as Arthur, the man who, as a boy, pulled the sword out of the stone. Vanessa Redgrave plays Guenevere, his wife. Together they set out to make the kingdom bright and filled with hope.
Arthur comes up with a plan to bring together all the knights to work for peace. He builds a round table so no one knight would have dominance over another. His idea is "Might for right. Right for right. Justice for all." That was supposed to end all wars and hostilities. But, as most people know, things unraveled in the kingdom. Guenevere fell in love with Sir Lancelot (Franco Nero), and Arthur's illegitimate son Mordred (David Hemmings) set out to destroy the kingdom. With hope waning, Arthur must make some difficult decisions and his fear for his legacy of peacemaking is foremost in his heart. But, as the film ends, all his work has not been for nothing. He has stirred a consciousness in young people who believe in the roundtable.
The bonus features on this Blu-ray edition include additional features, a book about the film as well as a sample soundtrack with four songs from the film. The documentaries look at the story and the creation of this epic movie that was steer-headed by Jack Warner himself, the last big studio boss. A look at the music and composers, the themes of idealism, betrayal, and idealism dismantled, the production design and wardrobe creation, as well as the connection between Camelot and John Kennedy, and the comparison between Camelot and the fall of Jack Warner's Warner Bros. all make the special features worth viewing.
There is a section about the director Joshua Logan, the casting of Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero, who, it is disclosed, had his singing voice dubbed for the film. The documentaries examine the "scope and style of the film," with its 12,000 artifacts placed on the 45 sets, the 400 foot soundstage that made up Arthur's throne room, filming on two continents, and many other interesting little tidbits. When you view the film, take note of Guenevere's wedding dress which contained dried pumpkin seeds to create the special look of the era.
Camelot has long been an interesting story for many reasons and the movie has captured the imaginations of viewers for decades. The music of the film, the look of the film, the themes of the film, and most importantly, the idea of peace combine to make this a classic story and a classic movie, which won three Academy Awards in 1968.