“Camelot” (1967) celebrates 45 years: A Tribute to One of Hollywood’s Most Underrated

Above is the title tune of the Lerner & Loewe classic musical “Camelot” (1967) which I feel is one of the most underrated movies produced in Hollywood. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy, but what else do you want from a musical? It’s filled with such promising performances, especially from my personal favourite Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Guinevere. This is my personal tribute to the tragic love story of King Arthur (played perfectly by Richard Harris), Guinevere (Redgrave) and Lancelot (Franco Niro). Check out the video above, it’s one of the opening sequences of the movie, though the poster put Richard Burton, I’d just like to correct him and say that is Richard Harris (THE ONLY KING ARTHUR IN MY EYES).

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TRAGIC ROMANCE. The film “Camelot” (1967), produced by Warner Brothers, doesn’t only revolve around King Arthur and how he came up with the concept of the Round Table (“Might for Right”), but circles around the tragic love triangle between the great King, his wife Guinevere and her infidelity with the Knight Lancelot (who also happens to be a Prince in France). Here we lay the grounds of such a classic tale and one of my favourite legends. Franco Nero (picture above), though in my opinion miscasted, is so cheesy that I’ve grown to enjoy his performance. Pictured above is him singing (with a dubbed voice of Gene Merlino) one of the most romantic love songs ever written, “If Ever I Should Leave You”.

TAKE VANESSA TO THE FAIR. One of the biggest criticisms that “Camelot” (1967) receives is the casting of Vanessa Redgrave in the very musical performance of Queen Guinevere. People keep complaining that Julie Andrews should have reprised her Broadway role. But really, as talented as Ms. Andrews is, must she be in every musical she starred in on stage (See the issues with 1964’s “My Fair Lady” starring Audrey Hepburn. Another perfectly casted role)? Redgrave was my favourite part of the whole movie. She was so heartbreaking. Her final monologue and goodbye to Arthur was Oscar gold. If there are a few things  I could change in Oscar’s timeline it is to certainly get Redgrave in that Actress lineup. She was superb and no one could have done it better then her. Redgrave gave Guinevere such humanity when she needed it, much pride when necessary, she did well in the “romantic sad” scenes and also her “manipulative bitch” scenes as well. I wouldn’t like this movie half as much without Redgrave in this role.

Guinevere: “So often in the past, Arthur, I would look in your eyes and there I would find forgiveness. Perhaps, one day in the future it will be there again. But now I won’t be with you, I won’t see it.” 

Arthur: “Goodbye, my Love. My dearest love.”

FROM STAGE TO SCREEN. Alan Jay Lerner adapted his Broadway musical book to the screenplay they used for the 1967 movie. The video above is Arthur and Guinevere’s final good bye before England and France go to war over her.

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THE GREATEST AND BRAVEST KING. I won’t force anyone to like “Camelot” (1967) because it really isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But I for one am a big “Camelot” fanboy. It’s not just the magnificent performances, wonderful music and high-end production design, but I feel like that movie is so emotionally uplifting. King Arthur (if the legends and stories are true) was such a strong character. He knew of the infidelity of his wife and best friend, but as a King who believed in himself and his learnings, he stood by his decisions to go along with it. Some people may argue that Arthur was stupid, but at the time it seemed necessary. He needed to hold things together to make his dreams (laws, peace, might for right etc.) necessary. This is the backbone of the story of “Camelot” (1967). That is why I love it, it’s about conflicted people and following the ideologies they believe in. For me, it’s truly underrated. You may not like it, but I’m glad I do. And I’m glad I own a copy of the film that I can watch whenever I want to enjoy the sights and sounds of the 1967 classic known as “Camelot”.

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