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King Arthur (Richard Harris), who has just conquered the heart of
lovely Guenevere (Vanessa Redgrave), decides to found the Round Table,
a sort of think tank for extraordinary knights, and it doesn't take long
before the most extraordinary of them all, Sir Lancelot du Lac (Franco
Nero, singing voice: Gene Merlino), arrives at his court and proves to be
not only a fierce fighter but also a fine thinker, and soon enough he has
won the King's trust and friendship. However, to the rest of Arthur's
court, the chaste and spartan Lancelot is more of a freak, so much so that
Guenevere decides to have him taught a lesson at the next tournament, by
having the three fiercest knights of the court (Gary Marshal, Anthony
Rogers, Peter Bromilow) fight against him - but Lancelot not only defeats
all three of them, he also revives one of them who was already pronounced
This completely changes Guenevere's opinion about Lancelot, and the two
immediately fall in love. Arthur apparently just knows that his wife has
fallen for his best friend (and by just knowing, he derives the
story of much of its emotional impact), and is heartbroken ... and in his
moment of weakness, Mordred (David Hemmings), his treacherous son from a
one-night stand, gains access to and control over the Round Table, with
the sole purpose of destroying it.
Soon enough too, Mordred gets his hands on Lancelot and Guenevere, whom
he catches committing adultery red-handed, and he has them tried in the
newly founded court of justice. But while Lancelot manages to make a
getaway, Guenevere is convicted to dath by burning.
As a king, Arthur is supposed to watch the execution, which would of
course break his heart (just what Mordred wants), but until the very last
minute he hopes that Lancelot would arrive with an army to free her - and
at the very last minute, Lancelot does just that, and also has his revenge
on Mordred. However, due to that, Arthur's kingdom lies in shambles, his
valiant ideas go up in smoke and he is left a broken man ...
The King Arthur legend told as a musical ?
Now that pretty much spells desaster, and in that respect (but only in
that respect), Camelot is not all bad: At least it's carefully
directed (even if the direction lacks any inventiveness), the sets are
quite ok, and the actors all deliver solid performances.
That said, the rest of the movie pretty much stinks: The dreadfully
cheesy tunes derive the plot of pretty much all of its impact and all of
its seriousness (while at the same time, it never foes for comedy either),
plus Vanessa Redgrave's singing voice is never up to her songs, and all of
the singing seems to do little more than add to the film's running time
(almost three hours) since none of it seems to really carry the narrative
along. And does a film like this really need an overture and an
intermission music ? I mean this is not opera, and the music really isn't
all that good.
Rather a waste of time, actually, but maybe of some curiosity value (at