“Camelot” Is a Magical Movie, and a Primer in Civilized Human Relationships and Growth

“Camelot” is a wonderful Broadway musical that garnered Oscars for Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design and Best Music, and Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Sound. alternative to 123movies In other words, Camelot was a superb technical triumph in its day.

Camelot also won Golden Globes for Richard Harris for Best Actor (as King Arthur), Frederick Loewe for Best Original Score, and both Frederick Loewe (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (lyrics) for Best Original Song “If Ever I Should Leave You”.

Golden Globe nominations also went to Camelot for Best Picture, to Vanessa Redgrave for Best Actress (as Guenevere) and to Franco Nero for the Most Promising Newcomer (as Lancelot Du Lac).

The cast was superb and included David Hemmings (as Mordred, who looked as slimy and cunning as possible), Lionel Jeffries (as King Pellinore) and Laurence Naismith (as Merlyn, the Magician).

Joshua Logan directed this film like a beautiful flower coming into blossom where it is planted only to be destroyed by fire.

Camelot, released in 1967, celebrates its 40th anniversary this October, and was based on the 1960 musical play Camelot written by Alan Jay Lerner with music by Frederic Loewe.

The play was based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the T. H. White novel “The Once and Future King” and ran on Broadway for 873 performances. To say the least, it was well received.

The original cast for the play included Richard Burton as King Arthur, Julie Andrews as Queen Guenevere, Robert Goulet as Sir Lancelot, Roddy McDowell as Mordred, Robert Coote as King Pellinore and David Hurst as Merlyn with Moss Hart as the Director.

Camelot became a modern day legend when it was immortalized-after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963-by revealing that the show’s original cast recording had been the favorite bedtime listening in the White House. Kennedy’s favorite lines were in the final number (when King Arthur knights a young boy and tells him to pass on the story of Camelot to future generations):

Don’t let it be forgot,

That once there was a spot,

For one brief, shining moment

That was known as Camelot.

Since then, Camelot has been associated with the Kennedy administration, and the glory and the tragedy of the Kennedy family. Kennedy was the youngest elected President, the first Roman Catholic President, and the youngest President to die.

The following synopsis of Camelot from wikipedia.com is important in setting the stage for what I am about to reveal to you (the songs to accompany the scene are in parentheses):

“Guenevere arrives in Camelot on a wintry morning to marry King Arthur (of England) and is greeted festively by the Court. Arthur, shy and nervous, hides in the nearby woods (“I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight?”).

“Guenevere comes to the woods, uncertain about herself and her future (“The Simple Joys of Maidenhood”). She stumbles into Arthur, who tells her about life in Camelot (“Camelot”), and then discloses his identity. They are each happily charmed by the other.

“Arthur learns from Merlyn the wisdom of peace and brotherhood, and is inspired to establish the Round Table. The news of this reaches young Lancelot in France, who is determined to come to Camelot and join Arthur’s knights (“C’est Moi”).

“A May Day celebration takes place on the castle grounds (“The Lusty Month of May”), where Arthur introduces his wife to Lancelot. Guenevere takes an instant dislike to the cocky young man and (challenges) him to engage three knights of the Round Table in a jousting match (“Then You May Take Me to the Fair”). Arthur is dismayed by this and (is) at a loss to understand a woman’s way (“How to Handle a Woman”).

“In the jousting match Lancelot easily defeats all three knights, drawing the admiration of them all, including Guenevere. Lancelot falls in love with (Queen) Guenevere and is torn by the conflict between this love and his devotion to Arthur. He asks permission to leave Camelot for foreign conquests.

“Returning two years later, Arthur makes him a Knight of the Round Table. Arthur is painfully aware of the feelings between Lancelot and Guenevere but remains silent to preserve the tranquility of Camelot.

“Lancelot reveals his feelings to Guenevere (“If Every I Would Leave You”). Nevertheless, she remains faithful to Arthur, and helps him in carrying out the affairs of State (“What Do Simple Folks Do?”).

“Mordred, Arthur’s illegitimate son, comes to Camelot to dishonor the King and try to gain the throne for himself. He schemes . . . to trap Arthur in a forest one night. During the night, Lancelot visits Guenevere in her chambers, where she reveals her love for him (“I Loved You Once in Silence”).

“Mordred and some of the Knights of the Round Table interrupt, accuse Lancelot of treachery, and imprison him. Lancelot escapes, but Guenevere is sentenced to burn (“Guenevere”). At the last moment, Lancelot rescues her and takes her off with him to France.

“For the sake of his own honor and that of Camelot, Arthur must now wage war on France. Just before the final battle, he meets Lancelot and Guenevere, and forgives them both.

“In camp, Arthur meets a young stowaway who wants to join the Round Table. Arthur knights him on the field of battle and sends him back to England to grow up there and pass on to future generations the ideals of Camelot.”

Two side notes and then my revelation.

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