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Camelot is the 1967 film version of the successful musical of the same name. Richard Harris appears as Arthur, Vanessa Redgrave as Guenevere and Franco Nero as Lancelot. The film was directed by Joshua Logan.


The main plot of the film and the stage version is shown in a long flashback. In the opening scene, King Arthur is preparing for a great battle against his friend, Sir Lancelot. While brooding over the circumstances that led him to this moment, he asks Merlyn for help. Merlyn appears to him and tells Arthur to think back. It is now that the main plot begins.

Arthur has fled to the woods of ancient Englandmarker to quell his nerves as he awaits his first meeting with Guinevere, his fiancée by an arranged marriage. After singing "I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight," he is startled when his solitude is interrupted by Guinevere and her entourage. Guinevere, whose introduction to the story features her opening song "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood" expresses nervous misgivings similar to those of Arthur, and has likewise escaped momentarily into the forest for a brief moment of solitude. Guinevere appeals to St. Genevieve in prayer, and unknowingly reveals her identity to Arthur, who is hiding in a tree. The king falls from a branch, startling Guinevere but keeping his own identity a secret. It is during this first meeting that Arthur introduces Guinevere to Camelot, singing the title song, "Camelot". After their identities are revealed to each other, they are married.

As the plot develops, Arthur confides to Guinevere his idea for a "Round Table" that would seat all the noble knights of the realm, reflecting not only a crude type of democratic ideal, but also the political unification of Englandmarker. As knights are gathered, word reaches all the way to Francemarker, where Sir Lancelot at his castle, Joyous Gard (represented by Alcázar of Segoviamarker), hears word of the table. Inspired by Arthur’s ideas, Lancelot makes his way from France to Camelot, singing his introductory song "C’est Moi." (Lancelot's singing voice was dubbed by noted Los Angelesmarker session singer, Gene Merlino.) Making his way to England, Lancelot quickly enters the highest echelons of Arthur's court due to his great prowess in combat.

During a tournament, Lancelot defeats three of the best of Arthur’s other knights, highlighting his athletic prowess and nobility—both of which are noticed by the Queen Guinevere. Ultimately Lancelot and Guinevere fall in love, leading to the famous love triangle involving Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot. As the personal drama unfolds, Arthur and "Jenny"—as Guinivere is called by her intimate familiars—sing together the world-weary song "What Do The Simple Folk Do?." Nothing seems able to stop the deepening love between Lancelot and Guinevere, however, and the film implies that their secret affair spans several years, especially in the classic song "If Ever I Would Leave You," sung by Lancelot to Guinevere.

Arthur realizes that there is something going on between Lancelot and Guinevere, but out of love for them both, does nothing, instead banishing every knight who accuses them of adultery. Mordred, the illegitimate offspring of King Arthur's premarital tryst with the Queen Morgause, arrives at Camelot, bitter at Arthur's refusal to recognize him and determined to bring down the fellowship of the Round Table by stirring up trouble. He organizes the return of all the banished knights and convinces Arthur to stay out all night hunting in order to test the loyalty of Lancelot and Guinevere.

Arthur does so unwillingly, and Mordred sees to it that Lancelot and Guinevere are caught during a final tryst. Lancelot escapes, but Guinevere is sentenced to die at the stake. Arthur, who has promoted the rule of law throughout the story, is now bound by his own law; he can make no special exceptions for the Queen and/or his own wife. In a climactic scene, Lancelot, who returns to save her, to the delight of Arthur, rescues Guinevere at the stake. In the film’s final scene, we return to the opening. Arthur is preparing to battle against Lancelot, at the insistence of his knights who want revenge, and England appears headed into the Dark Ages. He is visited one last time by Guinevere, who has now joined a convent, and Lancelot. Arthur forgives them both and bids them a heartfelt farewell. Despite the fact that he and Lancelot are still friends, Arthur is obligated to fight because of the other knights' lust for revenge.

Prior to the battle, however, Arthur stumbles across a young boy named Tom, who wishes to become a Knight of the Round Table. Arthur is skeptical at first, but Tom espouses his commitment to Arthur's original ideal of "Not might makes right, but might for right." Arthur realizes that, although most of his plans have fallen through, the ideals of Camelot still live on in this simple boy. Arthur knights Tom and gives him his orders—to run behind the lines and survive the battle, so he can tell future generations about the legend of Camelot. Watching Tom leave, Arthur regains his hope for the future. ("Tom" is the name of Sir Thomas Malory, who indeed told the story to future generations in Le Morte d'Arthur.)


The film won three Academy Awards for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (John Truscott, Edward Carrere, John W. Brown), Best Costume Design, and Best Music-Scoring of Music (Adaptation or Treatment). It was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Sound. It also won three Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for an additional three.

The film is also notable as the only instance in which a song written for a Broadway show won a Golden Globe award. The category it won in, Best Original Song Written for a Motion Picture, is reserved only for songs explicitly written for films, not stage musicals, but in this instance, an exception was made, and the song If Ever I Would Leave You (mislabeled If Ever I Should Leave You on the award) won the Golden Globe that year. Whether this was an accidental oversight on the part of the Foreign Press Association, or a deliberate attempt to circumvent the rules, is unknown, but it had not ever happened before, and has not happened since. In addition, Frederick Loewe was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score, although the score was written for the Broadway stage, and not for film.

Richard Harris won the 1968 Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.

See also


  3. Richard Harris' awards from the Internet Movie Database

External links

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