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George At 

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Our parents were always passionate about music and musicals and introduced us at an early age to musical theatre. I am so glad they did and have worked to pass that same world on to my kids. I have superb memories of seeing CAMELOT with my mom way back in the early seventies, during its return to theatres after the original 1967 release.

It’s one of our favorites and a film we revisit every few years.

Richard Harris is King Arthur, half singing some of the songs but pulling the role off with such style and humor that you never stop cheering for his new kingdom to succeed.

Vanessa Redgrave is stunning as Guinevere, his new bride and love of his life.

Franco Nero is terrific as Lancelot, the perfect (in his own mind) Knight who’s traveled from France to join Arthur’s round table.

The first hour of the film is lightweight and fun, detailing Arthur’s new dream and the assembly of his new style of law and peace In England.

The songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Lowe are among their best. “Camelot”, “I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight”, “Lusty Month of May” and “C’est Moi” are all classics, enjoyable and set a happy tone.

But the middle hour of the film brings a new tone as romance stirs between Lancelot and Guinevere, Arthur’s bastard son Mordred (David Cummings) arrives with the solitary goal of destroying everything Arthur has created and the dream of Camelot begins to disintegrate.

“If Ever I Would Leave You” and “I Loved You Once In Silence” are somber, beautiful songs but only with age do you realize how SAD the last half of the film is, it’s a heartbreaker!

I’m a huge fan of Richard Harris, he’s so damn likeable that its cuts to the quick when his most trusted people betray him. Redgrave’s final scenes are powerful. Harris would buy the rights to the stage version later in life for $1 million, adapting the musical and touring for years with huge financial success.

Nero and Redgrave really did have great chemistry. They married after the film and had a family, acting together again in 2010’s “Letters to Juliet”.

Director Joshua Logan also brought “South Pacific” and “Paint Your Wagon” to the big screen. His love of closeups is on full display here, but thankfully he avoids those annoying color filter swipes he used in “South Pacific”.

It’s hard to go wrong when you’re capturing the Academy Award winning sets and costumes created by John Truscott and wrapping them in Alfred Newman’s full orchestra arrangements.

Traditional, old-fashioned, of its time, witty and well-made, CAMELOT soars for more than “one brief shining moment”. A classic in our house that we revisit often, it gets an A.

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