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So many fantastic people were born in June! Happy birthday to groovekittie, magicwondershow, and eveningblue. And happy early birthday to peadarog, thehornedgod, baylorsr, and lin4gondor. May all of you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

I apologize in advance for being quiet for the next little while. The summer course I am teaching begins this week ("100 Years of Literature on Single-Sex Worlds"), and my parents are also coming from Oklahoma to spend a week with us, so I'm going to be especially busy! I do plan to try to keep up with everyone, but I may not be posting much for the next few days.

Here's a link that may be of interest from The New Yorker: "Fresh Hell: What's Behind the Boom in Dystopian Fiction for Young Readers?"

I'll leave you with a poll. I'm a huge fan of Arthurian literature and the art inspired by it, and I recently revisited the first Arthurian film I ever saw, Camelot. (I was a very small child, and my parents took me to an outdoor showing one evening on the grounds of Gilcrease Museum. It was a magical night! I still remember my chills at the haunting opening strains of "Guenevere, Guenevere/In that dim, mournful year/ Saw the men she held most dear/Go to war for Guenevere.") This film has had quite an impact on me over the years, even if the T.H. White novels that inspired it made far less of an impression. As more of a Thomas Malory kind of gal, I later was deeply influenced also by Excalibur, especially Nigel Terry's Arthur. And, of course, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is in a league all of its own.

My trip down memory lane has inspired me to ask you, my friends, about your favorite Arthurian films. I'm very interested in your answers. Thanks for participating!

Poll #1577133 What is your favorite film about King Arthur? (You may choose more than one.)

What is your favorite film about King Arthur?

Camelot (1967)
Camelot (the stage play on DVD, 1982)
Excalibur (1981)
First Knight (1995)
Gawain and the Green Knight (1973)
King Arthur (2004)
The Last Legion (2007)
Merlin (miniseries, 1998)
Mists of Avalon (miniseries, 2001)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Prince Valiant (1954)
Quest for Camelot (1998)
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
A film not listed (see comments)
Here lies the once and future ticky-box!

"I have often thought that in the hereafter of our lives, when I owe no more to the future and can be just a man, that we may meet, and you will come to me and claim me as yours, and know that I am your husband. It is a dream I have..."
- Arthur, Excalibur


( 40 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 11th, 2010 01:48 pm (UTC)
Well, a TV series really - see icon.

I seem to have known the standard "legends of King Arthur," from books of stories for children, for as long as I can remember.

Then I read The Crystal Cave, and a few other stories that played on the Celtic side of the legends, and that gave me a taste for Merlin as the protagonist, and a lack of interest in the whole Arthur/Guinevere/Lancelot triangle, which seems to be what most people think of when they think of Arthur.

So while I'd never claim it was great art, I was already primed to like the BBC Merlin's take on the story, even if Colin Morgan and Bradley James weren't so pretty and slashy. :-)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
But it never hurts to be pretty and slashy, either! LOL! Good call.

You've made me want to go have a Mary Stewart read-a-thon.
Jun. 11th, 2010 01:54 pm (UTC)
Some of the things I recall from reading Mallory's Le Mort d'Arthur:

1. Monty Python changed things a lot less then you might think.

2. Sir Kay was a major league dickweed.

3. Robert Jordan clearly got a lot a mileage from this when writing the Wheel of Time series, judging from all the tales featuring some rookie squire getting saddled with a demanding bitch-shrew.

4. Armor was pretty flimsy. One tap, and it just falls apart.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)
1. Very true! The wonderful professor who taught the Arthurian seminar I had in college called it the most authentic of the films.

2. So true.


4. ""
Jun. 11th, 2010 02:00 pm (UTC)
I found it interesting to realize that the only film listed I've seen is the Monty Python film. I guess that says something about my level of interest in King Arthur, ha ha! And I have tried SO hard to love MP, but never found them consistently funny. Too bad; my loss!
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:03 pm (UTC)

To be fair, I think Holy Grail is by far their crowning achievement. And it helps to know Malory going into it, I expect.

Edited at 2010-06-18 03:04 pm (UTC)
Jun. 11th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
I remember Excalibur mostly because of the sound track, not so much because I liked the film more than others -- but I did enjoy it! But I do love Monty Python, lol!

I also greatly enjoyed seeing Camelot performed on stage in the Melody Top theater in Milwaukee, WI -- with the lead performed by Ed Ames! Lovely, I am still a big fan of his!

Mary Stewart's Arthur series and Stephen Lawhead's series are the ones that impacted me the most as far as books about Arthur (and Merlin!) go.

Oh, and thanks in advance for the birthday wishes!! I plan to have a happy one doing all the things I like best! <3

Edited at 2010-06-11 02:20 pm (UTC)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
I hope your birthday was fantastic!

I bet the Ed Ames version was marvelous. We saw Camelot in Nashville with Robert Goulet as Arthur, and it was lovely.

Now I need to have a Mary Stewart read-a-thon. I'm a big fan of the older material - Morte D'Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, etc. - but of the 20th-century works, my favorite is Catherine Christian's The Pendragon.
Jun. 11th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
Very difficult poll! Several of these movies came at just the right time for me to appreciate them so I remember them fondly: the Disney version when I was a kid, sexy Franco Nero when I was a teen (*swoon*), irreverent Monty Python as a young adult.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)
So much Arthurian goodness!
Jun. 11th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
I always liked Nicol Williamson (whatever is he doing now, I wonder?) so Excalibur was always a favourite.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
Yes! He was an ideal Merlin. Is he semi-retired now? I haven't seen him in ages.
Jun. 11th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the birthday wishes! Muchly appreciated! And thank you for the lemur! :D

While I love a good Arthur tale, nothing beats Monty Python! I adore a good laugh! ;)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
Jun. 11th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
Actually, I'd pick The Fisher King. :)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:08 pm (UTC)
Oooh, yes. Excellent choice!
Jun. 11th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
We used music from "Quest for Camelot" in our wedding. :D Everyone commented on how unique it was, and how beautiful. :) We were quite proud. ;) So that's sort of "our" film, you might say. . . . Among those I checked, I'd rank it #1! :D

*hugs* :)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
That is such a lovely story! How romantic.

Jun. 11th, 2010 05:30 pm (UTC)
I didn't realize the 1982 stage version was available! I promptly put it on my Amazon wish list!

I LOVED that... in many ways (although I found the actress playing Jennie a bit weak). Especially chilling was the staging of "Guenevere, Guenevere".
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
I was so excited to find it on DVD! I agree with everything you said about it. Great stuff.

Jun. 11th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I loved Monty Python and Quest for Camelot, but if I have to choose a movie that fits with what I think when I think "King Arthur" I must say that would be Excalibur.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Me too!
Jun. 11th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
I admit, the Merlin TV show is by far my favorite version. I just really love how they've re-imagined the story.

My favorite movie is definitely a tie between The Sword and the Stone and Excalibur, although Camelot holds a special place in my heart.
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:54 am (UTC)
I expected the way they'd re-imagined the story to make me furious, but instead I find it hilarious. It's like King Arthur alternate universe.
(no subject) - greenhoodloxley - Jun. 19th, 2010 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jun. 18th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - greenhoodloxley - Jun. 19th, 2010 07:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eldritchhobbit - Jun. 20th, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 11th, 2010 10:52 pm (UTC)
I've got one to propose adding to your list: Knightriders (George Romero, 1981). The setting is modern, and a purist might argue that a movie featuring people re-enacting the story of Arthur doesn't really qualify as being about Arthur. I had very low expectations when I went to see it - from the description (a renfaire troupe with guys on motorcyles wearing armor, unintentionally re-enacting the end of Camelot, and the movie totally blew me away.

Brother Blue, a storyteller from Boston (who sadly passed away earlier this year) is perfect as Merlin. It truly felt like they touched the soul of the story while they were making the movie, and it shone through what should have been campy dialogue and setting. There are just enough hints of other levels of meaning in it to let you leave the theater feeling like maybe there is just a bit of magic in our modern world too....

As a bit of trivia, I've been told by someone whose knowledge I respect that if you watch Excalibur carefully, there are shots which if grabbed as a still photo mirror all the trumps of a Rider-Waite tarot deck. I haven't had the ambition to go find a copy of the movie and re-watch it with that in mind though.
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:32 pm (UTC)
Knightriders sounds fantastic! Thank you for telling me about it. I hadn't heard of it before. Now I need to see it.

And you've given me a great excuse to re-watch Excalibur, too!
(no subject) - morfin - Jun. 21st, 2010 12:50 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
I haven't seen a serious KA film that I've enjoyed - but then again, I haven't seen most of the ones you mentioned.

I need to read more Mallory. I read the two last books/chapters in first year uni, and it took me years to find a second hand copy of the whole thing with the original spelling. Now I have to get around to reading it.

Like sally_maria I loved Mary Stewart's Merlin trilogy. Definitely the best thing she's written, despite my teenage love of her romance mysteries. Have you read Rosemary Sutcliff's Sword at Sunset?
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
I feel a Mary Stewart read-a-thon coming on. :)

I haven't read Sword at Sunset. Do you recommend it?

I'm a big fan of the older material - Morte D'Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, etc. - but of the 20th-century works, my favorite (thus far) is Catherine Christian's The Pendragon.
Jun. 12th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
thank you soooooo much for my bday wishes. it was quite honestly the best day i've had in years!!! ♥♥♥
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
That's fantastic! I'm so glad you had a good one. *hugs*
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