Excalibur (1981)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA/United Kingdom, 1981.  .  Screenplay by , John Boorman, adaptation by Rospo Pallenberg, based on the book Le Morte d’Arthur by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by John Boorman.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1981.  Cannes Film Festival 1981.

Exquisite retelling of the Arthurian legend, with this one based more on the Malory version (Le Morte D’Arthur) instead of the more popular Once and Future King by T.H. White. John Boorman uses endless amounts of visual trickery and Alex Thomson’s stunning cinematography to tell the tale of a kingdom that rises to full glory by the might of its ideals and is destroyed the minute those ideals are challenged.  is Arthur, the young squire who removes the fabled sword from the stone and becomes King of England, then marries Guenevere, and loses her heart to the handsome Lancelot. Meanwhile, his mentor Merlin (), a sorcerer, battles with the evil Morgane Le Fay (Helen Mirren) for the future of the nation. It’s a very mature version of the story, ripe with sexuality and treacherous relationships, thus is not particularly appropriate for the young, but its audacious visuals will please adults who might not be that turned on by the story itself. Features early performances by  and Liam Neeson.

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