Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Night Magical Movie: Excalibur

Here's a blast from the past, 1981 classic fantasy film Excalibur directed by John Boorman and based on Le Morte d'Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory.  I think it's the best movie ever made based on Arthurian legend.  I went to see this with my grandmother when it first came out in theaters, I remember sitting next to her there in the theater when I was 16 watching Uther Pendragon have sex with Igrayne (Katherine Boorman) while wearing his armor.  That had to be more uncomfortable for Igrayne that it was for my poor grandmother. 

To me this is one of the best magical movies out there, it's beautifully filmed, full of magic, good and evil, romance, an intense soundtrack and it taught us all The Charm of Making!   "Anall nathrach, oorfas bethud, dorhiel dienvay" a charm that we since discovered, if said with feeling, is great for dislodging in a most speedy manner aggressive fundamentalists from New Age shops, but that's another story.

 I chuckled watching it again, the font used in the opening is so "1981 Fantasy," but once the film actually starts I found that it's really not dated at all.  The casting was perfect, so many wonderful actors are found in this masterpiece.  A very young Helen Mirrin shows her regal talent early on as Morgana, Arthur's sister and dark sorceress.  I find that Nicol Williamson was the best Merlin in film history, playing the enigmatic mage and teacher with equal parts of warmth, humor, wisdom and power.

Morgana and Merlin face off.
I thought Nigel Terry was wonderful as Arthur taking him from wide eyed youth to aging king.  Again I thought Cherie Lunghi was the most charming and sympathetic Gwenevere in film.  Gabriel Byrne, Liam Neeson, Patrick Stewart, it is what would become an all star cast.

Coolest Medieval wedding ever!

There are some things about this movie that I love.  The clever way they used lighting to portray the living magic in the sword Excalibur was brilliant.  Whenever it's drawn, you see a green light reflecting on every ones armor, it's subtle and cool.  The scenery and costuming is absolutely inspiring. 

I love the two creepy kids as well, who is creepier, little Morgana as a child or her son little Mordred?  I think they are both pretty darned creepy.  I love Mordred's golden armor.
Little Morgan leading Arthurs Knights to their doom, his mother is so proud!

Little Morgana, she knows what's up even if the growups don't and she tells them so in her creepy dubbed voice.

 One of the most iconic scenes in the movie is when Arthur and his knights ride through an orchard of trees in bloom, petals falling all around them.

I love this classic magical movie, it has everything you need if you're looking for a great movie to enchant your imagination!

Arthur drawing Excalibur from the stone.



  1. Well, I'm sold!! :)

    I vaguely remember seeing this on television when I was younger. I'm a big Arthurian Legend fan, I will have to find this on Netflix. Thanks for the "blast from the past."

    Didn't Sean Connery do a version of this too? Or maybe that was something else.

  2. I LOVE this movie. I'm going to watch it today while I do my making :)

    Did you know that Helen Mirrin and Nicol Williamson apparently hated each other and initially said they would only do the movie so long as the other was not in it? lol

  3. Yes Sean Connery did a version of the Arthur story called First Knight with Richard Gere as Lancelot. I couldn't get past the wierd costuming for some reason, it bugged me. I usually love Sean Connery in anything. Knickertwist, it works, don't you think? Since the characters aren't very fond of each other, it probably added something to it! LOL I did not know that!


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