As a musical it might not be the best, but as a film it is worthy of praise.
Based off of the stage play of the same name, Camelot went through a few trials and tribulations before it came to cinemas in 1967 but I truly believe it is a great movie. The production values are high with sets that look as real as castles that the filmmakers actually shot at in Europe, the costumes are flowing and beautiful, and the star power gives the film a good weight. For me Richard Harris is my definitive King Arthur, many a time in days gone by a good friend of mine would debate with me in my english class that Clive Owen was the best King Arthur of the screen to which I strongly disagreed and said that Sir Richard Harris was the superior version, and every viewing of this movie only strengthens my opinion. Vanessa Redgrave does quite well as Queen Guenevere and while I take issue with the character, her performance and overall acting is very good. Franco Nero might be the best Lancelot I've seen, encapsulating the character's traits as well as physique, and while his singing voice might have been dubbed the acting from him is still very strong. Now the musical numbers I must admit are more miss and less hit, with only a handful peppered throughout the course of a 3 hour film but the way the film utilizes them are where it hits it's stride, the songs summarize who the character is at that moment in time. I Wonder What The King Is Doing Tonight shows that Arthur is a very shy king, not really knowing what to do with the throne and wishes he were doing anything else in life except being a king, C'est Moi shows how highly Lancelot thinks of himself, that he can do no wrong, has never lost a battle, and boasts a very vauntage opinion of himself. How To Handle A Woman expresses Arthur's conflicted emotions about Guenevere and how he doesn't quite know how to make her happy but soon comes to the realization is to simply love her in any way regardless. Which is very odd for a musical because every single musical I have ever seen the songs are either fun fluff that really contribute nothing or it's a character singing their feels in a way to where even a child can fully comprehend how they are feeling, but here without the musical numbers the film would not be affected much. It's a very emotional and morally complex film that is interesting drama because of these characters, we don't really need the musical numbers but simply the story. And once again the plot revolves around a love triangle between our three leads but truthfully the way they handle it is simultaneously brilliant and....bizzare. I'm sorry, as much praise as I can give this film I don't quite get why Guenevere falls in love with Lancelot, it seems more like something you need to read into than the film just telling you. He shows up, they sing a song about how everyone are horny immoral slags in the month of May, they meet and sort of flirt(?), then inexplicably she starts manipulating knights to fight Lancelot to....what exactly? Prove his worth? Does she just get all hot and bothered seeing men fight over her? I have absolutely no idea. But they become a couple and a not so subtle one at that because even Arthur knows but here is where the film gets brilliant. I love, love, love, like love ×1000 the morality system this movie sets up, might for right, violence is not strength and compassion is not weakness, and that revenge is utterly worthless, this is the reason why I will always choose Richard Harris! He is a civilised man in an uncivilized time, and his character moments and his for lack of a better word ethics, is what elevates this movie for me, he knows his wife, his queen is with essentially his best friend and for a brief moment he wants vengeance but he stops and thinks about their lives, their decisions, their own personal pain and he does not wish to harm them in any way because he loves them regardless. It reminds me of when the 12th Doctor tells Clara "Do you think that I care for you so little that betraying me would make a difference?", he looks beyond his own feelings throughout the movie and only tries to do what's right for everybody, those are qualities sorely needed in people today. It's really an amazing performance and he almost singlehandedly carries the film, I could talk about it all day and still not say everything I could ever wish to say about this character. It's a very forward thinking stance for a film made in the late 60s that can still be very much applied today, hell maybe even more so. I think, no I know I'm biased a bit towards this movie, and believe it or not this is the favorite film of my one of my favorite reviewers ever, and I could not more highly recommemd you watch his show if I tried. I heard about Camelot a long time ago by Linkara a cokic book reviewer with an online show Atop The Fourth Wall, and his passion and love for that movie left quite an impact on me and made me resolve to see it for myself and I couldn't agree with him more. He gives a quite powerful and very real statement as to why Camelot is his favorite film, and how it made him a better person. Very few times have I seen such moments but they stick with me to this day when someone just stops for a minute and really just sort of, lays themselves bare and speaks their heart as well as their mind. It's something I appreciate and my love for this film has only grown since I first watched it. The ending is kind of a downer ending, you really have no idea how the story for Arthur ends, I mean it ends with a glimmer of hope but nothing fully concrete which is again very much against films of that era in Hollywood let alone musicals. Musicals are pretty cut and dry when you get right down to it in terms of story, characters, and meaning, and really the only two I have ever seen with depth and this kind of ambiguity to them (that I personally have seen of course) is Camelot and Mary Poppins. Camelot and Marry Poppins don't have basic, plain, two dimensional characters where you know everything about them and how their stories will play out, they focus more on character than just spectacle and fun but they both have their moments, they really break that mold of musicals. They gave better stories than you expected them to give. I love this film, it's by no means perfect but what it does it affects me in a strong way, and I think it deserves more appreciation and love nowadays. 4 stars, 8/10, I am so glad I got to talk about this movie and we got one more before the end of the week. Give it a shot guys seriously.