S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Joshua Logan, 1967)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Warner Video
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 42,806,823,056 bytes
Feature Size: 37,149,278,208 bytes
Video Bitrate: 21.65 Mbps
Case: Digibook Blu-ray case
Release date: April 24th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 2.4:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3989 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3989 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround
English (SDH), French, Spanish, none
• Commentary by Steven Faber
•Featurette: Camelot: Falling Kingdoms (29:59 - in 1080P)
• Featurette: The Story of Camelot (9:45 - 480-)
• The World Premiere of Camelot (29:04 in 480i)
• 5 Trailers of the film (480i)
• 30-page Digi-book
• CD Sampler
Description: The oft-told tales of Arthurian legend have always been fertile ground for art. With countless books, films and songs on the subject, there have been many interpretations of Merlin, the Knights of the Round Table, the glories of the kingdom of Camelot and the doomed love triangle of King Arthur, Lady Guenevere and Sir Lancelot du Lac. The musical Camelot, however, remains the most iconic. Consider the historical context of the piece. Originated for the stage in 1960, Camelot coincided with the presidency of a young John F. Kennedy. Kennedy was a big fan of Camelot; he identified with King Arthur and, according to the First Lady, she and the President would often listen to the soundtrack before going to bed at night. Tragically, and ironically, just as Arthur's rule lasted for one brief, shining moment, so did Kennedy's, and the press forever linked the two legendary leaders many hundreds of years apart. Camelot is emblematic of JFK and, as such, it is emblematic of an era.
Joshua Logan directs this lavish version of the Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe Broadway success with Richard Harris,... Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero in the lead roles originally portrayed on Broadway by Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Goulet. The musical, based on T.H. White's The Once and Future King, chronicles the legend of King Arthur (Richard Harris) and his tortured love affair with his queen Guenevere (Vanessa Redgrave). Arthur first encounters Guenevere, on the day of their wedding, in the enchanted forest surrounding Camelot. After the wedding, Arthur's bliss at his marriage to the lovely Guenevere prompts him to establish the Knights of the Round Table, a lofty order of chivalry in which all the member knights are bound by a desire the help the oppressed, keeping faith with trust and honor.
The screen version, produced on a huge scale by the same Jack L. Warner who gave the world the film version of "My Fair Lady", surpasses the Broadway version of the musical in every possible way. Lerner, perhaps aware of some of the faults in the original show, here does more extensive rewriting than in his "Fair Lady" screenplay, and his revisions only serve to heighten the drama in the story. Gone, for instance, is the silly comic interlude in the second act between Morgan le Fay and Mordred, in which Mordred convinces his aunt to cast a magic spell on Arthur to keep him away from Camelot during a crucial moment in the story. Instead, this is replaced by a beautiful, magical interlude in which Arthur reminisces in the forest and relives some of the lessons Merlin taught him. And Lerner, not wishing to commit the so-called "breach of faith " that he committed in the 1960 stage production (switching abruptly from a comic first act to a somber second act) , begins the film with a melancholy forboding of the tragedy that is to come much later.
In England long ago, King Arthur first encounters his bride-to-be, Guenevere, in the enchanted forest surrounding his castle at Camelot. Following their royal wedding, Arthur's happiness inspires him to establish The Knights of the Round Table, an order of chivalry in which all members will be bound by a common desire to aid the oppressed, keeping faith with trust and honor. A young knight, Lancelot Du Lac, journeys to England to join the order when Arthur's call reaches France. Brave and purehearted, Lancelot quickly becomes the most celebrated of all Arthur's knights. Guenevere at first resents his popularity, but after watching him apparently breathe life back into the body of a knight he has wounded in a jousting match, her scorn turns to admiration and ultimately to love. Despite their deep affection for Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot become secret lovers. Arthur refuses to pay heed to the rumors circulating throughout his court and sends into exile all those who defile the names of Lancelot and Guenevere.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Camelot looks just wonderful on Blu-ray from Warner. I'd use the term 'brilliant' for much of the appearance. This was always a visually impressive film with some outstanding sets and now in 1080P seems to come to life especially compared to my old snapper-cased SD. Colors are definitely brighter and truer than SD could relate and contrast is deft with solid black levels and no noise. Camelot is a 3-hour film (with 'Overture' etc.) and the dual-layering exports an acceptable bitrate. This Blu-ray supports the film extremely well. I've never seen it look this good - big thumbs up on the visual-front.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
I though the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3989 kbps sounded superb. There are both crisp separations and some subtle fidelity. I couldn't find a flaw at it - it easily surpassed by expectations and is a quantum leap ahead of the last DVD in this regard. The Lerner and Loewe songs are all so memorable - listed here: "I Wonder What the King Is Doing Tonight" (King Arthur); "The Simple Joys of Maidenhood" (Guenevere); "Camelot" (chorus & King Arthur); "C'est moi" (Lancelot); "The Lusty Month of May" (Guenevere & chorus); "Follow Me," "Children's Chorus" (chorus); "How To Handle a Woman" (King Arthur); "Take Me to the Fair" (Guenevere, Sir Lionel, Sir Dinaden & Sir Sagramore); "If Ever I Would Leave You" (Lancelot); "What Do the Simple Folks Do?" (King Arthur & Guenevere); "I Loved You Once in Silence" (Guenevere); "Guenevere" (chorus). It will get multiple play in my household with the sharp-as-a-tack musical numbers sounding incredible in lossless. Wow. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
We get a new commentary by Steven Faber who brings to light some of the Broadway link with Julie Andrews, Burton and Goulet to the film. Also new is the examination of the myth - even on modern term with Camelot: Falling Kingdoms running 30-minutes in HD with Warner's gamble on the film. The package contains the two featurettes from the previous DVD - The Story of Camelot runs 10-minutes and there is a half-hour piece focusing on the film's Premiere. There are 5 different trailers and the nicely appointed Digi-book also contains a CD Sampler with 4 of Camelot's musical numbers. What the old DVD had was an isolated score that would have been very much appreciated here.. Still, we shouldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth with the new video piece and commentary. The Digi-book itself is impressive.
April 18th, 2012
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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