Cover image for Arthurian legends on film and television
Arthurian legends on film and television
Olton, Bert.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., 2000.
Physical Description:
ix, 341 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
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PN1995.9.A75 O48 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

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The Arthurian legends are a crucial part of Western culture and literature. With their enduring themes, archetypal characters, and complex plots, it is not surprising that the stories of Camelot should find their way into films and television programs.From the moody (Excalibur) to the looney (Knighty Knight Bugs), over 250 entries describe the various media interpretations of the legendary king and his trusty knights. Entries are arranged alphabetically, with complete credits, synopses, and analyses of the ways in which the pieces interpret the legend. Included are works like The Sword in the Stone that are based solely on Arthur and his literary origins, as well as those that feature other Camelot characters like Galahad, Percival, and the operatic favorites Tristan and Isolde. Also included are fanciful interpretations in animated films, parodies like Monty Python's, films like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade that feature Arthurian themes, and television programs with Arthurian episodes such as Babylon 5 and MacGyver. Operatic and dramatic works, like Camelot, that have been recorded for film and television are also covered. Appendices, a bibliography and an index, are included.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

The Arthurian legend has been around for more than 1,500 years. In literature it has filled entire libraries. It made the transition to film with ease, with more than enough Arthurian film and television material to justify an entire reference volume. The author states at the outset that this work is not scholarly. When compared with Kevin J. Harty's Cinema Arthuriana (Garland, 1991) and its successor, King Arthur on Film (McFarland, 1999), among other examples mentioned in the preface, that is a fair assessment. Olton's accomplishment is to provide an extensive annotated catalog of the legend as it has appeared in film and television. The more than 250 alphabetically arranged entries of virtually every filmed Arthurian piece range from the 1904 silent masterpiece Parsifal to the 1999 romp Once Upon a Future King, an episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. In between are the famous (1981's Excalibur) to the obscure (1964's Mr. Magoo's Literary Classics: King Arthur). Each entry comes replete with a cast-and-credits listing that is probably too inclusive; the author himself takes a moment to complain about the increasing length of film credits in recent years. Following the credits is a synopsis that often includes some evaluation of the ways in which the legends are used. Depending on the entry's importance, the synopsis can be long or extremely brief. The recent NBC miniseries Merlin (1998) has a five-page, two-column synopsis that earns one of the longest (nearly a page) evaluations, in which the story is placed in its overall Arthurian context. The work concludes with two appendixes, a chronological listing of the film and television programs, and a list of additional films and television programs with probable Arthurian content. The bibliography is adequate, and the index is workable. This work is recommended for public and academic libraries. In larger collections, it would be a useful companion to Cinema Arthuriana and similar titles.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. 1
The Films and Television Programsp. 3
Appendix I Chronological Listing of Films and Television Programsp. 315
Appendix II Films and Television Programs with Possible Arthurian Contentp. 319
Bibliographyp. 321
Indexp. 324