Thursday, August 16, 2007

At Last, Camelot

In the early '80s, I fell in love with the Broadway version of Camelot with Richard Harris and Meg Bussert. Unfortunately, we didn't own a VCR at the time, so although I watched it countless times on HBO, I was never able to tape it.

I've been hunting for the tape for several years without success. A few years ago I even e-mailed Meg Bussert who is an instructor at NYU Steinhardt. At that time all she knew was that the rights had been sold to A&E. When I contacted A&E they had no idea when it would be available.

Now, quite by accident, I found it was released on DVD May 1, 2007. (At last!) I've already ordered my copy from Amazon.

If you haven't seen this version, I must say I like far better than the 1967 movie with Richard Harris and Vanessa Redgrave (which looks very dated). The performances are fresh and entertaining. Bussert plays Guenevere with a charming mix of innocence and cunning. Richard Muenz portrays Lancelot as confident but a bit naive. These interpretations make the tragic ending all the more poignant. Harris is, of course, superb as the idealistic and forgiving Arthur. I can hardly wait for my DVD to arrive so I can see it again after 24 years. (Man, does that make me feel old! I was about 20 the last time I saw it.)

UPDATE Aug. 22: It arrived today and I watched it immediately. It's a good as I remembered: beautiful costumes and staging, wonderful music, and Harris was so good I didn't think of Dumbledore once. :) There aren't many special features on the DVD (not even closed captioning), but I don't care. I'm so glad to finally own a copy of this version!


Jason Fisher said...

I miss Richard Harris. He’ll always be Dumbledore to me. I do remember this movie; I’m sure it was HBO where I saw it as well.

The Cat Bastet said...

Harris was perfect for Dumbledore; I don't like Michael Gambon nearly as much.

It's been so long since I've seen Camelot, I wonder if I will look at Harris as Arthur and think "Oh, look! A younger Albus Dumbldore!" :)