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King Arthur establishes the greatest reign England has ever seen, and along for the ride are his indispensable Knights of the Round Table, particularly Sir Lancelot. Then, Arthur finds himself a bride, the beautiful Guenivere. While she loves Arthur, she also loves Lancelot and though Lancelot repeatedly fights it, he loves her, too. Treachery is brewing as the evil Morgan le Fay and her knight Sir Modred work to trap them. So begins the decline and eventual fall of Arthur and Camelot. Written by
Knights of the Round Table is directed by Richard Thorpe and adapted to screenplay by Talbot Jennings, Noel Langley & Jan Lustig from the novel Le Morte d'Arthur written by Sir Thomas Malory. It stars Robert Taylor, Ava Gardner, Mel Ferrer, Stanley Baker, Anne Crawford and Felix Aylmer. Music is scored by Miklós Rózsa and cinematography by Stephen Dade and Freddie Young.
An interesting spin on the Arthurian legend for MGM, who film it in Cinemascope (first time for the studio) and dress it up grandly as the actors have a good old time in the days of yore. Here the romantic angle comes via Lancelot (Taylor) and Guinevere (Gardner) having lusty lustations for one and other that cause a tremble in the stability of Camelot. With Guinevere to marry King Arthur, and both she and the heroic Lancelot loyal to the King and his ideals for Camelot, it's not a real problem until the dastardly Modred (Baker) and the scheming Morgan le Fay (Crawford) start to throw spanners into the works that result in murder, suspicion and war.
It's all very fanciful stuff, full of derring-do machismo, but the action is well staged by Thorpe (cracking finale between good and evil), the outer location photography at Tintagel in Cornwall is most pleasing, Rózsa's score sweeps in and out of the well dressed sets and the cast do their director proud by not overdoing the material to hand. Yes it inevitably hasn't aged particularly well, and modern film fans may balk at the many passages of detailed chatter in the well developed script, but this comes from a grand old time in cinema. When production value meant hard graft in front of and behind the camera . Honour and integrity is not only big within the story itself, it's also themes that apply to the film makers as well. Hooray! 7.5/10
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