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Published: Thursday, 5/3/2012

Classic musical 'Camelot' makes Blu-ray debut


The 1967 classic musical Camelot recently made its Blu-ray debut with a fresh digital scrubbing. Written by Alan Jay Lerner and based on the successful 1960 stage musical he wrote with Frederick Loewe, Camelot is the story of good King Arthur (Richard Harris), whose noble dream of a land ruled by law and protected by a band of chosen knights ("might for right") is sullied by his queen Lady Guenevere (Vanessa Redgrave) and his most-trusted knight Sir Lancelot du Lac (Franco Nero) and their affair for the ages.

Camelot features a beautiful cast blessed with the acting and vocal chops to pull off the dramatic scenes and regal musical numbers. Harris and Nero, incidentally, reversed the roles of betrayer a year prior to the release of Camelot, with Harris playing Cain and Nero playing Able in The Bible: In the Beginning …

The transfer of the 45-year-old film to high-definition is reliably stunning -- the gorgeous, Oscar-winning set designs by John Brown and Oscar-nominated cinematography by Richard Kline, making his feature-film debut as director of photography, have never looked so vibrant -- though there are the occasional lapses when the film goes grainy for a few moments. And yes, the runny noses of most of the cast are even more apparent -- and disturbing -- in high definition. Were there no tissues on set?

The Blu-ray, at three hours, is the original theatrical release, and includes the restoration of deleted scenes, dialogue, and musical numbers. It also includes a soundtrack sampler from Rhino, featuring four of the Lerner-Loewe songs. This is the definitive version of the musical, and the best way to celebrate "that … one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot!"

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