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Camelot (1967) Blu-ray Book Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2:40:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 2 (1 x Blu-ray + 1 x CD)
  • Run Time: 179 Mins.
  • Studio: Warner
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 24, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

[amazon-product]B001PBEJL4[/amazon-product]

Purchase Camelot on Blu-ray Book at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

In the canon of Hollywood musicals, director Joshua Logan’s 1967, $18 million production, Camelot, may be well-awarded (three Oscars for costumes, music, and art direction), but it is in the grand scheme of things too flawed to ever be considered one of the true greats of the genre. Based on a somewhat flawed Broadway musical, the 1967 film benefited greatly from the times, a public fascination with Camelot and the story of King Arthur through comparisons to the recently assassinated President Kennedy.

The fantastical medieval setting makes for a compelling backdrop to this story. The pie-eyed King Arthur wields the magical Excalibur and heralds in a new utopian world of chivalry in Britain, only to have it all come crumbling down around him due to treachery, lust, and adultery, namely that of his wife Guinevere and his trusted friend and champion Lancelot.

The film has more than a few visually memorable sequences, notably the wedding scene of Arthur and Guinevere that glows in amber like a heavenly ritual. Musicals, however, live and die by the strength of their songs, and although the music from Frederick Loewe was awarded, as previously noted, it is my opinion that nothing in Camelot stands out as instantly memorable on the level of, say, The Sound of Music or West Side Story. The performances are also hampered by less than stellar musical performances from Richard Harris, who, a great actor though he may be when playing the angst-ridden Arthur, comes across as bit unauthentic when he is required to croon happily. The young Vanessa Redgrave lights up the screen as Guinevere, but her vocal talents don’t set the world on fire either. Ironically, Franco Nero (“Lancelot”) may have the strongest voice of the three lead characters, but his charisma is somewhat lacking overall making for the need of quite a bit of suspension of disbelief concerning the situation involving Lancelot and Guinevere.

Video Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The original 35mm anamorphic production for Camelot leans towards soft, graininess. The colors don’t necessarily jump off the screen in this film and there are a few spots where some use of visual effects dupes causes very obvious leaps in grain and noise. Overall, however, Warner’s transfer looks natural and film-like with a good sense of foreground detail, but it trails off rather quickly moving into backgrounds. Blacks are more greyish than inky and contrast is middling.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack provided from Warner doesn’t do much with the sound for Camelot. The film was originally available in 4-track stereo for its 35mm run and 6-track in its 70mm blowup runs. The expanded 6-channel sound offered here has very little going on in the surround channels and very little extended low frequencies via the subwoofer. I’d also offer that, to my ears, the sound is just a bit dull and stereo imaging is a bit indistinct. Dialogue and vocals are clear however, but there doesn’t seem to be a very wide dynamic range.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

The supplemental package contains a couple interesting, but brief, archival featurettes on the film’s production and world premiere, a documentary on Jack Warner and the making of Camelot and an audio commentary in addition to a sampler CD of the soundtrack plus the deluxe Blu-ray Book packaging.

The supplements:

  • Commentary by Stephen Farber
  • Camelot: Falling Kingdoms (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:29:59) – This brief documentary takes a look at Jack Warner’s latter days at the helm of Warner Bros. and the production of the Camelot musical.
  • The Story of Camelot (1.78:1; SD; 00:09:45) – An archival behind-the-scenes at the Camelot production.
  • The World Premiere of Camelot (1.66:1; SD; 00:29:04) – An archival featurette captures the world premiere screening of Camelot.
  • Trailers:
    • Theatrical Trailer #1
    • Theatrical Trailer #2
    • Theatrical Trailer #3
    • Theatrical Trailer #4
    • Theatrical Trailer #5
  • Soundtrack Sampler CD
  • Blu-ray Book Packaging — The deluxe hardcover Blu-ray Book packaging contains glossy still photos, film facts, an essay, credits, and more.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Camelot on the whole may not be a perfect musical, but it still makes for an interesting watch given its compelling visuals and the top-named cast members. Warner’s Blu-ray Book release will appeal to collectors and enthusiasts, but may not be worth it to everyone else. This one should stay relegated to rental material only.

Additional Screen Captures


[amazon-product]B001PBEJL4[/amazon-product]

Purchase Camelot on Blu-ray Book at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3.5/5]

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