Excalibur is not a thing, something you can hold in your hand.
Excalibur is the good in you.
The power to do good, to stand up for what's right, to slay dragons, to capture bank robbers.
You always carry Excalibur in your heart.

Robert Tinnell, Kids of the Round Table (1995)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lifshitz on Excalibur

A new look at Morgana in Excalibur:

Lifshitz, Felice. “Destructive Dominae: Women and Vengeance in Medievalist Films.” Corporate Medievalism. Ed. Karl Fugelso. Studies in Medievalism 21. Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer-Boydell & Brewer, 2012. 161-190.

Valdés Miyares on the Grail

New overview of the representations of the Grail on film and television. Looks like essential reading on the subject.

Valdés Miyares, J. Rubén. “The Cinematic Sign of the Grail.” Corporate Medievalism. Ed. Karl Fugelso. Studies in Medievalism 21. Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer-Boydell & Brewer, 2012. 145-59.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Film in A Companion to Arthurian Literature

A Companion to Arthurian Literature
Helen Fulton (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-67237-2
592 pages
February 2012, Wiley-Blackwell
US $44.95

This Companion offers a chronological sweep of the canon of Arthurian literature - from its earliest beginnings to the contemporary manifestations of Arthur found in film and electronic media. Part of the popular series, Blackwell Companions to Literature and Culture, this expansive volume enables a fundamental understanding of Arthurian literature and explores why it is still integral to contemporary culture.

  • Offers a comprehensive survey from the earliest to the most recent works
  • Features an impressive range of well-known international contributors
  • Examines contemporary additions to the Arthurian canon, including film and computer games
  • Underscores an understanding of Arthurian literature as fundamental to western literary tradition

Part VII Arthur on Film 479

32 Remediating Arthur 481
Laurie A. Finke and Martin B. Shichtman

33 Arthur's American Round Table: The Hollywood Tradition 496
Susan Aronstein

34 The Art of Arthurian Cinema 511
Lesley Coote

35 Digital Divagations in a Hyperreal Camelot: Antoine Fuqua's King Arthur 525
Nickolas Haydock

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Legend Quest Previews

Syfy aired a series last year called Legend Quest that included a number of Arthurian-themed eisides. Here are the previews of two episodes from the network's YouTube channel:

The complete series can be viewed on Hulu at http://www.hulu.com/legend-quest.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Merlin on BBC America

BBC America begins this month airing the BBC1 series Merlin. A marathon of season one starts this Friday (8 June) night at 8 PM and runs through Saturday (9 June) morning at 8 AM. Conveniently, the season is also rerun Saturday from 9 AM through 10 PM followed at 10 PM with episode one of season two. Check out the online schedule for any changes: http://www.bbcamerica.com/schedule/. The network also now includes a page (http://www.bbcamerica.com/merlin/), filled with information and images, for the series on its website.

The remaining episodes of season two air Saturday nights later in the month with two episodes each night, the first at 9 PM and the second at 10 PM.

Monday, June 4, 2012

More Fate/Stay Night

The English dub of the animated feature film Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, which features various mythological and legendary figures (including a female King Arthur) in combat for the Holy Grail, comes to home video this month from Sentai Filmworks:

Having spent the last ten years of his life studying under a mysterious sorcerer, Shiro Emiya has become a Magi. As such, she can summoned the mystical female warrior, Saber, to stand in the ultimate test of sorcery and magic: the Holy Grail War. While seven teams will enter the battle, only one will leave. Is that worth the price Shiro must ultimately pay? The battle is on in FATE/STAY NIGHT – UNLILMITED BLADEWORKS!

The film follows the "official" storyline of the franchise as opposed to the composite one presented in the anime series Fate/Stay Night, which (as far as I can determine) is the only one to expand on Saber's past as King Arthur.

Apparently, there is also a prequel series Fate/Zero currently showing as an anime series on Japanese television (and now on Hulu.com at http://www.hulu.com/fatezero). The series depicts the last Holy Grail War ten years ago and introduces Lancelot.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Merlin's Film Debut?

I've been tracking down references to an elusive American film from American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. called Merlin, the Magician. It was released in 1899 and photographed by F. S. Armitage, and there is scant information available as far as I can determine as of this date. However, earlier this week, I came across an even earllier film--Georges Méliès's Le Magicien (1898)--that seems to incoporate Merlin (or a very similar looking mage) into its showcasing of early special effects.

Please let know what you think,

Monday, April 23, 2012

Are You from Camelot Collection CFP

Arthurian Film / TV / Electronic Games Collection (6/1/12)

The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages is seeking proposals of 500 words for essays devoted to Arthurian-themed film, television, and/or electronic games. We are particularly interested in approaches that explore issues of transformation and/or diversity in these works.

Please submit proposals and CV to popular.culture.and.the.middle.ages@gmail.com by 6/1/12 and note "Are You From Camelot Proposal" in the subject line.

Completed essays should be between 5000 to 8000 words and submitted to the editors by 12/1/12 or earlier.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Are You from Camelot at Kalamazoo

I just posted the details of our Kalamazoo sessions at the main blog. Our film-related session is as follows:

Thursday, 10 May: 7:30 PM
Session 170 (Bernhard 204)

Are You From Camelot? Recent Arthurian Film and Television as Innovators of the Arthurian Tradition and Their Impact (A Roundtable)
Sponsor: Alliance for the Promotion of Research on the Villains of the Matter of Britain; Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
Organizer: Michael A. Torregrossa, Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages
Presider: Charlotte A. T. Wulf, Stevenson Univ.
Merlin: Magician, Man, and Manipulator in Starz’s Camelot (2011)
Caroline Womack, Univ. of Leeds
Morgan, Uther’s Other Child, in BBC1’s Merlin (2008–) and Starz’s Camelot (2011)
Cindy Mediavilla, Univ. of California–Los Angeles
Galahad and Indiana Jones: The Commodification of the Holy Grail in Modern Grail Quests
Schuyler Eastin, San Diego Christian College
Arthurizing the Wife of Bath: The Wife of Bath’s Tale in S4C’s The Canterbury Tales (1999) and BBC’s Canterbury Tales (2003)
Paul Hardwick, Leeds Trinity Univ. College
Respondent: Karolyn Kinane, Plymouth State Univ.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

CFP Camelot on the Small Screens

Here's the call for an alternative collection on Arthurian TV:

Call for Submissions: Camelot on the Small Screen (Edited Collection)
Publication Date: 2012-04-15
Date Submitted: 2012-03-02
Announcement ID: 192848

Call for Submissions: Camelot on the Small Screen (Edited Collection)

In the past five years, there have been three television series based on the Arthurian legends: the French Kaamelott, the BBC’s Merlin, and Starz’s Camelot. Previous decades have seen dozens of series, miniseries, made-for-television movies, and animated incarnations of the legends, from The Adventures of Sir Lancelot in the 1950s to Australia’s Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table or the 2001 miniseries The Mists of Avalon. The proliferation of these productions testifies to the enduring power of the myth and its continued relevance to modern audiences. Until now, most Arthurian scholarship has focused on the medieval literary corpus, modern literary adaptations, and cinematic treatments of the tales, and relatively little attention has been paid to television portrayals of Arthur and his court. We are therefore planning an edited collection that addresses this imbalance. Essays might analyze contemporary issues and themes (gender, marginalization, or religious intolerance, for example), compare TV series to literary texts, focus on a particular character within a single series or across several series, etc. We welcome proposals from scholars in all disciplines on any aspect of Camelot on the small screen.

Articles should be around 5,000-7,000 words in length including references. Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words and a short biography to Drs. Tara Foster (tafoster@nmu.edu) and Jon Sherman (jsherman@nmu.edu) at Northern Michigan University. The deadline for abstract submission is April 15, 2012 and contributors are expected to submit full papers by September 1, 2012.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Het Huis Anubis en de Vijf van het Magische Zwaard

Het Huis Anubis en de Vijf van het Magische Zwaard (The House of Anubis and the Five of the Magical Sword, 2010-) is a Dutch/Flemish television series for adolescent viewers and features a prominent Arthurian story line with Merlin appearing in the series opening as he prophesies the future need for a band of young heroes (they seem sort of like mutants as each has one hypersensitive sense) to protect Excalibur from the evil Dark Druids (a task they accomplish over the course of the series) and later Morgan le Fay appearing in season two as the foe of the teen heroes and would-be wielder of Excalibur. Galahad also features in Season 2, when he is sent into the future (?) by Merlin to aid the teens (see http://anubisendelegendevandevijf.jouwweb.nl/anubis-personage-s).

I append a series of video clips below.

Openings to Season One (first the extended opening and then an abbreviated, but clearer one) (for translation of lyrics, click link and scroll down to "Opening Song")

Official Music Video (extended theme song: ) 

Opening to Season Two (with Morgan le Fay clearly shown as an antagonist)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Merlin Season 4

Teaser trailer for Merlin Season 4.

As the trailer notes, dark days are ahead for Camelot as Morgana forms an alliance with Arthur's uncle (!) Agravaine and plots against both Uther and Arthur. The series airs on SyFy Friday nights.

Merlin on DVD

Season three of Merlin has just been released to DVD and Blu-Ray for North American audiences. Extras include the following:
• Audio Commentary
• Making of Merlin Series 3
• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes
• Wallpaper
• Gallery

This was an important season in terms of the Morgana arc and, under the tutelage of Morgause, saw her turn completely to the "Dark Side," while Merlin grew in power and confidence in his abilities. Arthur also matured as a man and leader, and the genesis of the Round Table fellowship was featured near the end of the season. Season four premiered this month on SyFy.