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)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hoyle's Cinema of John Boorman

New from Scarecrow is an interesting-looking book on John Boorman, though a cursory glance at the bibliography leaves me rather disappointed from the get go. There is an extended treatment of Excalibur, but, unfortunately, the author offers little engagement with the prodigious scholarship on the film noting only monographs by Aberth, Aronstein, and the Umlands; Lacy's piece in The Arthurian Encyclopedia (from 1986!); and Wakefield's essay. Likewise, there is some discussion of Boorman's work on a Lord of the Rings film, but no apparent knowledge of recent work on this project by Janet Brennan Croft.

The Cinema of John Boorman
By Brian Hoyle
Scarecrow Press

Pages: 286
Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-0-8108-8395-6 • Hardback -- September 2012 • $65.00 • (£39.95)
978-0-8108-8396-3 • eBook -- September 2012 • $64.99 • (£39.95)

John Boorman has written and directed more than 25 television and feature films, including such classics as Deliverance, Point Blank, Hope and Glory, and Excalibur. He has been nominated for five Academy Awards, including twice for best Director (Deliverance and Hope and Glory). In the first full-length critical study of the director in more than two decades, author Brian Hoyle presents a comprehensive examination of Boorman’s career to date.

The Cinema of John Boorman offers a film-by-film appraisal of the director’s career, including his feature films and little-known works for television. Drawing on unpublished archive material, Hoyle provides a close reading of each of Boorman's films. Organized chronologically, each chapter examines two or three films and links them thematically. This study also describes Boorman’s interest in myths and quest narratives, as well as his relationship with writers and literature. Making the case that Boorman is both an auteur and a visionary, The Cinema of John Boorman will be of interest not only to fans of the director’s work but to film scholars in general.

Brian Hoyle lectures on film studies and English literature at the University of Dundee. He is the author of numerous articles covering British and American cinema, including articles on Orson Welles, Joseph H. Lewis, Ken Russell, and Derek Jarman.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Kaamelott Bibliography Take 1

I'm starting a project on recent Arthurian TV and thought I'd share some of the material I have discovered so far. Here is my initial bibliography of studies devoted to the French series Kaamelott:

Bashi, Ahmed S. “The King at Kaamelott.” MA thesis. Eastern Michigan U, 2010. Digital Commons @ EMU. Web. 30 September 2013. <http://commons.emich.edu/theses/297/>.

Brossard, Sébastien. “Kaamelott: Humour, Parodie et Réflexion sur l’Échec.” MA thesis. Université of Franche-Comté, 2011. Astier & Co. Web. 30 September 2013. <http://astierandco.fr/blog/public/documents/Sebastien_Brossard_Memoire_M1_Kaamelott.pdf>.

- - -. “Kaamelott: Humour Télévisuel et Série Intertextuelle.” MA thesis. Université of Franche-Comté, 2012.

Florentin, Valérie. “Les Anachronismes Comme Procédé d’Humour Verbal: Une Étude de la Série Télévisée Française Kaamelott.” Canadian Association for Translation Studies Young Researchers Archive. Web. 30 September 2013. <http://www.act-cats.ca/Young_Researchers_archive/Florentin_Anachronismes.pdf>. 

- - -. “L’Humour Verbal et sa Traduction: Une Étude de la Série Télévisée Française Kaamelott.” MA thesis. Université Laval, 2010. Collection des Thèses et Mémoires Électroniques de l’Université Laval. Web. 30 September 2013. <http://theses.ulaval.ca/archimede/meta/27310>.

Perret, Faustine. “La Rception du Moyen Âge au Travers de la Série Télévisée Kaamelott: Analyse de la Série.” MA thesis. Université of Franche-Comté, 2011.

Shoaf, Judith P. “Kaamelott: A Semi-Heroic Epic.” The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe 13 (August 2010). Web. 30 September 2013. <http://www.heroicage.org/issues/13/forumc.php>. (An especially good overview.)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Blog Update 8/22

Did some work tonight updating our database of productions based on the Wikipedia page "List of films based on Arthurian legend". I should finish that listing by the weekend. It is a serviceable list but by no means comprehensive given the scholarship of Kevin Harty, Bert Olton, and Michael Salda. Please send suggestions for additional material via email or comments to this post, and I will add them ASAP.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Merlin and the Dragons News

I've been learning how to edit entries on Wikipedia today and did some work expanding the listing for the animated film Merlin and the Dragons to make it less of a stub and add in some additional resources. You can view the updated entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_and_the_Dragons and see my changes in the "View hstory" tab. The film is still available on DVD from select distributors, including Amazon.com, and on YouTube. If you can, get the DVD, it includes a making-of feature.

Here are the clips from YouTube, posted by Tanabe18:

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sword in the Stone 50th Anniversary Edition

Disney is re-releasing The Sword in the Stone to home video in early August. The film will be offered in Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Edition and DVD/Digital Edition combo packs. There has been little advance information on the extras, but advance reviews on CriterionForum.org (at http://www.criterionforum.org/DVD-review/the-sword-in-the-stone-dual-format-edition/disney/1202) and Movieman's Guide to the Movies (at http://moviemansguide.com/main/2013/07/review-swordinthestone-bd/) reveals a special treat for fans of the film. Apparently, Disney has put together the original concept art for the film to provide an alternate first meeting for Merlin and Wart and more action for Madame Mim (the film's Morgan le Fay analogue). Further details to be posted as/if they become available.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Updates on Salda's Arthurian Animation

Michael Salda's Arthurian Animation: A Study of Cartoon Camelots on Film and Television is now available from McFarland and coming soon from Amazon.com and other distributors.

The contents have been uploaded to McFarland's page for the book and follow below. Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk currently offer previews of the contents, full preface, full introduction, and part of chapter one from the Kindle edition of the book (which is available to access today from both Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk), and BarnesandNoble.com offers a preview to owners of its Nook readers (though I was unable to access this). This is definitely a must-get; click the preceding links for purchasing/previewing.

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. The Iris Opens: "Bosko’s Knight-Mare" 7

2. The Best Arthurian Cartoon Never Made: Hugh Harman’s King Arthur’s Knights 16

3. "To Ye Jousting Tournament": Arthur’s Postwar Rise 36

4. "What’s Up, Duke?" Variety in the 1950s and Early 1960s 43

5. The Sword in the Stone, a "Full-length Flop," and Arthurianimation’s Decline 59

6. The Profane and the Sacred: What Hath Monty Python Wrought? 77

7. Many Returns of the King: The 1980s 85

8. Arthur, Arthur, Everywhere: Short Animation of 1990s 100

9. Four Roads to Camelot: The Feature Film Bumper Crop of 1997-98 131

10. Where Lies Arthur? Arthurianimation Since 2000 151

Coda 175

Chapter Notes 177

Works Cited 189

Index 197

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lee on Prince Valiant (1954)

With apologies for the multiple cross-postings:

Lee, Peter W. “Red Days, Black Knights: Medieval-themed Comic Books in American Containment Culture.”Corporate Medievalism II. Ed. Karl Fugelso. Studies in Medievalism 22. Cambridge, Eng.: D. S. Brewer-Boydell & Brewer, 2013. 181-200. Print.

Monday, June 24, 2013

New Site Name

As the Are You from Camelot? collection moves forward, I'm beginning to think ahead to larger concerns about the state of scholarship on Arthurian-themed films, television productions, and electronic games (as well as our association with our sponsor and our niche in Arthurian Studies). As a result, I am pleased to announce the renaming of this blog to The Matter of Britain on Screen as the first step in this direction. I hope that you continue to find the site of service to you.

Michael Torregrossa
Co-founder, The Virtual Society for the Study of Popular Culture and the Middle Ages

Friday, June 14, 2013

Merlin on Video

A quick post to catch up to date. The popular series Merlin finished its five-year run earlier this year. The complete series is now available to own on DVD, Blu-Ray, and instant video. The following images are the front and back covers of the DVD release. I assume the Blu-Ray includes the same extras.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Salda's Arthurian Animation Coming Soon

The latest from McFarland. This is definitely a must get.

Arthurian Animation: A Study of Cartoon Camelots on Film and Television
Michael N. Salda

Print  ISBN: 978-0-7864-7468-4
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-0614-9
ca. 35 photos, notes, bibliography, index
softcover (7 x 10) 2013
Price: $45.00
Not Yet Published, Available Fall/Winter 2013

About the Book

This is an exploration of the potent blend of Arthurian legend, cartoon animation, and cultural and artistic trends from 1933 to the present day. In more than 170 theatrical and televised short cartoons, televised series and specials, and feature-length films from The Sword in the Stone to Shrek the Third--all covered in this book--animators have repeatedly brought the Round Table to life on screens large and small. Although these productions differ greatly in tone and intent--spanning spectra from comic to sober, fantastic to realistic, and entertaining to edifying--they share in the proof of Camelot’s continuing relevance in the modern world.

About the Author

Michael N. Salda is an associate professor of Medieval Literature in the Department of English at the University of Southern Mississippi. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lancelot on Once Upon a Time

A much belated post:

The recent episode "Lady of the Lake" (14 October 2012) of the ABC fantasy-drama series Once Upon a Time featured an extended appearance by Sir Lancelot, played by African American actor Sinqua Walls. Walls offers details about his role in an interview for TV Fanatic at http://www.tvfanatic.com/2012/09/sinqua-walls-speaks-on-sir-lancelot-dangerous-addition-to-once-u/ and the Once Upon a Time Wiki includes some details about the character at http://onceuponatime.wikia.com/wiki/Sir_Lancelot.

The following trailer appears from the televisionpromos channel on YouTube: