HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Merchant of Four Seasons, The
Love of Jeanne Ney, The
Blonde. Purple
Dirty Ho
Annette
Shepherd
Dying to Divorce
Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Trouble with Being Born, The
Last Matinee, The
Strings, The
Free Hand for a Tough Cop
People Just Do Nothing: Big in Japan
Dear Future Children
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Swallow
Thin Red Line, The
Petite Maman
Fast & Furious 9
Sundown: The Vampire in Retreat
Sweet Thing
Maelstrom
Father, The
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Night House, The
Father of Flies
80,000 Years Old
Dead & Beautiful
Bull
Censor
Sleep
Freaky
Nightbooks
Whisker Away, A
Wild Indian
Whale Island
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires
Don't Breathe 2
Closing Time
Cryptozoo
   
 
Newest Articles
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
Vestron Double Bill: Dementia 13 and The Wraith
Farewell Dean Stockwell: His Years of Weirdness
Kung Fu Craft: Cinematic Vengeance! on Blu-ray
999 Letsbe Avenue: Gideon's Way on Blu-ray
Hungary for Cartoons: Hungarian Animations on MUBI
You Have No Choice: Invasion of the Body Snatchers on Blu-ray
You Can't Tame What's Meant to Be Wild: The Howling on Blu-ray
Commendably Brief: Short Sharp Shocks Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
   
 
  Merlin and the Sword Campy calamaties at Camelot
Year: 1982
Director: Clive Donner
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Edward Woodward, Candice Bergen, Dyan Cannon, Lucy Gutteridge, Rosalyn Landor, Rupert Everett, Patrick Ryecart, Ann Thornton, Joseph Blatchley, Liam Neeson
Genre: Romance, Weirdo, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: A time-travelling, Arthurian romance from the director of What’s New Pussycat? (1965)? Um… okay. Merlin and the Sword opens with American tourist, Katherine (Dyan Cannon) admiring Stonehenge when a mysterious force drags her underground into the magical cave where Merlin (Edward Woodward) and his lovely consort, Ninian (Lucy Gutteridge) have been imprisoned for centuries. Seemingly nonplussed about meeting a thousand year old wizard, Katherine babbles about her job making mortality predictions for an insurance company, which somehow convinces Merlin she’s a witch. Imploring her to help set them free, Merlin and Ninian recount the legend of Camelot - despite Katherine repeatedly whining: “I don’t care.” - using their handy mystic portal/television screen and heckling the onscreen action, Mystery Science Theatre 3000-style.

The mystical twosome tell how they met and fell in love when Camelot was ruled happily by King Arthur (Malcolm McDowell) and his devoted Queen Guinevere (Rosalyn Landor). But Guinevere is kidnapped by a shaggy barbarian chief (Liam Neeson) secretly in league with Arthur’s scheming half-sister, Morgan Le Fey (Candice Bergen). The king rides to her rescue but is waylaid, first by a clunking, undead knight conjured by Morgan (“Arthur’s manliness will be his undoing!” she cackles), then by Merlin. Sensing Arthur’s illegitimate son, Mordred (Joseph Blatchley) is waiting to seize the throne, the wizard spirits Arthur back to Camelot and sends two brave knights instead. Sir Gawain (Patrick Ryecart) is distracted by three, comely fairy-princesses (shades of Michael Palin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)!), but saved by kindly, pig-faced Lady Ragnal (Ann Thornton). Sir Lancelot (Rupert Everett) finally rescues Guinevere, but their subsequent love affair causes the downfall of Camelot. This involves heartbreak, murder, invasion, a man marrying a pig, a rubber dragon chasing Rupert Everett around a poky room, and the once in a lifetime spectacle of Dyan Cannon and Edward Woodward spinning wildly in mid-air engulfed by dry ice and laser beams.

What the hell? This is seriously strange stuff made all the more bizarre by having Merlin, Ninian and Katherine squabble and wisecrack over unfolding events like spectators at a football game. Trippy and dreamlike, Merlin and the Sword races helter-skelter through the Arthurian legend with no room for niceties like logic or characterisation. Clive Donner previously helmed an enjoyable remake of The Thief of Baghdad (1978), but here shoots in a flat, TV-movie style that does no favours for the shoddy special effects. Performances range from the detached (Malcolm McDowell - dreaming of happier days?), unhinged (Liam Neeson growling in Gaelic, after this his complaints about The Phantom Menace (1999) seem overstated), and bloody awful (Rupert Everett as the wettest Lancelot in screen history - except for Richard Gere - and Candice Bergen as an unholy fusion of Jean Marsh and Toyah Willcox).

The starry cast struggle with surreal, nonsensical dialogue (the scene where Gawain tells Arthur he’s marrying Lady Ragnal drags through ten minutes of awkward pauses, conversational detours, and McDowell and Ryecart looking very confused), but the old-fashioned, Saturday matinee romance retains a certain charm and there are three, rather winning performances. Rosalyn Landor essays a very strong Guinevere, although given short shrift by the lacklustre script. Ann Thornton’s snorting, pig-maiden is the most endearing character in the film. Lucy Gutteridge admirably conveys Ninian’s journey from fresh-faced innocence to melancholy middle-age. None of this explains why Katherine holds the key to saving Camelot. Maybe, if Arthur had better insurance coverage…
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 7111 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
   

 

Last Updated: