Episode 65 – Excalibur
1981’s Excalibur, directed by John Boorman and written by Boorman & Rospo Pallenberg, is a ground-breaking film and is considered a classic of the fantasy genre. Do Matt and Drew agree? Probably not…they’re philistines!
Excalibur is a lengthy retelling of a good chunk of Arthurian legend, based primarily on Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, and starring Nigel Terry as Arthur; and Nicol Williamson as Merlin. It also features early appearances from such luminaries as Helen Mirren; Patrick Stewart; Liam Neeson; and Gabriel Byrne.
The film has a bit of a twisty history, as Boorman was planning an Arthur film as early as the 1960s, although focusing on Merlin. The project was repeatedly turned down, but led to Boorman being offered a Lord Of The Rings adaptation. Boorman began work on Lord Of The Rings, at one point intending to cast The Beatles in the principal roles. The project soon dissolved and, later, some of the pre-production design work for it was incorporated into Excalibur.
Matt and Drew were pleased that so many of John Boorman’s children were cast in the film and that it was all a family affair…but were also a little weirded out by the fact that the director cast his daughter in the role of Igraine, whose primary scene in the film is an uncomfortably graphic sex/sort-of-rape scene.
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