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Exploration: “Camelot” by Morgan O’Sullivan, Graham King, and Michael Hirst Critical Essay

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Updated: Jul 4th, 2019


Camelot is one of the most popular films about the great King Arthur of Britain. The film- directed by Morgan O’Sullivan, Graham King, and Michael Hirst- is about a kingdom that is faced by numerous challenges after the death of King Uther. The ascent to power by the little known King Arthur through the support of Merlin is very artistic in nature.

The challenges that the young King Arthur faces is also brought out in a clear and realistic manner based on a society where greed, corruption, and sorcery is the order of the day. The love triangle between King Arthur, Guinevere, and Sir Leontes is also demonstrated in a very natural way, a fact that makes this movie very interesting.

This demonstrates that the director of this movie invested a lot of time and dedication to produce a film that not only narrates the life of the legendary King Arthur of Great Britain, but also entertains the audience and educates about life virtues that should be embraced within the society.

The task of directing a movie is probably the most challenging task in the process of producing a movie. According to Gallagher (56), “A movie director is a storyteller who needs a lot of people, equipment, creativity, and planning to bring his story to a movie audience.”

On the other hand, Gelmis (94) says, “The director has to hold on to the vision while dealing with temperamental artists, union contract requirements, uncooperative weather, studio time, budget demands and a handful of other uncontrollable uncertainties.”

This scholar tries to bring out the importance of the work of a producer of a movie. This research will focus on how the producer of this movie managed to bring out this wonderful piece of art.

Significant moments of the play illustrating how the central idea was successfully expressed in live dramatic form

According to Gallagher (71), it is always very important for the film director to ensure that the central idea of a movie is presented in a clear manner. Just as an author of a book uses words to give, a clear picture of the main message he or she wants to pass across, a movie director will use live dramatic form to present his or her message to the viewers. This is what the director of this play was keen on in this movie.

This director used a number of scenes to present different main ideas to the audience. As the movie begins, the viewers are introduced to a kingdom where corruption is rife and people prefer to use shortcuts in order to achieve what they want in life.

This corruption is present right from the palace of the kingdom to the junior most officers. This corruption is demonstrated as a factor that creates a rot in the society. Although King Urther is not a corrupt individual, the officers surrounding him in his palace are.

The director gives viewers a king who is determined to crash corruption in the kingdom, but the officers who should be implementing these policies are the same ones who are corrupt in their actions. A particular moment shown in this movie is when the Lady Morgan conspires against the King by strangers who have cheated her that they will hand over power to her once they manage to kill the king.

Lady Morgan- inspired by the greed to have the kingdom under her control- helps the rivals of the king to reach King Urther easily in a place where he cannot defend himself.

This act of greed and selflessness is present in our daily lives. The director was keen to demonstrate that such evil plans, however successful they may appear, do not always yield the results expected by the plotters. Lady Morgan fails in her plans and a loyal citizen of this country who happens to be a sorcerer rescues the king.

Another central idea presented in this movie very clearly is the sorcery that is rife in this kingdom. Sorcery is one of the most controversial issues in the present day society. The director of this movie wanted to demonstrate both the evil and benefits of sorcery in the society, and the hypocrisy that comes with it.

Although it is believed that the current Great Britain is one of the most civilized societies in the world that do not tolerate sorcery, the director wanted to demonstrate that at one moment sorcery was rife in this kingdom. Every member of this society is quick to solicit the services of sorcery whenever he or she wants to undertake an activity that would need supernormal power.

People who want to overthrow the king are using magic in order to find their way mysteriously into the kingdom and into the palace. They also use magic to find mysteriously powerful weapons to use against people they consider their enemy. King Urther is determined to crash sorcery by executing people who practice it.

However, this is hypocrisy of the highest order because he also solicited the help of a sorcerer in order to get a son. This is a demonstration that the rot caused by sorcery did not even spare the highest authority of this land.

The King himself fell a victim despite his hatred towards the vice. The moment the king visits the sorcery for help in order to get an heir demonstrates that when one runs out of options, then there can be temptations to try anything in order to find a way out.

Another idea that is presented clearly in this movie is love, and the intrigues that come with it. The director gives several incidences where various actors show their love for others in different ways. However, this idea is presented clearly when demonstrating the love between Sir Leontes and Guinevere. The two love each other so much.

They even plan to start a family together. On the other hand, the newly sworn King Arthur falls in love with Guinevere. She considers her a good-hearted woman who can make a good queen in his kingdom. Guinevere has been admirer of the king and she cherishes him as the king. She has known him for some time, and is sure that he will make a better king than his father, King Urther.

However, she had never considered him as someone she could fall in love with because that was beyond her imagination. However, she finally realizes that the new king is in love with her and is determined to win her heart. She finds herself in an awkward situation, having known that her current lover, Sir Leontes is also a loyal knight to the newly elected king.

The viewers are presented with the moment King Arthur confesses his love to Guinevere. She fails to tell the king that she is a lover of Sir Leontes and the king considers her reactions as an acceptance. This results into a love triangle between the three, but Sir Leontes finally pulls away from this triangle.

Fair representation of the play’s themes through the staging choices

According to Gallagher (98), it is always a challenging task for a film director to make staging choices for various themes in the movie. This scholar says that to make the move more realistic and entertaining, themes must be staged in settings that are very convincing to the viewers.

For instance, it would be unrealistic to introduce usage of a mobile phone while the setting is about an old tradition that happened before Christianity. This is what the director of this movie was keen on addressing. For instance, the director avoided anything associated with modernity in this movie.

There is no use of machine guns during the fights, the clothes that people use in this society reflects a traditional society where the current dress code was not witnessed. The lighting used in the palace and in homes of the citizens of this kingdom is a demonstration of a traditional society.

This makes the movie very convincing. The viewers can easily believe that this is a story of the legendary King Arthur presented in its traditional context. The staging choices in the entire movie can be considered as perfect. The director was able to direct the actors and the setting of every scene to reflect the theme that is to be passed by the audience.

Director’s unique contributions in this movie

It takes the artistic mind of a film director to present a movie that is consistent in the message it is passing and convincing in terms of the choice of setting it uses to pass the messages. The director of this movie did an excellent work at various stages of film development. This movie flows smoothly from one scene to the other. This means that the director was keen with editing of the movie.

It is also worth mentioning that the director did a good job in managing temperamental artists in this movie in order to ensure that they behaved in a manner he desired. This is evidenced in the entire movie as every actor gave the mood that was expected in each scene.

This does not come naturally. It takes leadership skills of the director and ability to memorize and maintain the vision of the entire movie in the mind. The director demonstrated this unique capacity in bringing out the every scene in natural way.

As Gallagher (112) mentioned, it may not be easy to make actors behave in a way that is expected of them at every scene, especially when they are expected to show strong emotions. It may not be easy to make a troubled actor smile and make jokes as may be demanded.

However, when it is necessary, it must be done, and this is what this director shows his perfection. Irrespective of their feelings, the actors were able to give the expressions required in each scene, making this movie one of the best in the current collections.

Works Cited

Gallagher, John. Film Directors on Directing. New York: Praeger, 1989. Print.

Gelmis, Joseph. The Film Director as Superstar. London: Secker and Warburg, 1971. Print.

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"Exploration: “Camelot” by Morgan O'Sullivan, Graham King, and Michael Hirst." IvyPanda, 4 July 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/exploration-camelot-by-morgan-osullivan-graham-king-and-michael-hirst/.

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IvyPanda. "Exploration: “Camelot” by Morgan O'Sullivan, Graham King, and Michael Hirst." July 4, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/exploration-camelot-by-morgan-osullivan-graham-king-and-michael-hirst/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Exploration: “Camelot” by Morgan O'Sullivan, Graham King, and Michael Hirst." July 4, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/exploration-camelot-by-morgan-osullivan-graham-king-and-michael-hirst/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Exploration: “Camelot” by Morgan O'Sullivan, Graham King, and Michael Hirst'. 4 July.

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