Gawain and the Green Knight (1973)

Article 5108 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 3-14-2016
Directed by Stephen Weeks
Featuring Murray Head, Ciaran Madden, Nigel Green
Country: UK
What it is: Arthurian epic

A squire takes up a challenge with a mysterious green knight only to discover that his opponent has supernatural powers. The green knight grants Gawain a year of life before they must meet again and Gawain must pay his side of the bargain. The squire, now knighted, goes on a quest to find the green knight.

From the reviews on IMDB, many people find this movie to be laughably bad, criticizing the acting, special effects, swordplay, and it’s tendency to conjure up visions of similar scenes in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL. I will agree with that last observation; there were moments in this film where I did find myself being reminded of that movie, but if you bear in mind that they were both low-budget Arthurian epics shot on location in roughly the same era, that makes sense. Yes, the acting is broad, but it’s also genre-appropriate; it’s grandiose, but it didn’t really bother me. As for the special effects, they’re serviceable enough for the story at hand; the movie doesn’t really try for effects it can’t pull off. Yes, the swordplay looks a bit clumsy, and the fight scenes are rather confusing at times, but then, I’d always thought trying to fight in armor would prove to be a clumsy process. I myself rather like the film, at least partially because if feels like it’s a bit out of time; for some reason, a straightforward Arthurian epic really seems unusual for the early seventies. It does suffer a little from being a bit on the dull side, however, especially during the middle of the movie where the story starts to get rather episodic; I like the beginning and the ending the best. It’s not great, but it’s acceptable.

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