King Arthur, Excalibur, and the thing that’s important

There is another King Arthur Movie coming out. It is entitled “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”. It is a big budget movie and directed by Guy Ritchie. So I would guess it will probably be a fun movie. It is scheduled to be released in March of 2017 and the trailers are out.

But I don’t want to discuss that movie in particular. It just brought up a thought I had about the legend of King Arthur and the various movies. And something that is oft overlooked.

We get caught up in the fanfare of heroism, battling evil, battling dragons and enemies and the like. The focus tends to be on the overcoming of insurmountable  external obstacles. But there is one small scene in one of the movies that is, in my opinion, the most important. The scene  lasts about a minute. But it really brings out what is important when we are talking about being a knight, a king, or just a human being.

It is in the 1981 John Boorman version called “Excalibur”. Which, in my opinion is the best Arthur movie of them all.  It achieves a dream-like quality that is not seen in any of the others.

And now to my thesis.
excaliburWe all know that excalibur can only be withdrawn from the stone by the person who is worthy of being king. Easy enough to understand. And a wonderful concept that has helped to make the story of Arthur what it is.

Yet, we never really get a good look at what the determining factors are when it comes to “being worthy”. Except for in the film Excalibur.

In this film we get to see what defines a person worthy of the sword. And it only takes about a minute of film to show us convincingly.

You see, in Excalibur, Arthur is a simple squire to his adopted brother;  an assistant to a knight. And in an emergency, the knight ends up with no sword. It has been stolen.

Our young Arthur scrambles to get his step brother another sword. So he  goes to the sword in the stone. . . and easily removes it.

It was a selfless act on his part. He wanted nothing for himself. The sword was to be given to another. And this selfless act was a short glimpse into the pure character that Arthur embodied. This is the kind of man who will wield Excalibur and become a king. For, you see a king doesn’t rule over people. He is their servant.

Excalibur is available on amazon both to buy and to stream here


Movie Review: Age of Uprising The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas



Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas (English Subtitled)

This is a movie (in French with subtitles) based on a short story by the German author Heinrich von Kleist who is one of my absolute favorite authors. Years ago I went through a period of reading German authors and von Kleist stuck with me. Of course I read Kafka, who hasn’t? But the thing about the lesser known Kleist is that Kafka himself names Kleist as an influence. And for good reason.  Kleist had this wonderful way about his prose and he was a philosopher of sorts. An examiner of life; and he scrutinized very carefully the enigmas and dilemmas of living. He really explored absolutes and how they aren’t so absolute. Or maybe they are absolute. This story takes a hard look at the hero, the choices he has to make, and the price he has to pay in order to maintain truth and right.

Well, I am waxing a bit philosphical here but let me say I really loved this movie. It is a slice of life from a day gone by and a simple yet complex story of a man trying to do what he believes is the right thing.

And in typical Kleistian fashion we discover that doing the right thing has a cost. I just think it is wonderful to see a well made movie that isn’t wrapped up in a pretty bow for the viewing audience. This movie (story) ends as you think it might, yet ends in a way you don’t think. Wonderful 🙂 I so love von Kleist.

Quick synopsis

Michael Kohlhaas is a horse trader. He raises them and sells them. He is wronged by a local baron and attempts to do the right thing by following it through the court system. When that doesn’t work (because of corruption) he continues to pursue justice. It is very interesting to see what happens and how things develop.

Love medieval things? Want something different? Watch this movie.

If you are intrigued by von Kleist Here is a good introductory book on amazon:

Selected Prose of Heinrich von Kleist