March 20th, 2014: Excalibur (1981)

Cast and Crew:  Thomas Malory (Writer); Helen Mirren, Corin Redgrave, Patrick Stewart, Ciaran Hinds

What It’s About: Excalibur is writer/director John Boorman’s take on the King Arthur myth, going from Uther Pendragon’s (Gabriel Byrne) seduction of Igrayne (Katrine Boorman) with the aid of Merlin (Nicol Williamson) to his son Arthur’s (Nigel Terry) rise and fall.

Why Watch It Today?:  Today is the Vernal Equinox, marking the first day of spring (traditionally that date was the 21st, so if your calendar disagrees, just consider this entry as being for the last day of winter).  In the climax of Excalibur Arthur shakes off years of inertia and decline, gathers the remaining faithful knights of the round table, and rides into battle with Mordred (Robert Addie).  Boorman imagines a literal renewal of the land, where trees and plants grow and burst into bloom as Arthur and his men ride forward.  A new spring dawns and shakes off the darkness of a long winter.  After the winter we’ve had, let’s hope spring comes riding in like Arthur.

Other Choices:  Spring is also a key plot point in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

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