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Untitled Arthurian Film

There’s no evidence for an actual, historical King Arthur, but I tend to think the principle of ‘no smoke without fire’ suggests that at some point in the 4th or 5th or 6th Century AD there may have been a Romano-British general or Celtic warlord called Artos or Artorius or something, around whose name all sorts of stories gathered - some new, some simply re-branded - during the centuries that followed. I wonder what he would have thought, if he knew that he would become the principal character in so many Arthurian Films? Fame and renown tended to be quite a big deal with chaps like that, so I hope he’d have been pretty chuffed.

I’ve enjoyed writing about the films this autumn. A lot were quite bad, but most of them had something going for them, and some of the TV versions were a lot better than I’d expected. Nothing will ever dislodge Excalibur as my favourite, it may look camp and dated to you but I don’t care, I love every frame. But Perceval le Gallois comes a close second - a strange and wonderful film that I wouldn’t have watched if I hadn’t been doing these posts. 

The project isn’t over, but I’ve run through most of the big ones, and there’s no point doing snarky reviews of straight-to-video chaff, so from now on I’ll just add a new post when I see a good or unusual one. There are a few that I’ve had trouble finding: Lancelot du Lac, Knightriders, and the 4-part 1979 BBC series. Hopefully I’ll track them down in 2022.

Also, in the interests of keeping up the supply of Arthurian Films, I’ve decided to try and make one of my own. It will be super low budget (I can’t be bothered faffing about with funding applications), but I have such good locations available within a very short walk from my house that it seems rude not to make an Arthurian film. It will mostly be a film about these landscapes, but films about landscapes are always more fun if there’s dressing up involved, and a bit of a story.



I think my story will focus on women, because a) that will make a nice change and b) frocks are cheaper than armour. I reckon I can afford to costume and cater for about five (5) actors, and dress one (1) interior set, so I’m writing something with those limitations in mind. It’s a bit of a culture shock going from novels where literally anything I can imagine can happen to a screenplay where I have to think very hard about whether one (1) horse is going to be too much trouble and expense. Anyway, horse or no horse, I’m hoping to shoot Untitled Arthurian Film over a couple of weeks next autumn. If you’re interested in helping out, and live within reach of east Dartmoor, drop me a line in the comments below. I don’t think it will make you a star, but it might be fun.

Comments

  1. I'd love to see a film of Here Lies Arthur. Has there been any interest?

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    1. Me too! The rights were optioned back when it was published, but nothing ever happened. It's beyond my means, unfortunately.

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  2. This sounds WELL exciting – if you'd have any use for a completely untrained 21-year-old who loves theatre stuff, creating videos, writings things and making puppets (or indeed, making anything really) then do let me know!
    (In all seriousness, I'd love to help out if there's anything I can do. I'm in Ashburton so am very near Dartmoor.)

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    1. Thank you! Ashburton is perfect, you're just down the road from me and most of the locations I've been eyeing up. I'm a completely untrained 56-year-old so at least you have the advantage of youth. I'll get back to you in the spring once I have a screenplay sorted out and have a clearer idea of what we need.

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    2. Fantastic! Many thanks, looking forward to hearing more :)

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  3. This sounds like an amazing project! I'm an illustration student and I'd love to get involved with anything creative if you're looking for that kind of input - you can see some examples of my work on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/billy_ruffian/

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    1. Thank you, and thanks for the link. I'm not really looking for illustrators or storyboarders or anything, but I'll get in touch once the project has taken shape a bit and I have a clearer idea what I need...

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    2. Excellent - happy to help out with anything at all! Marika (the commenter above) is my sister so I'm also (at least part time) based in Ashburton. Look forward to hearing more!

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  4. Alas, not in reach of Dartmoor (although I'm from Devon, Brixham), but if you need a remote sound designer (horse feet, sword/armour foley, mediaeval ambience and so on) then give me a shout! This sounds (pun most certainly intended) like a fantastic project and I wish you the best with it! I work in podcasts but it would be nice to branch into film work - currently based in London, my Twitter page is here: https://twitter.com/SameOlSatellite

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Elliot! No idea what I'll need yet, but that sounds useful - I've followed you on Twitter and I'll drop you a line when I know what's what.

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