Despite the fact that Arthurian legend seems to be the perfect source material for a Hollywood epic, there really aren’t too many King Arthur movies that spring to mind. At least not good ones. And much as I love Monty Python and The Holy Grail, it is a damning indictment of the general failure to bring the Knights of the Round Table to the silver screen, that that is quite possibly the best.
Given the relative lack of competition, Disney’s 1963 offering The Sword in the Stone is certainly not the worst cinematic interpretation of the Arthurian myth, albeit it really has very little to do with the legends most people are familiar with, focussing predominantly on the adventures of a young Arthur before he became King. And, given his accent in the movie, before he became British.
The pulling of the sword from the stone is really the final act of a movie that is mostly about Arthur being turned into animals by Merlin, for reasons that aren’t especially clear. He does needlessly break the heart of a squirrel though, in a bizarrely cruel section of the film.
I think I quite liked this film as a child, but as an adult I find it hard to find to the same level of enjoyment. It’s not one of Disney’s best efforts, though it remains difficult to think of too many King Arthur movies that are superior.
Score for Christmasishness
The Christmas credentials kick in around the last ten minutes of the movie, when we can quite clearly see some of the characters enjoying a Christmas meal. The actual pulling of the sword from the stone also takes place on New Year’s Day. In London, rather than Camelot. I’m not sure how well Arthurian Legend ties in with the introduction of Christianity to the British Isles, but The Sword in the Stone isn’t really meant to be an accurate historical depiction of anything. Although one imagines if King Arthur did exist and he didn’t celebrate Christmas, he may well still have enjoyed a winter festival of some description. Probably not in London though.
You very nearly got animated yourself describing this film.
Life does sometimes mimic art.
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I frequently mimic art.
I think mrwildblog’s comment exceeds the enjoyment of the film by a country mile!
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The film did set the bar quite low to be fair.
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