Film Scouts Reviews

"First Knight"

by Eleanor Ringel

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Chivalry, Connery and Camelot. What could go wrong? Alas, plenty does in Jerry Zucker's version of the King Arthur legend. Sean Connery is Arthur, Richard Gere his noble knight, Sir Lancelot, and Julia Ormond is the beautiful Queen Guinevere, the woman torn between them.

There's no Merlin, no Mordred, no Excalibar, no Lady of the Lake. Okay, so it's not Malory, but for its first hour, the movie works so well that it hardly matters (high romance, high adventure, all that nifty Renaissance Festival stuff).

But in the second half, the movie doesn't just veer too far from its source; it turns downright stupid - like the Camelot legend retold by thick-headed 12-year-olds.

Connery looks a bit miffed - as if he doesn't like being too old (finally) to get the girl. Gere is unexpectedly effective as a Lancelot who's more wandering warrior than beau chevalier. Best of all is Ormond whose forthright beauty and sense of honor recall Ingrid Bergman. Plus, she manages to bring a touch of the '90s to the part without falling into PC cliches.

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