FILM REVIEW: “EXCALIBUR” FURTHER RIGHT THAN FAR RIGHT

John Boorman’s spectacular Arthurian epic Excalibur is one of those films everyone ought to have seen. It is one of those rarest of gems: a film that ennobles the spirit just by dint of having watched it. It is a Gesamtkunstwerk of the highest order that lifts one onto a higher plane, so that when one leaves the cinema, one has the barely controllable urge to do great deeds. And it is a film for the Right – not  for the Alternative Right, but for the True Right, for ORDER15 without compromise, for ORDER15 that is elitist, for ORDER15 that strives for the highest, for ORDER15 that lies beyond the tainted, half-hearted measures of Fascism and National Socialism, yet which eschews despotism and embraces paternalism.

There have been many reinterpretations of the legend in just about every medium possible. Famous filmic versions include Knights of the Round Table (1953), Camelot (1967), First Knight (1995) and King Arthur (2004), and there is an upcoming treatment of the legend called King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, a typical Guy Ritchie affair, where Sir Bedevere is played by a Negro. And these people have the audacity to talk about cultural appropriation! Next they will be trying to claim the pyramids….. Oh wait….. And I thought after the disaster that was Antoine Fuqua’s King Arthur, it could not get any worse. It always does though.

The major difference between those latter two works and Excalibur is in style and interpretation. The latter two present a veritisimitable version lifted from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, while Excalibur‘s source material is Thomas Malory’s Le Mort d’Arthur with support from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.

The reason for this is the films by Fuqua and Ritchie are typical examples of Leftist propaganda, both tools for promoting the immigrant invasion, just as Monmouth’s Historia was a tool to legitimate the Norman-Breton invasion. Boorman, like Malory and especially Tennyson, concentrates more on the mythic, and is therefore, in accordance with Julius Evola’s assertions, Rightist. It also borrows themes from Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle, which in turn was inspired by the mythic texts Der Nibelungenlied and Volsungasaga. The use of Wagner’s music is extremely apt, for Excalibur is a modern Gesamtkunswerk of the highest order.

Wagner’s vision of Gesamtkunstwerk was operatic, combining music, lyrical poetry, theatre and artistic mise-en-scène that formed an organic whole. This post-Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk for the age of cinema combines music, prose dialogue that reaches the level of prose-poetry (thanks to scripwriters Rospo Pallenberg and Boorman himself) and artistic cinematography. Such scenes include the scene in which Merlin bids farewell to Arthur as the sun symbolically sets (see above), and the one in which the knights all in gleaming armour first gather at the Round Table in a glimmering Camelot (see below). In addition to Wagner’s Ring of which ‘Siegrieds Todesmarsch’ is used as a refrain, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal, as well as Carl Orff’s ‘O Fortuna’ from Carmen Burana add to the musical score. This is also interesting from a Rightist perspective, as the Wagner family and Orff were heavily involved with the German National Socialist state.

Yet the film reminds us that there are both congruencies and differences between National Socialism and the True Right, as Evola often noted. Evola’s thought itself is sometimes flawed though, particularly with regard to the subject of race, Evola’s flaw arising from the post-Pagan notion of a spirit-mind-body split, whereas energy and matter impinge one upon the other. The National Socialist attempt to recreate a racially homogenous society was perfectly moral and in tune with Natural Order.

The cast of Excalibur is racially homogenous. Sir Lancelot (played by Nicholas Clay) in particular, is the model of Nordic Aryan masculinity and serves to contrast Arthur’s (Nigel Terry) lack of heroism upon taking on a role as lawmaker and civilizer, hence Quinevere’s (Cherie Lunghi) attraction to him as warrior Übermensch. Lancelot has always served as this archetype, particularly as a personification of ‘muscular Christanity’, since his creation by Chrétien de Troyes. In contrast, Jollywood Jews Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have cast Negro actor Sinqua Walls in their series Once Upon a Time to undermine this European archetype. This follows (((The Disney Channel’s))) casting of African-Puerto Rican actor Christopher Tavarez in Avalon High, complete with cuckolding of a White European Arthur/Will Wagner (played by a Jewish actor in Gregg Sulkin) with Guinevere/Jennifer (played by golden-haired, blue-eyed actress Molly Quinn).

The aforementioned theme of Paganism versus Christianity comes very much to the fore. Throughout the film, the world becomes increasingly Christianised. Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere is a distinctly Christian ceremony, complete with image of Christ’s head on a banner and priest, which contrasts with the earlier ceremony of the sword-drawing contest, which is presided over by a druid. Merlin (an excellent Nicol Williamson) exposes the foreign nature of Christianity, as he laments to Morgana (Helen Mirren) that:

“The one god comes to drive out the many gods. The spirits of wood and stream grow silent. It’s the way of things. Yes. It’s a time for men and their ways.”

 

It is interesting that Merlin makes a clear distinction between the worlds of men and of Nature, that the new god opposes Nature and that men, in accepting the new god, will abandon Nature. This split between man and Nature is at the heart of liberalism in which Western Man is considered as apart from and not a part of Nature.

This foreshadows the land’s decay and the birth of Arthur’s unnatural son, Mordred, to his half-sister, Morgana (in a departure from the existing Arthurian canon and a move towards incestuous themes in Der Ring des Nibelungen). This of course asks questions of the Grail, what it is and what it represents, for it is noticeable that it is never referred to as ‘the Holy Grail’ in the entire film. This leaves it open to interpretation as to whether the Grail is the cup used at the Last Supper or a druidic Grail of Celtic legend, for it certainly has the powers of restoration associated with, say, the Cauldron of Annwn. Without going too much into Christian and Pagan themes here, suffice it to say that the two coexist….if somewhat uneasily, rather like in the Alt Right.

Sir Perceval brings the Grail.

The Grail’s restoration of Arthur after his period of life-in-death also restores his knowledge of what it means to be king. Here, we must look at his decline and failure first, for in this, we see the lesson drawn from our own history, of why the True Right collapsed. After leading his knights to triumph against and enemy known only as ‘the invaders’, Camelot is built, housing the famous Round Table, where all the knights could gather. In this period of civilization-building that coincides with Christianisation, Arthur takes a back seat, creating a system of law that runs like clockwork. Of Merlin, he asks somewhat too proudly:

“Then answer me this: for years, peace has reigned in the land; crops grow in abundance; there’s no want; every one of my subjects enjoys happiness and justice – tell me, Merlin, have we defeated evil, because it seems we have?”

This and Merlin’s answer that “Good and evil, there never is one without the other” prompts Sir Gawain’s outburst about Guinevere’s lust for Sir Lancelot, an outburst that is made possible by Arthur’s democratic leanings in creating the Round Table that gives a voice to all. Arthur’s woes are compounded when he refuses to defend his wife’s honour, as he must judge as king before fight as husband, much to the dismay of Guinevere. He therefore chooses civilization over barbarity, societal law over the Natural law of defending one’s loved ones. Ultimately, Arthur has created these laws himself and they reveal a man who is increasingly willing to embrace the passivity of Christianity of his own volition. After all, why does there need to be a judge in a trial of combat?

Equally, Guinevere is correct when she states that “In the idleness of peace, I see that gossip has spread its own evil.” This is an eternal truth. As ORDER15 knowns, without real struggle, the human mind will artificially create struggle, hence the rise of the Social Justice Warrior from the creamy all-too-comfortable bourgeoisie and their crusades against all manner of invented abstractions that boil down to a struggle against Nature herself. ORDER15  knowns that a balance between order and chaos, between what Nietzsche termed the Apollonian and Dionysian, is necessary for heroic masculinity not to be negated. And deep inside every woman is a desire to be saved by a hero, no matter how much she rails against ‘the patriarchy’.

Indeed, women prove to be rather problematic in the film, which no doubt will please the Manosphere types who love to point to women as ‘the enemy’. Morgana is indeed a representation of evil, but Guinevere is all too human, and her betrayal of Arthur is seen equally as stemming from Arthur’s betrayal of her in the scene we have explored. Morgana is a more simplistic character, however, and driven by the pursuit of power. In this, she could well be seen as a feminist, especially as she raises her child Mordred as a single mother after getting ‘a bit rapey’ with her own half-brother. The scene in which she uses magic to trick Arthur into begetting a son is a gender reversal of the earlier one between Uther and Igraine that produces Arthur himself. Raised by a woman alone, Mordred grows to become spoilt and violent, eventually committing matricide and attempting patricide. Again, how often have we seen the sons of single mothers grow up to be criminals and have severe psychological problems?

Arthur’s half-sister Morgana and son Mordred.

Arthur’s passivity leads to his problems with both his men and with women. His cuckolding and sexual assault leads to his impotence. In turn, this leads to the land decaying. The Grail gives him the knowledge that he has lost: he and the land are one. This is what kingship means: to be custodian of the land – something that has been forgotten by present monarchs, who see it regularly traded by merchants to foreign speculators for mere shekels. It is something for which, even two centuries ago, the great Tory poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge berated the British aristocracy. Arthur also gains knowledge of his other failure:

“Ready my knight for battle. They will ride with their king once more. I have live through others far too long. Lancelot carried my honour, and Guinevere my guilt, Mordred bore my sins, my knights have fought my causes. Now, my brother, I shall be….King.”

This is the realisation that, as Thomas Carlyle pointed out, the king is etymologically the ‘ableman’, the best of men. The king is warrior leader and culture hero, is responsible for folk and land. The scene is followed by one of the most memorable in cinematic history, as Arthur and his knights ride through the land reborn into blossom to the uplifting sounds of Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna”.

The scene is one of many memorable ones in the film. Certainly, one of the reasons they are made memorable is the use of singular bright colours that carry symbolic weight. The green glow of Nature shows her Pagan power, particularly when Arthur first draws the sword and spends the night in the forest with Merlin, but also when Lancelot and Guinevere give into their passions and meet in the forest. One must inevitably mention the eponymous sword, for the blade itself, “forged when the world was new”, glows green. The knights’ armour also change colour from dull charcoal to shining silver, as the Dark Ages give way to Arthur’s civilized yet too ordered Renaissance, although one notes Arthur often dispenses with armour over time, as he retreats into passivity. One notes the first knight to wear silver armour is Lancelot, who will be both the hero and downfall of this Renaissance. Then there is the blue of power, whenever magic is used or symbolised, particularly in relation to Merlin, and so on.

Yet for all this, the film received mixed reviews from the critics. This is largely because critics of the time all hailed from the same middle-brow liberal clique. The film critic Roger Ebert, while praising the cinematography, simply did not understand the film because they have no grounding in their own culture. Ebert criticised the characterisation in particular and could not understand why Morgana could trick the great Merlin into imprisonment. If he had bothered to read Arthurian legend, Merlin is powerful and wise when it comes to aiding the realm, but has extreme personal frailties. Had Ebert read Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and paid more attention to the film, he would have realised Merlin is infatuated with Morgana. In Idylls, it is Vivien rather than Morgana, but in Excalibur, many of the characters have been condensed from several in the cannon, the most notable being Perceval, who also takes on the roles of Galahad and Bedivere. Tennyson has Merlin imprisoned in an oak tree, but the story is almost the same:

She blamed herself for telling hearsay tales:
She shook from fear, and for her fault she wept
Of petulancy; she called him lord and liege,
Her seer, her bard, her silver star of eve,
Her God, her Merlin, the one passionate love
Of her whole life; and ever overhead
Bellowed the tempest, and the rotten branch
Snapt in the rushing of the river-rain
Above them; and in change of glare and gloom
Her eyes and neck glittering went and came;
Till now the storm, its burst of passion spent,
Moaning and calling out of other lands,
Had left the ravaged woodland yet once more
To peace; and what should not have been had been,
For Merlin, overtalked and overworn,
Had yielded, told her all the charm, and slept.

Then, in one moment, she put forth the charm
Of woven paces and of waving hands,
And in the hollow oak he lay as dead,
And lost to life and use and name and fame.

Then crying “I have made his glory mine,”
And shrieking out “O fool!” the harlot leapt
Adown the forest, and the thicket closed
Behind her, and the forest echoed “fool.”

Ebert states that the characters are “not heroes but giants run amok.” This is the perspective of the liberal bourgeois. The film is so alien to Ebert and his clique because it is utterly illiberal. It is simultaneously highbrow and populist and, for a full understanding, relies on a knowledge of European culture beyond bourgeois parameters. It is a film that explores the eternal truths that the True Right represents, for, as Merlin so rightly says when asked what the greatest quality of knighthood is:

“Truth. That’s it. Yes. It must be truth. Above all. When a man lies, he murders some part of the world. You should know that.”

 

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