• Susan Aronstein
Part of the Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures book series (SACC)


On July 7, 2004 Touchstone Pictures launched Jerry Bruckheimer’s King Arthur, a film that promotional posters promised would reveal “the truth behind the myth.” In this promise, Bruckheimer’s film set itself against a long line of films featuring the once and future king; at the same time it continued a tradition stretching back to the earliest days of filmmaking, when “perhaps the most profound and complex resource of the cinemaits ability to give viewers access to events that happened when they were not there”combined with popular interest in the Arthurian materials to inspire filmmakers to return to the days of Camelot.1 From Edison to Bruckheimer, Hollywood has offered audiences a chance to relive the Arthurian past. Cinema Arthuriana, a term coined by Kevin J. Harty in 1987, includes a diverse cross section of films-American and European, popular and art-and covers the gamut of Arthurian subjects-the rise and fall of the Round Table, the adulterous love-triangles of Lancelot, Arthur, and Guenevere and Tristan, Mark, and Isolde, medieval and modern Grail Quests, the exploits of a Connecticut Yankee.2 This book’s main focus is a subset of these films-mostly mainstream products of industry studios or directors, aimed at a popular audience-that can be classified as Arthurian chronicles, set in the Middle Ages and recounting the rise and fall of the Round Table, or chivalric romances, set in either the past or the present, and using the structures of medieval Arthurian romance to tell the tale of a boy’s coming-of-age as a knight.3


Round Table Popular Interest American Popular Culture Mainstream Product Male Hero 
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© Susan Aronstein 2005

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  • Susan Aronstein

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