Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Overlooked TV: The Adventures of Sir Lancelot


I've been watching this series on DVD, and it's good, wholesome fun. Since I still have this Big Little Book from  when I was a kid, I most likely watched it then too, but I don't really remember. What I do remember is this snappy theme song. Click arrow to play:

Sir Lancelot Theme


Produced in England by Saphire films, the series premiered in 1956 and ran 30 episodes. In the U.S., it was shown on NBC, and rerun on ABC. The final 14 episodes were in color. The DVD set below contains the complete series.

According to IMDb, Saphire films was allegedly funded by the American Communist Party, and the producer hired blacklisted American writers to provide scripts under carefully guarded pseudonyms. At the time Sir Lancelot was on the air, they were also producing The Adventures of Robin Hood (with Richard Greene) and The Buccaneers (with Robert Shaw). The shows made use of the same pool of actors, so if you've seen all three (like me), there are many familiar faces.


This show has plusses and minuses. On the plus side, the castles are cool, as are the costumes. There are some good actors here, most of them better than star William Russell, who is a bit too fresh-faced and righteous to be believable (There is, for example, no hint of any untoward interest in Guinevere). Most of the stories are pretty good. Far more entertaining than another series I've been watching lately - The Green Hornet.

On the minus side, the sword fights are pretty tepid affairs. The swords are flimsy, and the actors pull their strokes, probably for fear of breaking the blades. And the budget doesn't allow too many bodies. So when King Arthur leads his army to storm a castle, the army consists of four knights, while there are rarely more than three defenders on the castle walls.

But make no mistake, this set was well worth my time and money. Overlook it at your peril.


Overlooked Films (and other Audio and Video productions) is hosted each Tuesday by Todd Mason. Check Sweet Freedom for links to the rest of today's posts.

(click to enlarge)

10 comments:

Todd Mason said...

I remember the ROBIN HOOD series fondly from 1970s syndicated repeats...I might've just caught a bit of THE BUCCANEERS...but I missed this one altogether, I think. With that consanguinity, I can certainly believe it has strong upsides. (There hadn't been a better tv Robin Hood, at least, afaic, and relatively few better cinema versions.)

Deka Black said...

William Russell!!! he played one of the very first companions of Doctor Who, Ian Chesterton! I LOVE him!

Sorry for the fanboy rush. But his perfomance in Doctor Who is one of the things what hook me to the show.

Have to be nice to see more of is work...

Deka Black said...

I forgot: To a European like me, sometimes to see castles insome films is... i say this: Is always better to use a true castle, if is possible.
Just in the place where i live we have a humongous one. You see, is everyday stuff to me ;)

Evan Lewis said...

Though I saw that first season of Dr. Who, I can't remember any of His companions. I could easily imagine Russell being good in it, though.

Cap'n Bob said...

I remember watching this as a kid, but can't recall anything about it.

Richard R. said...

I liked the Richard Greene ROBIN HOOD a lot when it was on, but I have no memory (which, of course, means nothing these days) of this one. So same as Todd, I guess.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I loved Robin Hood too but doubt I ever saw this one. I wonder if the production values on RH were as cheesy as other series I revisit.

Charles Gramlich said...

Never heard of this one.

Cap'n Bob said...

I've had a chance to watch the old Robin Hood shows recently. They were lighter on action than I remembered but entertaining. Production values were modest, but Maid Marian (Glenda O'Farrell) was a stunner. There was another actress who played Marian, too, and she was attractive, but I liked O'Farrell best.

Paul D. Brazill said...

I used to watch it. Richard green was Robin Hood, Roger Moore was Ivanhoe but I can't rmemeber who played William Tell?