Article 2835 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-10-2009
Posting Date: 5-18-2009
Directed by Spencer Gordon Bennet
Featuring George Reeves, Nelson Leigh, William Fawcett
When the sword Excalibur is stolen under the nose of Galahad (who seeks to become a knight of the round table), he must recover the sword to prove both his worth and his innocence.
This serial has enormous novelty value. It stars TV's first Superman, George Reeves, as the title character, and his performance adds a lot of charm to the proceedings. It's also nice to see a serial touching upon new territory; King Arthur movies are nothing new, but this is the only serial I know of on the subject. I also like the fact that the magical characters actually use magic; William Fawcett in particular seems to be having a lot of fun with his magical hand gestures. Another advantage is that the Arthurian settings means the serial can't rely on the tired "bail out" cliffhangers so common to the form; in fact, the movie can only dredge up one of that ilk here. This compensates somewhat for the fact that, despite all the novelty value, it really is just a rehash of common serial elements in different clothing. Also, you may not want to pay too close attention to the story, which is a mess; just try to figure out why Merlin does what he does half of the time. I actually had the most fun trying to see how far the movie would stray from the typical King Arthur legends; you won't be fooled by the serial's attempts to try to paint Merlin as a villain (at first), and if you can't figure out the identity of the black knight long before the serial is over, you don't know your King Arthur. Still, it would have been fun to see Paul Frees behind the mask; after all, he provides the black knight's voice.