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Gawain and the Green Knight (1973)



Reviews and Comments

This loose adaptation of the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a second rate production with third rate acting, but darned if it doesn't establish a curiously intriguing sort of atmosphere, if one is in the proper mood to appreciate it. Unlike most quest stories, this is one has no clear goals and certainly no clear sense of direction or progress.

As the story goes, Gawain accepts a challenge by a Green Knight, which is that the Green Knight will give Gawain a free, undefended stroke at his neck with an axe, provided the Green Knight may deliver the same in return, should he be able to do so afterward. All is not as it appears, of course, and Gawain winds up having exactly one year to live his life and perhaps try to save himself. During that year, he runs across a number of characters that appear and disappear and several dominions that seem unbound by geography and unpolluted by population.

The film ultimately doesn't work, but it does create an evocative, dreamlike sense that I sort of appreciated.

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