This is an examination of the various uses of the Arthurian legend in Hollywood film, covering films from the 1920s to the present. The authors use five representational categories: intertextual collage (or cult film); melodrama, which focuses on the love triangle; conservative propaganda, pervasive during the Cold War; the Hollywood epic; and the postmodern quest, which commonly employs the grail portion of the legend. Arguing that filmmakers rely on the audience's rudimentary familiarity with the legend, the authors show that only certain features of the legend are activated at any particular time. This fascinatihg study shows us how the legend has been adapted and how through the popular medium of Hollywood films, the Arthurian legend has survived and flourished.
REBECCA A. UMLAND is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Iowa and has published widely on Arthurian literature. SAMUEL J. UMLAND is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He has published articles on the teaching of literature, film, and film theory. He is editor of Philip K. Dick: Contemporary Critical Interpretations (Greenwood, 1995).