We all love the Gabriel Byrne of today–the erudite man, the accomplished actor, the intriguing artist and activist, a little silver now, experienced and just a shade world-weary. Ah, but what was he like thirty years ago, as he contemplated his first important role in a major motion picture? Excalibur gives us a young Gabriel, full of energy and power and a muscular anger that pushes through each scene.
He commands the screen as Uther Pendragon, a role that is brief but pivotal, his almost raw physicality and urgent emotion a stark contrast to the subdued and eccentric Merlin. An auspicious beginning to a fascinating career, Gabriel’s work in this film also presages his future decisions to work with great directors on intriguing projects, whose themes seem sometimes obscure or esoteric. His work is always singled out in these films, however, and none is more deserving of notice than this first role in what is now considered a classic of sword and sorcery, John Boorman’s re-telling of the Arthurian legend.
Byrneholics’ very first Mega Movie Page provides a synopsis of the film, several videos, Gabriel’s own observations, quotes, reviews, one of Merlin’s spells, and screencaps. Tons of screencaps!
Enjoy your visit to the time of Uther, Merlin, and Arthur–and EXCALIBUR!
Lara & Stella