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KING ARTHUR Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2004

2.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Frank Thompson is an author, filmmaker, and film historian with a lifelong interest in the Alamo. Among his previous twenty books are two on the subject: The Alamo: A Cultural History and Alamo Movies. He has also written many articles on the Alamo for publications ranging from Texas Monthly magazine to The Philadelphia Inquirer. As an Alamo authority, Thompson has appeared in the television documentaries The Alamo (the History Channel, 1996) and History vs. Hollywood: The Alamo (History Channel, 2001). As a producer, he prepared the current video releases of Martyrs of the Alamo (1915), With Davy Crockett at the Fall of the Alamo (1926), Heroes of the Alamo (1937), and The Alamo: Shrine of Texas Liberty (1938). For the latter film Thompson also wrote, produced, and narrated a documentary, The Alamo: Shrine of Texas Liberty . . . Lost and Found (2000).

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786890835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786890835
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,838,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Frank Thompson is a filmmaker, comedy writer and film historian, the author of 38 books.

His most recent television work includes "Southern Fried Stings" (truTV, 2010), "High School Reunion" (TV Land, 2009), "Stringers: LA" (Tru TV, 2008-2009), "Party Heat" (Tru TV, 2008-2009), "Dance Machine" (ABC, 2008), "Speeders" (Court TV, 2007) and "Bandits vs. Smokies" (CMT, 2007). He wrote and directed a special for American Movie Classics: "The Great Christmas Movies" (1998). Other television credits include "The Bachelor: Paris" (ABC, 2006), "Blind Date" (1999-2003), "The Fifth Wheel" (2003), "Fast Food Films" (FX, 1998-99) "Reel Wild Cinema" (USA Network, 1996 - 1997), "Hollywood Babylon" (syndicated, 1992) and others.

He has written hundreds of introductory scripts for American Movie Classics hosts Cher, Alec Baldwin, Jodie Foster, Winona Ryder, Billy Bob Thornton, Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Stefanie Powers, Morgan Fairchild, Phyllis Diller, Brendan Fraser, Shirley Jones, Ali MacGraw, Kirsten Dunst, Lesley-Anne Down, Patrick Wayne, Lesley Ann Warren, Sean Young and many others.

He wrote and co-produced "Frank Capra: A Personal Remembrance" (VidAmerica, 1992), and "The Making of 'It's a Wonderful Life'" (Republic Pictures, 1991), both of which appear on the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of "It's a Wonderful Life."

Thompson has contributed to several film encyclopedia and has written for magazines such as American Cinematographer, American Film, Film Comment, The Big Frame, The Hollywood Reporter, The Disney Channel Magazine, Sight and Sound, Tower Pulse! and Texas Monthly.

He has also written for many newspapers, notably The Atlanta Journal & Constitution, The Miami Herald, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, The San Antonio Express News.

He served as Guest Curator for a major museum exhibit called "Hollywood Comes to South Carolina: A Century of Filmmaking in the Palmetto State" which ran from January through October, 2008 at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia SC. This was a follow-up to his exhibit "Texas Movies" which ran in 2005 at the Bob Bullock State History Museum in Austin, Texas.

In 2004 he had a cameo appearance in "The Alamo" and also wrote two books that tied in with the film: "The Alamo: A Novel" (2004, Hyperion) and "The Alamo: The Illustrated Story of the Epic Film" (2004, Newmarket).

He has written and/or produced several videos and have contributed audio commentary to more than a dozen classic films, notably "Wild Boys of the Road" (1933), "The Time of Their Lives" (1946), "McLintock!" (1963), "Hondo" (1953) and "Track of the Cat" (1954).

And he appears onscreen in many documentaries, most recently on the Blu-Ray release of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (2009).

Frank Thompson lives in North Hollywood, California with his wife Claire McCulloch and their dogs Maggie and Jake.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
You don't usually expect much from a film script novelization, but it's years since I read anything as lame and clunkily-written as this. (The film script wasn't all that dazzling, but the book is much worse.)

The author can't be blamed for the historical absurdities of the general story; after all, he had to stick more or less to what was in the film, which - however it may have been puffed as "The Real Story" - was, historically and archaeologically speaking, complete tripe (fun, but tripe). But the book adds new daftnesses all of its own. Characters who weren't named in the script of the film are given the most bizarre names in the book. You have a Sarmatian tribesman called Lansdowne (an English place name of Saxon origin), a renegade British scout called Geoffrey (a medieval Norman name), and two Picts called Harold (a Saxon name) and Arrian (a famous Roman historian!) Even if the author couldn't be bothered to look up any real Sarmatian, Celtic or Pictish names, at least he could have made up some that didn't blatantly belong to a different race or period of history.

But what really put the tin lid on it for me was the bit where Guinevere eats potatoes, only a thousand years or so before Sir Walter Raleigh and the conquistadores first brought potatoes to Europe from America....
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I cannot vouch if this book accurately reflects the movie because I have not yet seen the movie. What I can say is that this book can stand on its own as a gripping read that holds your interest. I normally do not read novelizations of films but I bought this one on a whim- and I am glad that I did. The author does a remarkable job of writing battle and action scenes in an exciting and believable manner. Plus, I finished this entire three-hundred and fifty page book in a single weekend without once being tempted to set it aside out of boredom- that is a mark of an excellently written piece of historical adventure fiction.

The premise that Arthur and his knights were Sarmatian is interesting. Sarmations (from the Black Sea- Caucasus region) did serve in Roman Albion- and around the Wall. Nor is the idea that Romans would uproot a people and place them on a hostile frontier thousands of miles from their home ridiculous- it was common imperial policy. However, there are some questionable historical inaccuracies- if I am not mistaken, Mt. Baden is far to the south where it strategically protects Cornwall and Wales (the traditional area associated with Arthur.) Plus, the Legions left around 407 C.E.- and the Battle of Mt. Baden occurred about 500 A.D. There is also the little fact that the Saxons were INVITED in by the Romanized Britons to REPLACE the withdrawn Legions. In spite of all this I still found the story to be readable and interesting. After all- research DOES place Merlin in the north- perhaps he was a spiritual/war leader of the "Picts"...

I'm not saying that this movie is exactly anti-Catholic, but the Church is portrayed as the enemy of free will and the chief promoter of serfdom in the coming Dark Age.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel, adapted from the 2004 screenplay by Frank Thompson, disappoints initially in its bland and awkward wording, but no matter how inept the adaptation the novel will prove itself hard to put down. It's an easy read, describing in detail the exploits of Arthur, Gawain, Galahad, Bors, Tristran, Lancelot, Dagonet, Guinevere, and the host of characters who find themselves at or saved by their mercy. It's exciting, ultimately satisfying, and while it lacks suspense, the action will keep you wide-eyed and engrossed.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Wow. Considering that I forked over 10 damn bucks for this thing, I am SERIOUSLY disappointed with the book, King Arthur. I bought it after seeing the trailer for the new movie, which will doubtless be amazing with its steller cast and crew, since I like to read books before I see the movies, because they are usually better. Not in this case. Although I haven't seen the movie yet, ANYTHING they put out will doubtless be better.
This book has very little going for it. The only reason it has ANYTHING going for it at all is because it is about King Arthur, and anyone reading it will start to fill in the stuff it lacks with other bits and pieces of the legends they've picked up elsewhere.
The characters are completely two dimensional. The author gives us absolutely no reason to want to like these characters. In fact, I end up hating them. They're rude, brash, arrogant, and just plain mean.
Frank Thompson does what every grade school English teacher will tell you to avoid at all costs- instead of telling us things by showing us (ie, learning about a character because of the way he interacts with others, etc.) Thompson shows us by telling us about it (simply inserts statements about characters). I felt like I was reading a screenplay rather than a novel. The book's basic structure is, okay, first this happens, and then there's this, and then this... This makes it difficult to get any sort of rhythm with this novel, because you are never able to connect with any of the characters, see what makes them tick, or find a reason to like them.
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