TFTMM on… A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court (1949)

Time for a bit of time traveling, with the movie A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court (based on the Mark Twain story), starring Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, William Bendix and Sir Cedric Hardwicke.

In 1905, blacksmith Hank Martin (Bing Crosby) is trying to return a horse to his owner during a storm, and is knocked out by a tree.  When he wakes up, he finds himself in Camelot, circa 528 A.D.  Found by Sir Sagramore Le Desirous (“Saggy”) (William Bendix), he is then condemned to be burned to death.  Performing a miracle, he is knighted by King Arthur (Sir Cedric Hardwicke), becoming “Sir Boss.”  At a ball, he meets one of King Arthur’s nieces, the Lady Alisande (Rhonda Fleming), and falls in love with her, even though she is engaged to Sir Lancelot.  Hank jousts with Sir Lancelot, winning his own way, but “Sandy” goes back to Lancelot.  Hank gets the king and Saggy to join him on a trip through the kingdom so that King Arthur can learn what his people really think of him.  As this is probably getting to be a little too much, I’ll just leave it there, and suggest you watch the movie!

I’ll admit, this movie is a little harder to recommend because of one reason: it is based on a well-known story.  How anybody reacts to this movie will depend on how they feel about the original story.  I have read the original story, as well as the Wishbone version of it (and I know that dates me just a little), and my conclusion on this movie is that it feels like the writers used the main concept from the story, a few specific events (some moved around in the story), a few character name, and wrote a story that was built around Bing’s screen persona, and the usual type of musical he would do.  Now, for me, that works, and I enjoy the movie far better than the original story (and for those young enough to still write book reports, I wouldn’t suggest watching this movie to help you write a book report, because you would get A LOT wrong)!

There are many wonderful things about this movie, though.  One wonderful (and hilarious) scene is at the ball, when Hank is introduced to the lords and ladies of the court.  He sees the old-style dancing and the music, and decides to make some changes.  Once he gets the musicians to start a new tune, he then starts to dance with Sandy in a more “modern” ballroom style.  At first, everyone else is incensed, until the king sees that it looks like fun as well, and then everybody joins in!  It always cracks me up, and is well worth watching the movie for!

The music is enjoyable as well.  The main standouts are the romantic tune, “Once And For Always” and the comedy song “Busy Doing Nothing.”  Just, as a whole, I do enjoy this movie and recommend it very much (at least, to those who can live with the movie not being a strict interpretation of the story)!

The movie is available on DVD from Universal, and is about one hour, forty-seven minutes in length.

My Rating: 9/10

Audience Rating:


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