A Connecticut Yankee (1931)

Article #911 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 9-12-2003
Posting Date: 2-9-2004
Directed by David Butler
Featuring Will Rogers, William Farnum, Frank Albertson

A radio repairman finds himself in the times of King Arthur, and uses his knowledge of history and science to rise to power.

This Mark Twain novel was well-adapted to the persona of Will Rogers, whose talent seemed to be the ability to make satirical jabs that were cute, folksy, charming and palatable to an audience that really didn’t have a taste for satire, and when you think about it, that’s no small accomplishment. Most of the gags are of two sorts; Will Rogers’ observations on the events around him or the various anachronistic devices he creates to help King Arthur. On top of the general fantasy nature of the story, the movie actually has touches of horror and science fiction as well; the story really begins in a spooky house on a stormy night, and an inventor has created a machine that is able to hear sounds from the past; for a while, I found myself wondering if the machine would come into play in sending Rogers back to the Dark Ages (thus making it an early cinematic time machine), but it doesn’t pan out that way. Overall, it’s a very entertaining rendition of the story.

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