A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949)

Article #1498 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-21-2005
Posting Date: 9-18-2005
Directed by Tay Garnett
Featuring Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, Cedric Hardwicke

A mechanic of the twentieth century suffers an accident that sends him back to the time of King Arthur.

Mark Twain’s novel was basically considered a satire, and was at times darkly cynical. There’s not much of that here, but then, given that Bing Crosby is the star, I didn’t expect it would be; I expected a light-hearted musical comedy, and that’s what it is. Oddly enough, it does get a little dark at times; at one point, Crosby’s character visits a poor peasant family who just lost their father to the plague. Though this event causes the character to hatch a scheme to take King Arthur out into the real world disguised as a peasant so he can see the suffering and injustice of the world, the movie immediately undercuts the idea by having our disguised friends sing a cheery, happy song about the joys of being free and without responsibility. The music is merely okay, but the comedy is quite good on occasion; there’s a scene where Sir Sagramore (William Bendix) plays around with a gun without the slightest idea of its danger that is rather enjoyable. All in all, it’s watchable, enjoyable and forgettable, though in all honesty, I must admit that Rhonda Fleming is stunningly beautiful here. Still, I find it impossible to believe that she could effectively disguise herself as a young boy as she does at one point in the proceedings.

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