The Spaceman and King Arthur (1979)

aka The Spaceman in King Arthur’s Court, Unidentified Flying Oddball
Article 3492 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-1-2011
Posting Date: 3-7-2011
Directed by Russ Mayberry
Featuring Dennis Dugan, Jim Dale, Ron Moody
Country: UK
What it is: Shopping cart movie, British style

A young inventor gets caught inside an experimental rocket, and ends up being hurtled through time to end up in the days of King Arthur.

This doesn’t feel like your typical Disney “shopping cart” movie, but I’ve noticed that their British movies do have a different feel about them. I find a copy of this one on YouTube, but I must admit that the copy is pretty wretched. This may have affected my feeling that the movie itself is one of the weakest ones of its type; it feels tired, forced and obvious, and, were it not for some curious historical humor from a certain Sir Winston and a sight gag inspired by falling dominoes, I wouldn’t have laughed once. The presence of Ron Moody as Merlin and Kenneth More as King Arthur adds a bit of fun, but Dennis Dugan is one of the least memorable of Disney’s comic leads. This wasn’t the last of the shopping cart movies (at least one of the Herbie movies came after it), but it was awfully close to the end of that cycle, which had kicked off in the late fifties, hit its peak in the early sixties, and then went into a long decline. And if you want a King Arthur comedy, I’d suggest you hunt for one that came from Monty Python.


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