Tuesday, March 9, 2010

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

Year 2, Day 68 - 3/9/10 - Movie #433

BEFORE: Enough dallying around in pre-history - let's time-travel away from Mayans and Spanish Conquistadors to the land of medieval knights, with this classic Bing Crosby film based on a Mark Twain story. I've already seen "Timeline", but I nabbed this one off of TCM to go on the same DVD as a sort of companion piece.

THE PLOT: A singing mechanic from 1912 finds himself in Arthurian Britain.

AFTER: This is one of the original time-travel stories, back in the day when all you had to do was fall and hit your head, and soon you'd be in Arthurian times (or the land of Oz, if you were a chick...)

I'm not going to sell this one short, it seems kind of influential, since Der Bingle's teaching the medieval lute + fife players how to make swing music reminded me of Marty McFly turning Marvin Berry's band on to "Johnny B. Goode" in "Back to the Future".

Hank Martin (Crosby) is a blacksmith from 1912 sent back to 6th century Camelot, and after using a magnifying glass to set fire to things and prove himself to be a powerful sorcerer, he becomes a knight (with a blacksmith business on the side?) and starts hitting on Sir Lancelot's girlfriend by singing her some corny songs.

Fortunately for Hank, the people of the Dark Ages are fascinated by simple household items like safety pins and kitchen matches, and all of the knights are either braggarts or buffoons. So he's able to use a rodeo lasso during a joust, and build a working pistol in his forge, timestream be damned.

And he's fortunate enough to have an almanac with him, which forecasts a certain astrological phenomenon and saves him from being executed once again. And in the kind of coincidence that I've come to appreciate, it's the exact same phenomenon that saved Jaguar Paw last night in "Apocalypto", now how about that!

But this film does show signs of wear - after all, it was filmed over 60 years ago. Seems in need of an update...

RATING: 4 out of 10 anvils

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