Though the Mark Twain original has been refashioned into a Bing Crosby vehicle, this 1949 musical adaptation of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a lot more faithful to the Twain original than either of the two previous film versions. Crosby plays Hank Martin, a turn-of-the-century American mechanic who is conked on the noggin and awakens in sixth-century England. Captured by dull-witted Sir Sagramore (William Bendix), Hank is marched into the court of King Arthur (Cedric Hardwicke), where he uses his machine-age ingenuity to win the title of "Sir Boss." Even while incurring the wrath of the duplicitous wizard Merlin (Murvyn Vye), Hank woos and wins the lovely lady-in-waiting Alisande (Rhonda Fleming). Shocked by the appalling living conditions of the British peasants, Hank insists that King Arthur travel amongst the people in disguise so that he can experience their misery first-hand, and thereby bring about social reforms. Merlin schemes to use this opportunity to overthrow the king, but Hank foils the wizard's plans by pretending to demonstrate magical powers during a total eclipse. As a last-ditch effort to rid the kingdom of Hank, Merlin kidnaps Alisande and lures "Sir Boss" to certain doom. This scurrilous scheme segues into a much happier ending than one will find in the Twain novel. The expected "time displacement" routines are freshly handled by Crosby and company, while the songs are melodious and perfectly suited to the situations at hand. The film's Technicolor photography is another major asset. By present-day standards, the only drawback to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is that it goes on too long; even so, it is infinitely preferable to the recent remakes that have spewed forth from the Disney studio. Songs include: "Twixt Myself and Me," "Busy Doing Nothing," "Once and for Always", "When is Sometime," and "If You Stub Your Toe on the Moon."
by Hal Erickson synopsis