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A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

Year - 1949
Studio - Paramount
Stars - Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, William Bendix, Cedric Hardwicke
Director - Tay Garnett
Writing Credits - Mark Twain (novel), Edmund Beloin (screenplay)
Music - Victor Young (score), Jimmy Van Heusen (songs)

Synopsis

Hank Martin (Bing Crosby), from America, visits an old castle in England, and claims to have personal knowledge of the court of King Arthur. He is taken to the castle owner, to whom he relates his experience from 1912 when, as a village blacksmith in Connecticut, he rode a runaway horse and struck his head on a tree branch, knocking him unconscious.

He awakes in England in the year 528 A.D., and is captured by Sir Sagramore (William Bendix) and taken to King Arthur (Cedric Hardwicke). By demonstrating his "magic powers", with matches in his possession, he is seen as a wizard more powerful than Merlin (Murvyn Vye).

Hank is allowed to set up his own blacksmith business in the kingdom.

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court poster

Hank is captivated by the beautiful Alisande La Carteloise (Rhonda Fleming), and she is fascinated by this strange visitor. But she is betrothed to Sir Lancelot (Henry Wilcoxon) who challenges Hank to a jousting contest. By resorting to some cowboy lasso stunts, Hank is able to defeat the legendary knight.

He learns that many of Arthur's subjects do not respect the king, because of how they are treated by his knights, and he suggests that the king travel, in disguise, to see this for himself. Arthur, Hank and Sir Sagramore travel on foot throughout the countryside, but are arrested by the vengeful Merlin and imprisoned. Attempting to rescue them, Alisande is taken into custody by Merlin.

As they stand in line to be beheaded, Hank reads in his pocket Farmer's Almanac that a solar eclipse is about to occur. With this knowledge, he announces to the crowd that, unless he and the other prisoners are freed, he will blot out the sun. The eclipse happens on schedule, and the frightened captors agree to his terms.

Spoilers - Click to Reveal

Hank goes to rescue Alisande and, as he's untying her, Merlin charges towards them on his horse. Hank shoots Merlin with a gun he had built in his blacksmith shop (where did he get gunpowder?) but is, himself, knocked unconscious in the struggle, and awakens in the present.

Hank finishes his story, prepares to leave the castle, and encounters the castle owner's granddaughter (Rhonda Fleming) who is identical in appearance to Alisande and, somehow, feels an affinity for him as well.