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

104 or 106-107 mins | Musical comedy | 22 April 1949

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HISTORY

The film's title card reads: "Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ." Twain's novel was adapted by Herbert Fields into a Broadway musical which opened on 3 Nov 1927, with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Although Paramount purchased the rights to this musical and other treatments based on Twain's novel, the play was not used as a basis for this film. Writers Arthur Horman, Jack Moffitt, Graham Baker, N. Richard Nash and William Morrow worked on various treatments; however, information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library confirms that they did not contribute to the final film.
       Patric Knowles was considered for the role of "Lancelot." According to a Par News item, the jousting tournament scene was shot at the Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA, and Charles J. A. Miller, an authority on the Middle Ages, was hired to make sure the jousting was authentic. Par News also reported in mid-Nov 1947 that thirty acres of grassy woodland in Sherwood Forest, CA, was being painted with vegetable dye to change it from a fall yellow to a spring green for the king's walking tour scenes. Information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that castle exteriors were shot on location at Laguna Beach, CA.
       Earlier film versions of Twain's story include the 1920 Fox-Mark Twain Co. film A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court , directed by Emmett J. Flynn and starring Harry Myers (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0780); and the 1931 Fox film A Connecticut Yankee , directed by David Butler and starring Will Rogers ... More Less

The film's title card reads: "Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court ." Twain's novel was adapted by Herbert Fields into a Broadway musical which opened on 3 Nov 1927, with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Although Paramount purchased the rights to this musical and other treatments based on Twain's novel, the play was not used as a basis for this film. Writers Arthur Horman, Jack Moffitt, Graham Baker, N. Richard Nash and William Morrow worked on various treatments; however, information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library confirms that they did not contribute to the final film.
       Patric Knowles was considered for the role of "Lancelot." According to a Par News item, the jousting tournament scene was shot at the Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA, and Charles J. A. Miller, an authority on the Middle Ages, was hired to make sure the jousting was authentic. Par News also reported in mid-Nov 1947 that thirty acres of grassy woodland in Sherwood Forest, CA, was being painted with vegetable dye to change it from a fall yellow to a spring green for the king's walking tour scenes. Information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals that castle exteriors were shot on location at Laguna Beach, CA.
       Earlier film versions of Twain's story include the 1920 Fox-Mark Twain Co. film A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court , directed by Emmett J. Flynn and starring Harry Myers (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20 ; F1.0780); and the 1931 Fox film A Connecticut Yankee , directed by David Butler and starring Will Rogers (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ; F3.0801). In addition, Walt Disney Pictures released Unidentified Flying Oddball in 1979, based upon Twain's novel, directed by Russ Mayberry, A Kid in King Arthur's Court in 1995, directed by Michael Gottlieb and starring Thomas Ian Nicholas and Joss Ackland, and a 1998 made-for-television movie entitled A Knight in Camelot , starring Whoopi Goldberg. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
26 Feb 1949.
---
Daily Variety
21 Feb 49
p. 3, 10
Film Daily
24 Feb 49
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Oct 47
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
24 Oct 47
p. 16.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Dec 47
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Feb 49
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
26 Feb 49
p. 4513.
New York Times
8 Apr 49
p. 31.
Variety
23 Feb 49
p. 10.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Alex Harford
Arthur Foster
Francis Morris
Frederic Worlock
Timmie Hawkins
Jimmie Hawkins
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Contr on spec seq
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Asst cam
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
Men's ward
Ward
Ward
MUSIC
Mus score
Spec orch arr
Mus assoc
VISUAL EFFECTS
Special photog eff
Special photog eff
Special photog eff
DANCE
Dance supv
Dance dir
Dance asst
Dance asst
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hair
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting dir
Prod mgr
Asst prod mgr
Dial coach
Scr supv
Props asst
Mike grip
Stage eng
Stock supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
Technicolor tech
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain (New York, 1889).
AUTHOR
SONGS
"Once and for Always," "If You Stub Your Toe on the Moon," "When Is Sometime," "Busy Doing Nothing" and "Twixt Myself and Me," music by James Van Heusen, lyrics by Johnny Burke.
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 April 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 7 April 1949
Production Date:
20 October--29 December 1947
Added scenes and retakes: 18 December 1947, 16 January--21 January 1948, 24 January 1948, 10 September 1948
Copyright Claimant:
Paramount Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 April 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2265
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
104 or 106-107
Length(in feet):
9,712
Country:
United States
PCA No:
12767
SYNOPSIS

In England in 1912, Hank Martin, an American blacksmith, visits the Pendragon castle and tells Lord Pendragon, who is laid up with a head cold, the story of how he fell in love with Alisande La Carteloise, whose portrait hangs on the castle wall. Years earlier, in Connecticut, Hank is knocked out in a storm and wakes in the year 528 A.D. He is immediately seized by a dim-witted knight named Sagramore and brought before the aging King Arthur of Camelot, who has a head cold. Sagramore accuses Hank of possessing demonic powers, and Merlin, the king's wicked sorcerer, orders him killed, although Alisande, the king's beautiful niece, pleads with her uncle to spare the handsome stranger's life. Hank escapes being burned at the stake by focusing the crystal from his pocket watch on the sun, thus starting a fire that ignites Merlin's robe. Believing that Hank has supernatural powers, the king grants him the terms of their surrender: That Sagramore be made Hank's squire; that Hank be given a humble blacksmith's shop; and that the king host a ball in his honor. Hank is dubbed "Sir Boss," and at the ball, he and Alisande fall in love, as he teaches her to wink. She is betrothed to Sir Lancelot, however, who is a brave warrior and knight of the round table. Lancelot returns to Camelot and challenges Hank to a duel; the winner will marry Alisande. Hank uses his little horse Tex and a lasso to defeat Lancelot, but Alisande is furious at him for humiliating Lancelot and refuses to marry him. At his blacksmith's shop, Hank builds a pistol and ... +


In England in 1912, Hank Martin, an American blacksmith, visits the Pendragon castle and tells Lord Pendragon, who is laid up with a head cold, the story of how he fell in love with Alisande La Carteloise, whose portrait hangs on the castle wall. Years earlier, in Connecticut, Hank is knocked out in a storm and wakes in the year 528 A.D. He is immediately seized by a dim-witted knight named Sagramore and brought before the aging King Arthur of Camelot, who has a head cold. Sagramore accuses Hank of possessing demonic powers, and Merlin, the king's wicked sorcerer, orders him killed, although Alisande, the king's beautiful niece, pleads with her uncle to spare the handsome stranger's life. Hank escapes being burned at the stake by focusing the crystal from his pocket watch on the sun, thus starting a fire that ignites Merlin's robe. Believing that Hank has supernatural powers, the king grants him the terms of their surrender: That Sagramore be made Hank's squire; that Hank be given a humble blacksmith's shop; and that the king host a ball in his honor. Hank is dubbed "Sir Boss," and at the ball, he and Alisande fall in love, as he teaches her to wink. She is betrothed to Sir Lancelot, however, who is a brave warrior and knight of the round table. Lancelot returns to Camelot and challenges Hank to a duel; the winner will marry Alisande. Hank uses his little horse Tex and a lasso to defeat Lancelot, but Alisande is furious at him for humiliating Lancelot and refuses to marry him. At his blacksmith's shop, Hank builds a pistol and is visited by a young peasant girl who says her father is dying of the plague. By the time Hank arrives, the man is dead. The mother then explains that her two sons have been imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. Hank convinces the king to take a tour of his country disguised as a simple yeoman so that he may see the true suffering of his people. While he is away, Merlin, Morgan Le Fay, the king's wicked niece, and the evil Sir Logris plot to usurp the throne. Sagramore, Hank and the king are kidnapped and sold into slavery to Merlin. Alisande arrives to save them, but is herself jailed. After Sagramore kills a guard, Alisande, Hank and the king are sentenced to death for Sagramore's crime. Alisande gives her amulet to Hank and pledges her eternal love. Just before they are to die by the chopping block, Hank predicts a solar eclipse after consulting his copy of The Farmer's Almanac , and when the sky goes black, they escape. Hank races to Merlin's tower to save Alisande and shoots a guard. Back in the present, Lord Pendragon tells Hank to go down to the castle balcony. There he finds Alisande, Lord Pendragon's niece, who winks at him. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.