A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a 1949 American Technicolor musical comedy film directed by Tay Garnett and starring Bing Crosby, Rhonda Fleming, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and William Bendix.
Based on the 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain, the film is about a mechanic in 1912 who bumps his head and finds himself in Arthurian Britain in AD 528, where he is befriended by a knight and gains power by judicious use of technology. When he falls in love with the King's niece, her fiancé Sir Lancelot takes exception, and when he meddles in the politics of the kingdom, trouble ensues.
Filmed from October to December 1947, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was released on April 22, 1949 and distributed by Paramount Pictures. The film was a popular success and became one of the highlight films of 1949.
Hank Martin (Bing Crosby), an American mechanic, is knocked out and wakes up in the land of King Arthur. Here he finds romance with Alisande la Carteloise (Rhonda Fleming) and friendship with Sir Sagramore (William Bendix).
Unfortunately, the heroic Hank also incurs the hatred of both Merlin (Murvyn Vye) and Morgan le Fay (Virginia Field). While Hank persuades King Arthur (Cedric Hardwicke), an aged, semi-perpetual, cold-in-the-nose invalid, to tour his kingdom in disguise to see the true, wretched condition of his subjects, Merlin and Morgan plot to usurp his throne. When Hank tries to stop them, he is returned to his own time.
Heartsick over losing the woman he loves, he goes on a tour of a British castle. Its owner, Lord Pendragon (Hardwicke again), sends him to see his niece, who looks just like Alisande.Bing Crosby as Hank Martin/Sir Boss
Rhonda Fleming as Alisande la Carteloise
Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Lord Pendragon/King Arthur
William Bendix as Sir Sagramore
Murvyn Vye as Merlin
Virginia Field as Morgan le Fay
Joseph Vitale as Sir Logris
Henry Wilcoxon as Sir Lancelot
Richard Webb as Sir Galahad
Alan Napier as High Executioner
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court was one of the highlight films of 1949. The critics were generally complimentary with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times saying on April 8, 1949: "The solid, reliable humors of Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” which have already done yeoman service in two films and a Broadway musical show, have been given another going over—with eminently satisfactory results—in Paramount’s new film of the same title, which came to the Music Hall yesterday. And for this we can thank Bing Crosby, primarily and above all, because it is Bing in the role of the Yankee who gives this film its particular charm...But it is still Bing’s delightful personality, his mild surprises and sweet serenities, and his casual way of handling dialogue that makes this burlesque a success. No one in current operation could qualify, we are sure, to play the Connecticut Yankee the way the old Groaner does.
Variety was not quite so enthusiastic. "Picture wears the easy casualness that’s a Crosby trademark, goes about its entertaining at a leisurely pace, and generally comes off satisfactorily. It’s not high comedy and there’s little swashbuckling."
In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Fantasy Films list.