Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1952)
** (out of 4)
Made-for-TV version of the classic Mark Twain story is from "Studio One in Hollywood" and features a fine cast but they can't save the end result. After a knock on the head, Hank Morgan (Thomas Mitchell) is sent back in time and finds himself dealing with King Arthur (Boris Karloff) who at first is disturbed by this man but soon the two end up on a mission together. I had heard quite a bit about this TV movie but sadly the end results really weren't as good as I was hoping for. The attractive cast deliver fine performances but there are just way too many weak ends and these are what really keep the film from working. I'll start off with the negative stuff and we can begin with the story. The spirit of Twain's novel is certainly here but it just never comes across as being any good. It really does seem like they took some interesting ideas but left more interesting things in the book. Another problem is the actual production, which just looks extremely cheap even for this type of production. Just take a look at the sets and it almost seems as if the actors are doing a rehearsal on the sets that aren't yet finished. At times it's hard to tell whether you're in Arthur's time or the present. Even though this runs a short 60-minutes the running time almost feels twice as long as the direction really isn't all that impressive and there's never any good rhythm going on. The one thing that does keep the movie somewhat watchable are the performances. I found Mitchell to be going over-the-top a bit too much but this actually gives the film a spark of life. Karloff easily steals the film in his fun-natured performance and I'd guess that it will be mainly his fans who get the most pleasure out of this version of the story.
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