A Connecticut Yankee (1931) Will Rogers, William Farnum
Director: David Butler
Co-stars: Frank Albertson, Maureen O'Sullivan, Myrna Loy
95 minutes, Black and White
DVD-R: Region ALL
This Mark Twain adaptation affords a rare opportunity to enjoy a "collaboration" between two of America's greatest humorists. Will Rogers plays the operator of a tiny radio repair shop, who is called to an old mansion to replace a battery on a dark and stormy night. Here Will meets a scientist (William Farnum) who thinks he can contact King Arthur by radio, a sinister butler (Brandon Hurst), a pair of young lovers who've been forbidden to see one another, and a seductive femme fatale (Myrna Loy). Suffering a blow on the head, Rogers wakes up in 9th-century Camelot. "Could you please tell me where the helleth I am?" Rogers remarks when captured by Sir Sagramor (Brandon Hurst); condemned to burn at the stake as a "sorcerer," Rogers saves himself by pretending to conjure up a solar eclipse. Dubbed Sir Boss, Rogers brings 20th-century mechanization to Camelot, taking time out for long, ad-libbed ramblings about the state of the world in 1931. Sir Boss' new friend King Arthur (William Farnum) is being undermined by Morgan le Fey (Myrna Loy) and Merlin (Brandon Hurst). After finding out that Clarence is his own ancestor, Rogers races against time to keep Clarence alive and get him married to Melisande (Maureen O'Sullivan). The last-minute ride to the rescue finds King Arthur's knights commandeering Model Ts, tanks and autogiros Connecticut Yankee predates Wizard of Oz by having the characters in Camelot and the residents of the modern-day mansion played by the same actors. In the original prints, Rogers' face was tinted red after receiving a kiss from Myrna Loy; this cute sight gag has been restored by computer to the videocassette version.