A young Frank Schaffner teamed up with the TV writer Alan Saplinsey to compress Mark Twain's classic farce into a fast-paced, over-reaching TV movie. The film is primarily interesting because it unintentionally captures the feeling of live TV and is a great example of a typical TV teleplay. It's not quite a TV movie, bur more of a 'bare essentials' presentation, with a script that bears a striking resemblance to a radio-play.
The Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain's real name) story transports a modern man from New England back a millennium and a half into the time of Arthur and Camelot. Culture-shock is just the tip of the ice burg. Often-copied and adapted, Connecticut Yankee is a classic 19th century farce.
Tom Mitchell's fast-talking performance feels like a dress rehearsal, and the cinematography and sets appear halfway thought-out and half-built. Overall - the production focuses on distilling the essence of the well-known Twain classic, not elaborating on it, or interpreting it. Some of the humor comes through, but little of the wisdom and real comedy. Given the budgetary and logistical constraints presentations such as this were produced with, it's passable, but not worth going out of your way to see.
Boris Karloff, Loretta Daye, Salem Ludwig and the rest of the supporting cast are quite enjoyable. Mitchell's lead performance lacks lustre and feels a little over-bearing at times.
Recommended for those interested in TV history, and Karloff fans.
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