Way Back When... 1931
Published 12:00 am, Sunday, April 8, 2018
“A Connecticut Yankee” film based on a novel by Mark Twain, directed by David Butler, starring Will Rogers was released April 6 of 1931.
It was directed by David Butler to a script by William M. Conselman, Owen Davis, and Jack Moffitt. It was produced by Fox Film Corporation (later 20th Century Fox), who had earlier produced the 1921 silent adaptation of the novel, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” “A Connecticut Yankee” is the first sound film adaptation of Twain’s novel.
As in “The Wizard of Oz,” many of the actors in the film play more than one role, a character in the real world and one in the dream world. The film stars Will Rogers as Hank Martin, an American accidental time traveler who finds himself in Camelot back in the days of King Arthur (William Farnum, a Fox star for many years). Myrna Loy and Brandon Hurst play the evil Morgan le Fay and Merlin, who must be overcome by Hank’s modern technical knowledge, while Maureen O’Sullivan plays Alisande.
Fox was likely inspired to produce “A Connecticut Yankee” based on the success of the 1921 silent film. The 1931 version was likewise successful and was re-released in 1936. It is unrelated to the 1927 musical also titled A Connecticut Yankee.
The hero’s name was changed from Hank Morgan to Hank Martin, possibly because the original name sounded too similar to that of actor Frank Morgan.
The year “A Connecticut Yankee,” a film based on a novel by Mark Twain, was released.
A trailer for the film exists at the Library of Congress.