Tuesday, February 23, 2010

114. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Running Time: 102 minutes
Directed By: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
Written By: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller
Main Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Sr.


I actually had no idea going into "The Adventures of Robin Hood" that it was a color film. I just always assumed, that due to it's age, it was presented, as most pictures were in the 1930's, in black & white. However, the color aspect of this film only adds to the greatness that it produces,
as I can't imagine seeing Errol Flynn don the Robin Hood garb and having to imagine it's green color.

When King Richard the Lionheart is captured by Leopold of Austria, his wily brother, Prince John takes over as presiding figure of England. He proceeds to oppress the Saxon people and raise their taxes, telling them that the raise is for King Richard's ransom, but actually not using it for such purposes. Finally, one man has seen enough oppression and decides to take a stand for the Saxon people. That man is Robin, Earl of Locksley a.k.a. Robin Hood. Robin starts by facing Prince John face to face, going to his castle during a large dinner party and crashing it. What proceeds is an exciting scene of escapism, as Robin takes on all comers and gets out of the castle, with his head still promptly on his shoulders, mostly due to his keen archery skills. Prior to being ambushed, Robin informs Prince John that he'll do everything in his power to see King Richard restored to his throne and that Richard is the only King he'll ever bow to.

After the escape, Robin decides that he needs to gather some allies, first recruiting a skilled staffsman and later, Friar Tuck, a skilled swordsman. Eventually Robin's band of merry Saxon's grow to a sizable number and they're able to take down a large party of Norman's on their way back to the castle with the "ransom" money. They take off with the loot and Maid Marian. When they throw a big feast with some of the money they stole and nourish the previously starving Saxons, Maid Marian and Robin take some time to get acquainted and the flame begins to take shape between the two. When Prince John has had enough, he and his court scheme up a plan to trap Robin. They hold an archery tournament, knowing that such a skilled archer as Robin won't be able to resist, especially when he learns that the grand prize will be a solid gold arrow, presented by the gorgeous Maid Marian. Robin, realizing the trap, but thinking that he's smarter than the Norman court, goes to the archer's tournament, wins it, but ends up being held captive in Prince John's chambers. However, that's not the end for a green donning hero, and the climax that follows is sure to put you on the edge of your seat.

Errol Flynn was a great action star, as he was really believable as someone who could pull off all of these daring feats and stunts. When watching this, I really allowed myself to be totally encapsulated by the magic that was being produced and in the scene where Robin is captured, you really want to believe that he'll get away and that he'll continue to raise hell and fight for the underdogs. If you allow yourself to get caught up in the film, then it's a real letdown when he doesn't escape and he's thrown into the dungeon where criminals are held. There were so many exciting and gripping scenes going on here: the scene near the beginning where Robin faces off with Prince John and makes a daring escape, the scene where Robin and his merry men ambush the Normans and take the gold marks, the archers tournament and the climax, it's all fantastic stuff and some of the choreography for the sword fights is right on par with anything today, be it, Pirates of the Caribbean or Lord of the Rings. Bottom line is that I had a whole lot of fun watching Robin run roughshod over the Normans and the ghastly villains of Nottingham.

RATING: 8/10 Errol Flynn is quickly becoming another favorite of mine, as is Michael Curtiz, a favorite director.

NEXT UP: Angles with Dirty Faces...Well that's a gangster title, if I ever heard one...Nothing else is set to arrive until Wednesday boys and girls, so I'll be back then with a set of reviews for 'ya.

February 23, 2010 3:27am

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