johnlink ranks THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)

This is in the top five of my embarrassing list. Partly because I wanted to see it so bad, partly because it was a favorite of my favorite film professor, partly because I had told people I HAD seen it. But I finally rectified all of that. On a side note, I have even more respect for Cary Elwes’ portrayal of Robin Hood in MEN IN TIGHTS after seeing how he channeled Errol Flynn so wonderfully.

I watched THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938) on 11.17.10. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

My first thought about this film is that it is absolutely beautiful to look at. It’s amazing how good Technicolor looks, even from 1938. The film cost a then-astronomical $2 million to make, and it has aged well. As someone who watches his share of ‘silver screen’ pics, this is a great one to see. The swordfight at the end, with a section of it occurring in shadow on the wall is breathtaking (and, again, makes the gag in MEN IN TIGHTS even funnier to me).

But none of that would matter if the film itself was no good. Fortunately, it is great. The DNA of this film lives on in recruitment action flicks like OCEAN’S 11, in team action like THE ROCK or in romantic comedy like… well any romantic comedy.

This ROBIN HOOD has shades of ROMEO AND JULIET as well. Marian, played by the beautiful Olivia de Havilland, doesn’t like the Saxon Robin, at first, and their love seems to be blocked by their allegiances. But they have their own wooing scene, their own balcony scene, and their own marriage at the end (though we don’t have to see them kill themselves, fortunately).

Another big surprise of this ROBIN HOOD is that Nottingham is not the villain. I always assumed that the amazing Basil Rathbone played the more famous Robin Hood nemesis. But he instead plays Sir Guy of Gisbourne. Nottingham, in this version, is a buffoon who fears confrontation.

But the star of this, of course, is Errol Flynn. He is the epitome of a hero. Funny, dashing, unafraid in the face of danger. He carries this film to heights that only the greatest of leading men do. This is Flynn’s showcase, and he doesn’t waste it. Though I’ve seen only a few of his performances (all fun), I have no doubt this is his quintessential role.

This was as entertaining and enjoyable as anything made by Hollywood in recent memory. I don’t give this high ratings on a curve in an attempt to artificially inflate numbers for older films (I have standards here!), this movie earns all it gets. Great, great fun. Really want to get this on BLU RAY. It looked great on non-HD TCM, and I can’t wait to watch it in HD.


FILM: 7; MOVIE: 10; ACTING: 6; WRITING: 8; BONUS: 1 (What is this?)

The bonus is for, predictably in my case, the swordfighting. In an era when the choreography was often uninspired, the duels in this film are magnificent!



~ by johnlink00 on November 17, 2010.

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