EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, THE (directors: Michael Curtiz/William Keighley; screenwriters: Norman Reilly Raine/Seton I. Miller; cinematographers: Tony Gaudio/Sol Polito; editor: Ralph Dawson; music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold; cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Alan Hale (Little John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Ian Hunter (King Richard), Melville Cooper (Sheriff of Nottingham), Una O'Connor (Bess), Herbert Mundin (Much); Runtime: 102; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hal B. Wallis; Warner Home Entertainment; 1938)|
|"One of the best
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Codirectors Michael Curtiz ("Casablanca") and
William Keighley ("The Fighting 69th") direct one of
the best swashbucklers ever. The original director,
Keighley, was replaced by Curtiz because he was
taking too long to finish the pic--causing budget
problems. The screenplay is by Norman Reilly Raine and
Seton I. Miller, based on the Robin Hood legend that's
set in 12th-century
England. Errol Flynn is at the top
of his game, dashing, handsome and athletic, as this
might be his best role ever. Eric Wolfgang Korngold'
score is rousing and memorable. The color photography
is lush and easy on the eyes. It follows the silent 1922
version that starred Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and uses
different action scenes to avoid a law suit over
copyrights owned by Fairbanks.
Richard the Lion-Heart (Ian Hunter), who
left England to fight in the Crusades, returns to
Europe, he's taken captive and held for ransom in
Austria. Which prompts his evil brother, the Norman
Prince John (Claude
Rains), to unlawfully seize control
of the kingdom. The unscrupulous John pretends to
collect high taxes from the Saxons for his brother,
but instead plans on using it to build an army to
retain the throne for himself. His enforcers are Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil
Rathbone) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville
Cooper), who begin a reign of terror on the Saxons
that sees them tortured, killed, oppressed and their
homes destroyed. Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn)
protects the poor Saxons and in turn becomes a wanted
outlaw, who goes by the name of Robin Hood. Together
with his Merry Pranksters of Sherwood Forest, Robin
leads the revolt against Prince John and is helped by
commoners Will Scarlett (Patric Knowles),
Little John (Alan Hale) and Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette).
Robin also woos the Norman beauty Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland),
who sees for herself that he sincerely cares about
justice and falls in love with the outlaw. Marian aids
Robin when he's captured in a trap set by Prince John
at an archery contest, as she tells Robin's men where
he's imprisoned so they can free him from the gallows.
King Richard is released when the ransom is paid by Robin's men and asks Robin to help him unseat his evil brother from the throne. It leads to the climactic attack by Robin's men at the sneering John's coronation, as the attackers appear from under monks' robes to surprise John's knights. It ends with a spectacular sword fight between Gisbourne and Robin, and the restoration of Richard to his rightful throne. John is banished and Robin and Marian have Richard's permission to marry.
Makes for a great escapist Saturday matinee feature, which was the popular time slot back in the day for such an adventure story.
REVIEWED ON 7/27/2010 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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