The Adventures of Robin Hood
Release year: 1938
Director: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
Screenwriter: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller
Starring: Erroll Flynn, Olivia de Havillan, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Eugene Pallette, Patric Knowles, Alan Hale, une O’Connor
Ratings: 3 Oscars: Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score. 1 Oscar nomination: Best Picture.
When Prince John (Rains) starts oppressing the Saxons in the absence of King Richard (Ian Hunter) Sir Robin of Locksley (Flynn) stands up to fight for the poor.
The legend of Robin Hood, the noble thief who stole from Rebeccathe rich and gave to the poor, is a well-known story among young and old alike. In this classic it is told with charm, suspense and a whole lot of adventure and the elegant, handsome and great swashbuckler Flynn (Captain Blood, 1935) is a perfect fit for the tight-wearing hero. The sets are colourful and impressive, whether it is the Sherwood forest where Robin lives with his merry men or the castle. Rains’s (The Invisible Man, 1933) Prince John is despicable and Rathbone (Terror by Night, 1946) takes the arrogance of his most known character, Sherlock Holmes, to good use as the mean Sir Guy of Gisbourne. The two of them are the main villains while Melville Cooper’s (Rebecca, 1940) Sheriff of Nottingham is reduced to a scaredy-cat. On the otherside Hale (It Happened One Night, 1934) and Pallette (Heaven Can Wait, 1943) are the most noticeable of the merry men and merry they are. Every scene with Robin and his men sizzles with positive energy and laughter is constantly in the air. Even when fighting for their lives, this is clearly men who knows the worth of their fight and prefer it to the alternative. Havillan (Gone With the Wind, 1939) is a perfect blend of sweetness and strength as Maid Marian and watching her slowly won over to Robin’s side is one of the best part of the movie with the two sharing great chemistry. That and off course the excellent sword fights throughout the movie. A true adventure as they just don’t seem to make them anymore.
Olivia de Havillan and Erroll Flynn starred together in eight movies. This, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), Four’s a Crowd (1938), Dodge City (1939), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Santa Fe Trial (1940), They Died with Their Boots On (1941) and Captain Blood (1935) where Basil Rathbone also starred.
The sound of Robin Hood’s arrow is one of the favourite sounds of sound designer Ben Burtt who used it in almost all Star Wars movies.
Howard Hill, who is listed in the credits as “Captain of Archers”, also played “Elwyn the Welshman” in the archery contest. Hill actually made the shot where we see one arrow split another and he did all the shots which required hitting human targets. He also worked closely with the sound department to produce the distinctive arrow sounds by using specially made arrows.
Picture copyrights: Warner Home Video