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The Adventures of Robin Hood

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Starring: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland
Director: Michael Curtiz
Rated: NR
RunTime: 102 Minutes
Release Date: February 1938
Genres: Action, Classic, Romance

*Also starring: Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Herbert Mundin, Una O'Connor, Melville Cooper

Review by Brian Koller
2½ stars out of 4

One of the first technicolor spectaculars, "The Adventures of Robin Hood" was an enormous commercial and critical success. The sets, costumes and cast were the best that Warner Brothers could provide. There was only one problem: in a successful attempt to provide family entertainment, the characters were simplified and even became cartoonish.

The cast was excellent. Swashbuckler Errol Flynn was perfect for the role of Robin Hood. Dashing, chivalric and energetic, Flynn set an impossible standard for future actors to live up to. Claude Rains made a creepy, scheming Prince John, while Basil Rathbone, courageous but diabolical, was a fine villain. Finally, Olivia De Havilland was up to the role of Maid Marian; young, lovely and able to switch gracefully between imperious royalty and willing love interest.

Well, you know the story. Good King Richard of England (Ian Hunter) is captured during the Crusades and held for ransom. Prince John takes over and becomes a brutal tax-hungry despot. Sir Guy and the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper) are his henchmen. Sir Robin of Locksley turns bandit to fight the oppressors, becoming Robin Hood.

Robin quickly gains colorful sidekicks which include Little John (Alan Hale) and Friar Tuck (Popeye-voiced Eugene Pallette). Maid Marian, initially disdainful of Robin, is soon converted to his side. Prince John doesn't stand a chance, but uses treachery in the form of an archery contest to even the odds.

It's all in good fun, and for the family as well, since most all of the inevitable violence occurs off-camera. Still, the characters except for Robin Hood and Prince John are lacking in depth. There's adventure, for sure, but little room for character exploration.

Copyright 1997 Brian Koller

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