The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Warner Bros.

Cast: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains.

Rating: G.

Run time: 102 mins

Genre: Action . . . with drama, a dash of romance and knockabout comedy. It's got it all!

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

One of the classic films of Hollywood's "Golden Age", The Adventures of Robin Hood looks better than ever and the remastered Technicolor picture is a delight.

More importantly, the movie still holds up and remains the best version of many big screen romps through the Robin Hood legend (the 13th century English outlaw who supposedly stole from England's rich to give to the poor).

With a twinkle in his eye and a spring in his step, matinee idol Errol Flynn made the Robin Hood role his own and no one has come close to matching his performance. For a start, Flynn was in peak physical condition when the movie was made, tall, muscular and dominating every scene.

And Flynn had a classic villain to play off - Basil Rathbone at his most devious as Sir Guy of Gisbourne, the treacherous aristocrat trying to help the equally nasty Prince John (Claude Rains) steal the English throne while King Richard (Ian Hunter) is away at war.

Gisbourne and Robin Hood share one thing only - they both desire the ravishing Lady Marian (Olivia de Havilland.

The basic story has Prince John's followers treating their English peasants cruelly, raising taxes and flogging or executing those who dare oppose them. Tiring of the maltreatment, Robin of Loxley (Flynn) forms an army loyal to King Richard, making the dense Sherwood Forest his base. Their aim is to protect ordinary folk while making sure Prince John does not become king.

Packed with action, including exciting battles and sword play, the movie is expertly directed by Michael Curtiz, whose credits include another classic, Casablanca. One more thing, composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold provided a brilliant musical score that adds much to the film - the opening march of the merry men for example makes you want to jump out of your chair!

Warner Bros. does a great job with a 2-disc edition of this classic packed with extra features on the making of the movie.



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