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The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)


Errol Flynn
Olivia de Havilland
Basil Rathbone

Directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley

Before seeing the movie, I saw a clip from it and was worried the movie would not live up to the hype that follows it from my view. Then I saw the movie and still I cannot understand the hype that seems to follow this movie. The movie was not funny, the adventures were stretched over not a well-constructed subplot and the Robin character was an over confident brat.

There must be something else about this movie that people praise because I look at the characters and the plot and to be honest I do not like this film and wonder why some say it was the best adaptation.
I have seen many adaptations of this British folklore hero, and I even believe Mel Brooks 1993 Men in Tights was better than this. but there have been only two Robin Hood adaptations that matter from my view. One being Disney’s 1973 animation Robin Hood and the best of the them all the BBC 1984 series, Robin of Sherwood. It combined an amazing set design with real-life history, 20th century fiction, and pagan who can forget the use of witchcraft and magic.

This movie may have lacked the deep adult content of BBC’s Robin of Sherwood but it lacked more in its story telling, below is the plot.

Richard the Lionheart was being held captive by Leopold V of Austria while he was returning from the Holy Land. Richard’s treacherous brother Prince John takes the throne and proceeds to oppress the people raising their taxes to secure his own position. Taking all the gold the people have with the claim of trying to pay the ransom for his brother King Richard.

One man started an uprising against Prince John, the man named Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn). Robin later became known by the people as Robin Hood. He pulled to himself many other outlaws and outcast to form for himself his merry men. Robin and his crew only had one main objective, to take from Prince John and give it to the starving people.

His stealing and ruining of the Prince John’s plans became a problem for the Prince and his cohorts that they were ready to do anything to catch him. The love interest Lady Marian came to be when she was being escorted by Sir Guy of Gisborne (Basil Rathbone) and they were ambushed by Robin.

One thing I looked forward to in this movie was Basil Rathbone showing us some masterful swordsmanship. Rathbone is one of the best swordsman in the acting business and it was he who taught Errol Flynn. So their final battle was the only thing in this movie that mattered to me, and that only was an additional two points. It was done with masterful cinematography, at one time only their shadows could be seen battling. If not for that battle I will have given this movie a two over ten.

At the time of its release it was Warner Bros most expensive movie and their most expensive color movie project. The movie that same year went ahead to win three Academy Awards for, Best Art Direction, Best Original Score and Best Film Editing.
I stand my ground in saying I do not understand why people rated this movie all so well.


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