Friday, May 30, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Fridays 11

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The Adventures of Robin Hood
(dir. Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, 1938)
Warner Bros
Synopsis: “Durr, don’t you worry, never fear, Robin Hood shall soon be here. He robs from the rich and he gives to the poor. Yo ho, we go skipping tra la through Sherwood Forest, helpin’ the needy and the oppressed.”

This is kind of a cop-out. I know Erroll “my wicked, wicked, ways” Flynn played Robin Hood. I know he’s one of the great swashbuckling actors of all time (along with guys like Basil Rathbone [who’s also in this movie] and Douglas Fairbanks.) I know this is going to be good. There’s even the clip of Bugs Bunny meeting him in the cartoons:

(near the end)


But I’ve never seen The Adventures Robin Hood. My familiarity with the Robin Hood story is rooted in:

The Disney Robin Hood cartoon


Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
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Robin Hood Daffy


And, of course:

Robin Hood: Men in Tights
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I have to ask you a few questions:
1) Do you like swordfights?
2) Do you like witty banter?
frankly, 3) Do you like good adventure movies?

To play devil’s advocate, you know the plot. This is all very CHC, and the Robin Hood myth is very much part of the common parlance. There’s a lot of intertitles, which comes out of being only a recent addition to the world of sound and color (1938,) the silent film techniques were still in very strong practice. But, still, a lot.

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That being said, this film is beautiful lit, shot, and designed.

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Also, Robin Hood is a stone. Cold. Badass. When defending a hunter who shot a king’s deer in the first scene, Robin lifts his bow at point blank range and threatens the Sheriff of Nottingham with an arrow to the face. Its hard to properly explain how cool I’ve decided Robin Hood is. Were I five years old, I would feel inclined to run around in green unitards. This movie is a lot of fun. I would try to characterize it as more than just a series of awesome swordfights. It’s actually just a great, fun, movie. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching.

If you want to see one of the best fight scenes in film history (or in my top 10,) this is the classic. Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, swordfighting, spiral staircase, watch it, now:


A-.

3 comments:

Keith said...

I loooooooove this movie. It's just so damn fun. But I've got to say: it's not forgotten! You crazy!

But I'm glad you saw it... everybody should.

Son of Double Feature said...

Something had to clear my aestheic pallet after my upcoming review of "Sherlock: Undercover Dog."

Also, for the average person (i.e. the people at a Halloween party I went to in High School who didn't know thought my Groucho Marx costume was either Charlie Chaplin or Hitler,) this kind of film really is a forgotten classic.

elgringo said...

This is such a gorgeous film. I watched it when SFSU sent me a list of movies I should have seen before entering the MA program. Did you get that list? It was like 500+ films.

This was on there so I thought I'd check it out because I always knew people who loved it. It surprised me because it was another Robin Hood home run.

Can you make a bad movie about Robin Hood? You listed quite a few of my childhood standbys here and I guess I never realized how many great Robin Hood movies there were.

Also, I was Charlie Chaplin when I was 12. For Halloween, I mean. That's rad that you were Groucho Marx!