Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reliving the Adventures of Robin Hood

As delighted as I was this morning to check my Netflix queue and find out that The Other Boleyn Girl would be arriving in my mailbox this week,my thoughts were going towards finding the answer to this question,"what other historical fiction films do I like?".

The first one that popped up on the horizon was The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn,Basil Rathbone,Olivia de Havilland, and Claude Rains. Quite the superstar cast of it's day.

While the legend of Robin Hood has been made into countless film and television versions,the 1938 movie is still the standard bearer here. It's just as entertaining as any big summer action movie and a huge part of the film's charm comes from Flynn. Say what you will about the man's personal life,on screen he defines charisma to a T. One of the best scenes in TAORH is Robin's first big entrance,as he crashes the dinner party of traitorous Prince John,bringing his own entree. He definitely makes his presence and politics known:

The chemistry between all of the actors,whether they are for or against one another,crackles with life throughout the film and enriches the storyline immensely. In less talented hands,the dialogue and plot points could easily sound and appear to be hokey or campy but everyone plays their part and speaks their lines as straight and true as the arrows Robin shoots.

The best example of such chemistry is the budding romance between Robin and Maid Marian,of course,and despite the lady's protests,it is hard to resist a man who knows how to make a grand entrance as casually as can be:

But the camaraderie doesn't stop there;the fellas play off of each other very well. While Flynn is the centerpiece of the film,he generously gives and takes in each scene with his fellow actors,not hogging the key moments and even seem to be enjoying a couple of humbling bits,such as the recruitment of Friar Tuck:

A major reason to see this movie,if you haven't yet,or to get someone else to do so is the final duel between Robin and Sir Guy of Gisbourne(Basil Rathbone). If you think you know swordplay in movies,you haven't unless you've watched this film. Many directors and actors were inspired by the choreography of the fight scenes demonstrated thru the entire movie and this is a Top Ten sequence on anyone's list of cinematic duels:

So,while The Adventures of Robin Hood may not seem like the most likely pairing for a double feature with The Other Boleyn Girl,I intend to give them both a good viewing over the coming weekend. While there are a number of differences between the two of them(different time periods in English history,for one),it will be interesting to see which movie brings the best of the written source material to life.

The Adventures of Robin Hood is more of a variety pack,loosely based on many of the legends(best known in Howard Pyle's Merry Adventures of Robin Hood),with a bit of Ivanhoe tossed in along with an opera version for good measure. Nevertheless, it is a prime example of a literary character becoming a film icon for generations to come:

1 comment:

Ladytink_534 said...

I read the Robin Hood book when I was a kid and cried at the end but I've somehow never got around to watching this one. Loved the Kevin Costner one though.