Aaaand we’re back! With a movie that I can happily admit that I love. The 1938 adaptation of the Robin Hood legend is a favorite of mine, second only to Disney’s delightful version with singing foxes. The Adventures of Robin Hood perfectly captures the spirt and message of the old Robin Hood tales: mischievous fun with an underlying hint of steely conviction.
It’s 1191, and while Richard the Lionheart (Ian Hunter) is crusading in the Holy Land, England is left at the mercy of his greedy brother, Prince John (Claude Rains). Under Prince John’s rule, the Saxon peasants are mercilessly taxed and abused. For salvation, they look to Robin Hood (Errol Flynn), a nobleman turned bandit who, as the legend goes, robs from the rich and gives to the poor. As Robin and his band of merry men fight against Prince John’s tyranny, they become the only hope of the oppressed peasantry.
I have been trying for two months (off and on) to find something more to say about this movie, but in the end it always comes down to this: I like it. I love it.
I’m always surprised when I see a Robin Hood movie or TV show done badly, or more specifically, when I see the character of Robin Hood himself done badly. A dashing hero, with charm and courage – how could you mess that up? Maybe I’m just too picky, but I don’t like my Robin Hood to preach too much, I don’t like him to be too silly. I want a balance right in between: I want the hero with the prankster’s spirit. You want to give him a darker side? Fine by me. But don’t forget – Robin Hood is funny.
And this movie? It’s funny. It’s heroic. It’s imbibed with the spirit of the old tales, and the script and acting, combined with gorgeous Technicolor, give the impression that the familiar legends have jumped right out of your favorite well-worn story book. Lords and ladies in colorful garments; charming scoundrels; thrilling combat. What could be more delightful?