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The Adventures of Robin Hood
1938 - PG - 102 Mins.
Director: Michael Curtiz
Producer: Hall B Wallis
Written By: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton Miller
Starring: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains
Review by: Joe Jarvis
   
As of writing, 'Spider-Man 2', this year’s action-hero movie is racing through the box office and is being called by some to be a modern classic. Sixty-six years earlier, however, came the original, acclaimed and probably most clunky-titled action-hero movie of all time, “The Adventures of Robin Hood”.

The film is based on the classic legends about Sir Robin of Locksley which all of us know at least a little by now. Prince John and his Norman aristocrat pals starve the poor Saxon villagers of Nottingham claiming they’re paying for King Richard the Lion-heart’s ransom when they’re actually not really! Now it’s up to Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men to stop the wicked aristocrats and to help the poor.

The film goes on giving the usual Robin Hood elements such as the "robbing the rich" and archery contest incidents as well as what can be considered the definitive Robin Hood cast, with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland as Robin and Marion. Flynn is super posh and equally dashing and brave, and de Havilland is the perfect glamorous princess. Basil Rathbone (as Sir Guy) and Claude Rains (as Prince John) make the perfect moustache-twirling villains -- though slightly wooden to a modern audience, they're convincing as totally wicked creations.

The film contains some fight scenes that hold up well even today. The climax is very well choreographed and the sword fight scene between Robin and one of the baddies (I think it was Sir Guy) in shadow is simply breathtaking as it has a dark, moody and exciting feel to it.

I bought this film on DVD yesterday, as it was reduced in HMV, and I can safely recommend it. The picture looks great and the colours look very sharp (a good thing since “The Adventures of Robin Hood” is a rather colourful film) and you can even watch the film in the atmosphere of an evening at the movies in 1938, watching extended shorts, trailers etc before you actually watch the film. I didn’t choose this option, as I didn’t know it existed until after I’d seen the film, although I did watch the cartoon available on the option.

There’s a bit of violence, but I personally don’t think it’s too much of a no-no for children, as it isn’t really gory and it’s not too distressing. “The Adventures of Robin Hood” is a fun film that has stood the test of time well and is a great film for fans of the Robin Hood legend and a good film for diverting your mind off something (I was worried about my exam results coming in two weeks and watching this film this morning made me feel better).

 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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