TV Series DVD

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Reviewed by Tom Ender

They really donít make them like this any more. The acting, the direction, the camera work, the color, the musical score and of course the story all work together to make this an excellent movie. The other version of the Robin Hood legend made into a movie, which I have pictured below is also very good, with a somewhat different take on the story but also excellent acting. However, the 1938 version was filmed in truly glorious Technicolor with actors who have since become legends.

Although there is a VHS version of this movie available, the special DVD edition has so many extra features (outtakes, documentaries on the movieís making, commentary, even two Warner Bros Robin Hood cartoons, one Bugs and one Daffy and many other features) that it is a real bargain. There is an extra DVD full of special items. The movie has one of the best casts ever assembled by Hollywood. From the ultimate swashbuckler: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), to the villainís villain of his era: Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), as well as Flynnís favorite female star opposite: Olivia de Haviland as Maid Marian, and Claude Rains as Prince John; the cast shines. The movie also has a fine supporting cast, including Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Alan Hale (Little John) and Una OíConnor as Maid Marianís servant.

To many people in the freedom movement the legend of Robin Hood has become a symbol opposite to what they believe. In popular parlance Robin Hood ďrobs from the rich and gives to the poor.Ē However, like Zorro and William Tell, Robin Hood, at least the figure in these movies, spends his time defending the productive working people against the depredations of the Stateís tax collectors and other oppressors. There is no one robbed by Robin and his merry men in The Adventures of Robin Hood who has actually made his money through honest work. I expect that most reading this know the legend of Robin Hood and I wonít recapitulate it all here. However, most of the smaller stories that make up the legend, from the meeting of Robin and Little John on a narrow bridge to the archery contest with the splitting of the arrow, are included in this movie.

Errol Flynn is at his best in this role and Robin offers plenty of opportunity for swashbuckling to the star of Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. Olivia de Haviland also gives one of her best performances as Robinís love Maid Marian. She was quite often cast opposite Flynn (e.g. in Captain Blood) and is not a stranger to a female rebel role (e.g. The Strawberry Blonde. Often excellent older films starring Errol Flynn or Olivia de Haviland are not yet available in DVD, but do exist in VHS versions (which often show as out of stock, but are not out of print) and are sometimes shown on Classic movie channels. They are usually well worth the viewing. The Adventures of Robin Hood is one of the best of these old movies.

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