The Adventures of Robin Hood

Directed by Michael Curtiz
William Keighley
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Written by Norman Reilly Raine
Seton I. Miller
Starring Errol Flynn
Olivia de Havilland
Basil Rathbone
Claude Rains
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cinematography Tony Gaudio
Sol Polito
Editing by Ralph Dawson
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release date(s) May 14, 1938
Running time 102 minutes
Country United States

Out of all the films that I have watched this month The Adventures Of Robin Hood would have to have been the most fun. It is a terrific film, the kind that are rarely made in Hollywood any more. The last really fun film that I can remember Hollywood making would have to be the first Pirates Of The Caribbean film, and like that film it is not just the viewers having all the fun, you can tell that the actors enjoyed themselves too.

Of the actors Tasmania’s own Errol Flynn provides an iconic performance as Robin Hood. When people think of Sir Robin of Locksley the only actor who comes to mind is Errol Flynn, even though there have been several adaptions of the Robin Hood story, proving that this is indeed the definitive version. It is so good to hear Flynn’s distinctive Aussie twang, especially as this was made at a time when most Australians who were performing in Australian films were trying to sound anything but Australian. It would not be until the 1970s that Australian films would embrace their own Australian-ness and stop trying to be British, which makes Flynn’s performance so much more ahead of its time. Later this year Russel Crowe will have his work cut out for him in matching Flynn’s performance when he dons the green tights to play Robin.

For every great hero you need a great villain for him to match wits with. We have that here in the treacherous Sir Guy of Gisbourne, as played by Basil Rathbone. Guy is cunning and will do anything to get Robin, who not only eluded him but humiliated him in one of the films great scenes also. Rathbone of course memorably played the nemesis to Flynn here and in the equally iconic Captain Blood as well. Rathbone also played the sword weilding swshbuckling villain in a number of other Hollywood productions, always coming off second best.

There are a couple of other things that I like about the film too. Una O’Connor appears in a bit role as Bess, but this is really just the same kooky character that she had earlier played in films such as Frankenstein, Bride Of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. She always provides a little bit of comic relief when she appears on screen but thankfully she is a little more restrained here. I also enjoyed the Academy Award winning score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold greatly.

This was a film that I greatly enjoyed watching. As I said it was a lot of fun, the kind of film that I wish Hollywood would till make.

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