Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)

Swashbuckling In Sherwood

- The story of Robin Hood is so familiar that all a Robin Hood film can do is tell the been-there-done-that story in a fun way, something that 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood does for the most part. The film holds up surprisingly well as a whole, though the first few minutes start the film off on the wrong foot, looking more like Mel Brooks' Robin Hood film only without the intentional comedy. However, the film does not stay that way, things pick up later on and the story becomes more entertaining.

The Adventures of Robin Hood definitely delivers great starring actors. Swashbuckling star Errol Flynn is the definitive Robin Hood, light on his toes, quick with a sword and carrying a boyish swagger. However, Olivia de Havilland shows the boys how things are done by giving the best performance in the film as Maid Marion. An exquisite beauty and packing her performance with plenty of wallop, de Havilland makes her scenes glow.

The Adventures of Robin Hood is not exactly a cinematic walk in the park; there are many aspects that do not carry over well from decade to decade. The film is extremely laughable in the area of humor (no, not in a good way), supporting performances and fight scenes. The film's attempts at humor might have worked back in the late 1930s, but generally bounces off the blank stares of today's viewer. Also, the vast majority of the supporting performances in the film come off as very cheesy and does absolutely nothing for the film's overall quality or enjoyment level. Much of the film's action is also lame - didn't anyone know that the point of a sword fight is to stab someone, not just to clink your swords together really fast? The only gratifying things about the action scenes are that Flynn does most of his own stunts and padded stuntmen are actually being shot with arrows.

Still, The Adventures of Robin Hood does have a handful of feel good moments of adventure and romance. Add two great leading performances and you have a generally fun film in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

CBC Rating: 7/10

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