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Adventures of Robin Hood, The

Director: Michael Curtiz


Generally regarded as one of the great adventure movies and a classic swashbuckler, The Adventures of Robin Hood is revived in a new print that does full justice to the splendours of its Technicolor images. This Hollywood interpretation of the old legend is entirely valid, since the Green Man of English folk mythology has always been something of a chameleon character upon whom contemporary culture imposes its own readings. It’s the mythical and romantic status of the Robin Hood figure that lends itself to the cinema. The character has been featured and redefined in at least 60 films and TV series, of which the 1922 Douglas Fairbanks incarnation and this Errol Flynn version are amongst the most notable.
The Adventures of Robin Hood was Flynn’s finest hour. Handsome, dashing and athletic, he was said to be everything that Robin Hood should be, with a wicked sense of humour to boot. The film’s portrayal of Robin corresponds to the basic parameters of the legend as modified in Victorian fiction (especially Sir Walter Scott’s novel Ivanhoe), with the added inflections as required by the conventions of the Hollywood adventure movie.
A lavish production in every sense, The Adventures of Robin Hood is a great example of what large studio resources could achieve. Glorious colour, sumptuous sets and expertly choreographed sword fights are just some of the movie’s outstanding qualities. The supporting cast of stars is also memorable, led by Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), the sly Claude Rains (Prince John) and the dastardly Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne). It’s significant that the movie was co-directed by Michael Curtiz, who also made Casablanca and was an expert at bringing out the best qualities of the classic Hollywood production system.

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