Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

The Robin Hood Legend in Hollywood


speedracer5
 Share

Recommended Posts

A while back, on a rainy Oregon day (which granted, in Oregon, there are many), my sister and I watched all the various incarnations of Robin Hood to see aspects of the Robin Hood tale the filmmakers decided to utilize in their story.  While we didn't watch EVERY version of Robin Hood, we did watch quite a few:

 

-Rabbit Hood, Bugs Bunny cartoon

-Robin Hood Daffy, Daffy Duck Cartoon

-The Adventures of Robin Hood, Errol Flynn

-Robin Hood, Disney

-Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Kevin Costner's version

-Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Mel Brooks' take on the Robin Hood legend

 

We didn't have time to watch the Russell Crowe version.  I'm sure there are tons of other variations of the legend that have been produced.

 

Anyway.  What I gleaned from all these various takes on the Robin Hood legend was that there many different characters and different events which shape the overall Robin Hood tale.

 

Errol Flynn's 'Robin Hood' is definitely a more positive spin on the tale.  The gorgeous color, the beautiful costumes, the lush landscapes, this was more of the fantasy version of the story.  It's interesting that Sir Guy of Gisborne only exists in this version.  I am not sure if he's a real character in the Robin Hood legend, or whether Warner Brothers invented him for the film. 

 

Disney's take on Robin Hood was definitely goofy, but overall the story was similar to the legend presented in Flynn's version, except Prince John was made out to be a total doofus. 

 

Kevin Costner's version was a little ridiculous, but what was interesting was that the story started with an older Robin Hood returning to Sherwood Forest with Will Scarlet (I believe it was Scarlet, or it was Little John, can't remember) after The Crusades.  This was interesting because I hadn't heard of The Crusades as being part of the Robin Hood legend before.  It seemed that Costner was trying to make a little grittier take on the legend, but I found Costner completely lacking in the charisma that I always imagine Robin Hood having, because it seems like he would need it in order to have the entire population of Sherwood Forest follow him.  I will admit though, I loved Alan Rickman's take on the Sheriff of Nottingham.  He was like a rock star version.  This was the first Robin Hood where the Sheriff of Nottingham was a more developed character and the first one with a witch character.

 

Robin Hood: Men in Tights was obviously not a serious take on the legend, but was a combination of aspects from Flynn and Costner's versions.  This film is hilarious and I think Cary Elwes made a better Robin Hood than Costner. 

 

I thought it'd be fun to discuss all the different incarnations of the Robin Hood legend that were produced in Hollywood and how the story was interpreted in different ways.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) is a Rat Pack comedy about the Chicago gangster era.  It is quite fun and Frank evens ints "My Kind of Town" in it.

Oh yeah! I forgot about that one.  I really liked that movie.  It was my favorite of the Rat Pack movies.  At the time my sister and I had our Robin Hood marathon, I hadn't seen that one before, let alone owned it so that it could join our line up of DVDs and Blu-Rays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kevin Costner's version was a little ridiculous, but what was interesting was that the story started with an older Robin Hood returning to Sherwood Forest with Will Scarlet (I believe it was Scarlet, or it was Little John, can't remember) after The Crusades.  This was interesting because I hadn't heard of The Crusades as being part of the Robin Hood legend before. 

 

I believe it's used in Robin and Marian (1976), and while the word "Crusades" may not be mentioned in the Flynn version (I don't recall), it's implied that Richard was taken prisoner in Austria on his way back from them.

 

 
Robin Hood: Men in Tights was obviously not a serious take on the legend, but was a combination of aspects from Flynn and Costner's versions.  This film is hilarious and I think Cary Elwes made a better Robin Hood than Costner. 

 

RHMIT was an inferior rehash of Brooks mid  '70s sitcom When Things Were Rotten, with Dick Gautier (Hymie the robot on Get Smart) as Robin. WTWR deserves to remembered if only for its theme song, which contained this rousing tribute to the Merrie Men:

 

"They laughed, they loved, they fought, they drank,

They jumped a lot of fences,

They robbed the rich, gave to the poor

Except what they kept for expenses."

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may not remember correctly but when Flynn's Robin finally runs into King Richard isn't he wearing a Knights Templar shield? The Crusades aren't specifically mentioned though.

Actually, I think they are mentioned. When Flynn says that the king should have been doing his job in England, not fighting in foreign lands, doesn't the king say "what, you condemn Holy Crusades?"

 

No one has mentioned Richard Greene's take on Robin, in film and television.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From WIKIpedia:

 

The historicity of Robin Hood has been debated for centuries. Modern academic opinion maintains that the legend is based in part on a historical person, although there is considerable scholarly debate as to his actual identity. A difficulty with any such historical research is that "Robert" was in medieval England a very common given name, and "Robin" (or Robyn), was its very common diminutive, especially in the 13th century.[5] The surname "Hood" (or Hude or Hode etc.) was also fairly common because it referred either to a Hooder, who was a maker of hoods; or alternatively to somebody who wore a hood as a head-covering. Unsurprisingly, therefore, reference is made to a number of people called "Robert Hood" or "Robin Hood" in medieval records. Some of these individuals are even known to have fallen afoul of the law.

 

In light of THIS, any movie version of the legend is fair game as far as I'm concerned.

 

The ONLY thing I like about the Costner version is the LOOK of it.  The Flynn version while compelling and exciting to watch, seems a little "out of sorts" in that even in THOSE times, I don't think the "merry men" would be living in such pristine conditions, or look so well groomed.  But, Flynn's movie tells the story so well that you really don't care.  :)

 

 

Sepiatone

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

The Flynn version while compelling and exciting to watch, seems a little "out of sorts" in that even in THOSE times, I don't think the "merry men" would be living in such pristine conditions, or look so well groomed.  But, Flynn's movie tells the story so well that you really don't care.  :)

 

 

The Flynn version is a fairy tale, and doesn't pretend to be anything else. Having outlaws perfectly groomed and clean while living in a forest is perfectly consistent with the intention of this film, I think.

 

What is NOT consistent with a fairy tale, however, is that moment in the film in which a white car can be seen passing in a clearing in the background of Sherwood Forest. That was a fun little "oops" moment that the filmmakers hoped most viewers would not notice. (And, for the most part, they hoped correctly  - most viewers are concentrating on the action in the foreground so miss the brief moment when a little bit of the 20th Century can be seen invading a 12th Century forest).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One Robin Hood movie that I've never seen is Richard Lester's ROBIN AND MARIAN (1976) which stars Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as an older Robin Hood and Maid Marian. 

Lester made this movie around the time he was making other period pieces , most notably the Musketeers movies with Michael York as D'Artagnan.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One Robin Hood movie that I've never seen is Richard Lester's ROBIN AND MARIAN (1976) which stars Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as an older Robiin Hood and Maid Marian. 

Lester made this movie around the time he was making other period pieces , most notably the Musketeers movies with Michael York as D'Artagnan.

I watched that one after my Robin Hood a-thon and I found it very depressing.  But like was mentioned earlier in the thread, that one introduced the idea of Robin Hood leaving Sherwood Forest for awhile to fight in The Crusades.  Kevin Costner's 'Robin Hood' took the same idea as he and one of his cohorts also returns from The Crusades at the beginning of the film.  Sean Connery's Robin Hood is much older than both Flynn and Costner's.  Costner's Robin Hood is at least 10 years older than Flynn's. 

 

Maybe the Robin Hood story has Robin Hood defeating Prince John & co. and helping Richard reclaim his kingdom.  Then, perhaps after a few years when things have settled down, Robin Hood and King Richard head back to fight in The Crusades again?

 

Richard Kimbal is right, I do remember King Richard saying something about having been in The Crusades in The Adventures of Robin Hood

 

It also seems in the Robin Hood films, there is some uncertainty about how Robin and Marian meet.  In The Adventures of Robin Hood, it seems that Robin and Marian are meeting for the first time.  In the Disney version, Robin and Marian were childhood sweethearts but had drifted apart over the years.  In the Sean Connery/Audrey Hepburn version, I believe Robin Hood and Marian were married, but hadn't been together for years.  They're apart long enough for Marian to have become a nun.  In the Kevin Costner one, Costner promises his soon to be fallen comrade that he'll protect Marian, his comrade's sister.  She is also King Richard's cousin I believe.  The Sheriff of Nottingham then tries to blackmail Marian by saying that she has to marry him in order to save Robin Hood's men.  In the end though, they defeat the Sheriff and marry. 

 

The Sheriff of Nottingham character seems to be an integral villain in almost all of the Robin Hood stories, except for Flynn's The Adventures of Robin Hood.  In that version, the Sheriff is just a doofus who doesn't really factor much into the plot.  Sir Guy of Gisbourne is handed the villainous role.  This character only appears in this telling of the legend.  I wonder why the filmmakers didn't just make Basil Rathbone the Sheriff of Nottingham?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually, I think they are mentioned. When Flynn says that the king should have been doing his job in England, not fighting in foreign lands, doesn't the king say "what, you condemn Holy Crusades?"

 

No one has mentioned Richard Greene's take on Robin, in film and television.

Richard Greene did SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST in 1960, after several years of his TV show, "Robin Hood". TCM.has shown it.

 

Cornel Wilde did BANDITS OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1946), and not having seen it in decades, I'm not sure, but I believe he plays Robin Hood's son.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may not remember correctly but when Flynn's Robin finally runs into King Richard isn't he wearing a Knights Templar shield? The Crusades aren't specifically mentioned though.

 

You do remember correctly.  In the Flynn version there is talk, in the form of a complaint, about the King going off and leaving his country (this is before the merry men know that the guy in robes is the King).  This is all in reference to The Crusades which King Richard is returning from in the film.     (well that is how I always understood it).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One Robin Hood movie that I've never seen is Richard Lester's ROBIN AND MARIAN (1976) which stars Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as an older Robin Hood and Maid Marian. 

Lester made this movie around the time he was making other period pieces , most notably the Musketeers movies with Michael York as D'Artagnan.

I'd recommend it, quite a poignant story. Connery & Hepburn are excellent :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd recommend it, quite a poignant story. Connery & Hepburn are excellent :)

I totally agree with your comments here.

 

One of the most.intriguing "what ifs" in Hollywood history, imho, is the sequel to the Flynn film that WB planned to make in 1940,."Sir Robin of Lockley", reuniti.g many of the same actors. Too bad it was.never made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Has anyone seen the Russell Crowe "Robin Hood."   As fan of the Flynn film, which is perfection, in my opinion, I couldn't bear the idea of watching pudgy middle-aged Crowe as Robin.  Some say it was interestingly directed, though.  Apparently, it is supposed to be the "first part" of the Robin Hood story, which I find hard to fathom, unless in the second half, Robin and Marian are anticipating a life collecting their Government old-age pensions.  I saw "Robin and Marian" many years ago; the characters are supposed to be aging in it, and I found it rather bittersweet.

 

I'm a big fan of Mel Brooks' "Men in Tights," which I think ranks up there with "Young Frankenstein" as one of his best parodies.  Cary Elwes does a great mimic of Flynn, almost down to every gesture.  It's clear that Brooks loves the Flynn film.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone seen the Russell Crowe "Robin Hood." As fan of the Flynn film, which is perfection, in my opinion, I couldn't bear the idea of watching pudgy middle-aged Crowe as Robin. Some say it was interestingly directed.

It's not the fun take on it,it's all serious. I'll stick with the Flynn version.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...