The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Review of the movie starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland

Errol Flynn as Robin Hood 1938
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Historical/period/epic

Image of 5 stars for an excellent film genius a classic movie

Film review by Jason Day of the classic Hollywood movie The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

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Synopsis

(From IMDb.com) When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard’s absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

Review by @Reelereviewer

One of a string of eight movies made by blockbuster, Golden Age of Hollywood darlings Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland shows them at their most luminously, technicolour beauty.

And WHAT technicolour! This film is staggeringly, eye-poppingly colourful.

Some of the joy this movie gives is watching Flynn and his too merry men gambol about England in clothes that were clearly dyed for royalty rather than the plebs at the bottom of society.

They also show off Flynn’s divine, toned legs which the vain old goat of heroic cinema must have approved of.

Seeing flags ripple in the wind during a jousting match, the film almost out-Tudors The Tudors.

De Havilland’s silver dresses would have cost a a King’s ransom either in the middle ages 1938 or even today.

Smashing action sequences in and around obviously cardboard Warner Bros. castle and Saxon hovel sets.

Hollywood’s recreation of ye old Englande looks eerily similar to any studio’s recreation of England in the 1930’s, or the decade before and the decade after. Sherwood Forest is the brightest, airy and spacious of places.

A rather tongue-tieing, consonent heavy script that adds not a jot to the infamous old Douglas Fairbanks silent version title card “I’ll knop your skop!”

A classic movie in more ways than you can imagine – many scenes have become canonical.

The fight at the river with Little John where Robin ends up dunked in the drink. Ale loving Friar Tuck who is handy in a fight but must bent to Locksley; Robin swinging on massive vines; Robin and his men entering Nottingham Caste all dressed down – these are all ideas that were reused in Costner’s blockbuster 1991 retelling.

There is fabulous swordplay from all of the cast which leads to a spectacular denouement with Flynn and Rathbone, part of which is filmed in silhouette for extra oomph! Take a bow Michael Curtiz, for directing with seemingly effortless flare and elan.

Flynn and de Havilland (who later admitted the two had an affair) make a fine, feisty pair, perfectly suited to trilling and cooing at each other in wonderful, classic Hollywood style.

Cast & credits

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley. 1 hr 42 min/102 mins. Warner Bros. (U)

Producers: Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner.
Writers: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton L. Miller.
Camera: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito.
Music: Wolfgang Korngold.
Sets: Carl Jules Weyl.

Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Raines, Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Merville Cooper, Ian Hunter, Una O’Connor, Herbert Mundin, Montagu Love.

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