Title: The Adventures of Robin Hood
Release Date: May 14, 1938
Director: Michael Curtiz and William Keighley
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures
I have not read Robin Hood books and the only Robin Hood movies I’ve seen are the 1973 Disney animated film and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. And yet, I feel I’ve absorbed most of the Robin Hood mythology by osmosis, and thus The Adventures of Robin Hood feels to me like it’s the iconic Robin Hood story. The films strengths include a technicolor brilliance that looks better than many color films made decades later. It also has the captivating performance of Errol Flynn in the lead role. Flynn feels very modern in his acting, like he could time travel to the future and replace George Clooney in a contemporary movie.
The cast overall is strong with Olivia de Havilland (Lady Marian Fitzwalter), Basil Rathbone (Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (King John), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Alan Hale, Sr. (Little John), and Herbert Mundin (Herbert Mundin) among others. There are great action sequences and Flynn gets to exchange zingers with Rathbone and Rains. There’s also a lot of people throwing their heads back in explosive laughter and men dropping out of trees in ambush. It’s a fun movie but it feels very slight in the connective tissue between the big set pieces.