Naturally you’d expect Hammer Films to make a Robin Hood movie, and of course it would star Richard Greene, who played him so memorably on TV for five years. But, add none other than Peter Cushing as the Sheriff of Nottingham and then have it directed by Hammer ace Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula), and you’ve got much more than just another swashbuckler. Robin and his Merry Men must go undercover when they learn of a plot to assassinate the Archbishop of Canterbury, and plenty of action and intrigue ensue. Beautifully shot in color and MegaScope, and featuring such reliable British actors as Nigel Green, Niall MacGinnis (Curse of the Demon), a young Oliver Reed and James Bond’s Q himself, Desmond Llewelyn, this is a rare and delightful chance for young and old alike to see a home-grown adaptation of England’s best-loved populist hero.
Richard Greene, who stole from the rich to give to the poor every week on US and UK televisions in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1959), reprises his most famous role in this swashbuckling adventure from England's Hammer Films. Greene is the only actor to cross over from the small screen to this theatrical release (Hammer's second Robin Hood film after The Men of Sherwood Forest, 1954), but his Merry Men are an impressive Who's Who of British supporting talent, including Niall MacGinnis (Curse of the Demon) as Friar Tuck, Nigel Green (Zulu) as Little John, Desmond Llewelyn (Q from the Bond films), and best of all, Hammer vet Peter Cushing as the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham. The plot is unnecessarily convoluted at times--at its crux, it's about the Sheriff's plan to usurp land from a noble away in the Crusades, and Robin thwarting a scheme to assassinate the Archbishop of Canterbury, who opposes the Sheriff--but Greene and his band of brigands deliver a level of derring-do on par with their series work, and Cushing is always a pleasure to watch (as is a young Oliver Reed, who has a minor role as a vicious lord). Modern audiences may find it a bit stiff and campy, but those who remember the series should appreciate this return to the days of TV yore. The original Columbia Pictures trailer is included as an extra. --Paul Gaita