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Customer Review

195 of 206 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flynn's Greatest on DVD at Last!, August 21, 2003
This review is from: The Adventures of Robin Hood (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
The pinnacle of Errol Flynn's string of swashbuckling adventures...The most expensive film Warners had ever made (until 1938), and in glorious Technicolor, to boot...The film with the most cherished of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's many film scores...The film that literally set the standard for every 'Robin Hood' and 'Knighthood' movie since...One of the greatest films, not only of the 1930s, but of all time...THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is, in EVERY sense of the word, a CLASSIC, and the new DVD edition is LONG overdue!

The story of Sherwood Forest's favorite bandit had been a movie staple since silent films (Douglas Fairbanks' acrobatic 1922 version was regarded as one of his finest roles), and the WB, riding high on a string of hits by Fairbanks' younger and sexier successor, Errol Flynn, knew they had all the elements in place to create a grand entertainment that no other studio could match!

Originally intended for James Cagney, the property had languished for three years, until Errol Flynn exploded onto the scene, and the studio knew they had the actor 'born' to play the role. Not wishing to run into legal problems with United Artists, who'd produced the 1922 film, an original script, incorporating elements of "Ivanhoe", ancient legends, medieval ballads, a popular 19th century stage production, and a bit of Howard Pyle, was written by Norman Reilly Raine and Seton I. Miller (with some uncredited assistance by Rowland Leigh). Casting nearly all of their "British Colony" in speaking roles, the studio brought back Alan Hale to reprise his 1922 role of Little John (an excellent choice, as Flynn and Hale had terrific rapport), casted rotund comic actor Eugene Pallette (Guy Kibbee was the first choice) as a gravelly-voiced Friar Tuck, and Flynn's LIGHT BRIGADE costar, Patric Knowles, as Will Scarlett (David Niven was unavailable). As the villains, Claude Rains played the fey Prince John, and Basil Rathbone (whose duel with Flynn in CAPTAIN BLOOD was a film highlight) was perfection as the villainous Sir Guy of Gisbourne, Maid Marion's Norman suitor, and Robin's arch-nemesis. In the role of Marion, could anyone OTHER than Olivia de Havilland have been cast? Flynn and de Havilland had already done two films together (and would do four more, after ROBIN HOOD), and their chemistry was so perfect that 1930s screen magazines were always hinting of a romance between the two (there wasn't, despite overtures by Flynn; they remained simply friends, with Olivia and Errol constantly playing pranks on each other).

Not that the production was problem-free; the original director, William Keighley, was axed after the location shooting was completed, as the studio didn't like his approach to the script and actors; Michael Curtiz, who had 'made' a star of Flynn, in CAPTAIN BLOOD, was quickly brought in, adding his sense of drama, lighting (the
'light-and-shadow' climactic duel between Robin and Sir Guy was a Curtiz 'trademark'), and style. Both Curtiz and Keighley would share the 'Director' credit when the film was released.

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD was Warners' biggest box office hit of 1938, became a multiple Academy Award winner (with the most statuettes of any film that year), and it's luster has only increased through the years, being named as one of the AFI's 100 Greatest Films of All Time. This is a classic that TRULY lives up to the term, and is an absolute MUST for your DVD collection!
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 30, 2008 3:27:06 PM PDT
Biomanb2 says:
Thank you, Ben, for a great and informative review. It's nice to read not only one's opinion, but interesting info about things. Your write-up is the push I needed to finally buy this DVD. I've watched this film many times when it's come on TV, but it'll be great to finally see it on a nice big screen and in surround sound. Thanks again. :) Bb2

Posted on Jul 16, 2010 9:45:19 AM PDT
DDC says:
Wow-a bargain at $10.00

Posted on Oct 12, 2010 7:46:52 AM PDT
Konrei says:
Thanks for a great review. I discovered a few facts I hadn't known but I had always assumed.

Posted on May 7, 2015 6:43:09 AM PDT
T.Barry says:
Like other things i wish Hollywood "had a standard" when they transferred video from analog to digital or when the actual movie was shot in Technicolor ..
Example, Moby Dick with Gregory Peck was shot in Technicolor but the color was absolutely dull but on the other hand the BEST Technicolor movie EVER made was the "Ten Commandments" with Charleston Heston i use that movie as my reference dvd..!
I just wish Hollywood had a standard as well as the music industry.
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