Frame One  Title: The Adventures of Robin Hood  Year Caption: 1938 Frame Two Caption: Filmed in Technicolor. Scene: Man on spraying the grass Man: I’m painting the grass greener. Frame Three Caption: This legend… Scene: Robin Hood standing on tree branch. Sign: Fake tree branch. Robin Hood: Welcome to Sherwood. Frame Four  Caption: made larger than life… Scene: Little John holding staff. Frame Five  Caption: hits the mark... Scene: Arrow splitting another arrow in the bullseye of target. Frame Six  Caption: with humor,  Scene: A friar having a drink from a tankard. Sign: So bright Frame Seven  Caption: derring-do, Scene: soldier with arrows poking out of him. Soldier: I get $150 per arrow. Frame Eight.  Caption: and love. Scene: Maid Marian looking up to frame three. A heart symbol emotes from her. Maid Marian: Hubba-Hubba. Frame Nine Caption: It’s a grand swashbuckler. Scene: A swordfight on castle stairs.  Rating Caption: I give it a reverential ten.

I find it difficult to describe how much I love The Adventures of Robin Hood. There are so many things that make it great. First, the color. Technicolor is not just one, but multiple layers of film, each layer a different color. The result was not merely color, but deep, rich color perfect for fantastic settings. Years later, this would prove an advantage in film restoration. The designers of the day took advantage of strong colors, installing as many lurid hues as possible. Next would be the thespians. Not only do you have several lead actors, but also a plethora of talented character actors, each one nearly stealing a scene from the next. Then you have the script, with dialog ranging from simple to flowery, depending on the scenes. And there are action sequences with individual fights, grand melees, and lots of arrows. A professional archer was hired to shoot all of those arrows, so stuntmen and regulars alike had real arrows shot into balsawood hidden under their clothing. And then there’s the music, as rousing and flamboyant as could be desired in such a swashbuckler. The Adventures of Robin Hood is a shining example of what could be accomplished under the old studio system, when a cast of hundreds could be summoned overnight. It’s also a stellar example of what Hollywood could do, taking a legendary tale and making it even more magical. As for the tale of Robin Hood himself, most movies made afterwards couldn’t help but borrow from this wonderful, lavish work of art.

Winner of three Academy Awards.

The last review: Fantastic Voyage • The one before that: The Great Escape • The one before that: : The Quiet Man
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© 2016 Mark Monlux

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