The character Robin Hood has appeared in many films, both live action and animated. He has been the starring character or, as in Ivanhoe a supporting player. Actors as varied as Douglas Fairbanks, Richard Greene, Cary Elwes, Sean Connery and Kevin Costner (blech!) have played the part; but none has been as good as Errol Flynn in The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938).
Warner Bros originally planned their Robin Hood to star James Cagney, but his departure from the studio caused the project to be shelved. But it was then revived with the best possible cast. Errol Flynn, fresh from Captain Blood (1935), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) and The Prince and the Pauper (1937) was chosen to star and William Keighley was director. Other cast members we Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, Alan Hale as Little John (the same role he played with Douglas Fairbanks in 1922), Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy of Gisbourne, Claude Rains as Prince John and many other talented players. Erich Wolfgang Korngold was chosen to compose the score.
Keighley had filmed most of the exteriors when he was replaced by Michael Curtiz. Set pieces included the archery tournament, the rescue of Robin from Nottingham castle, the meeting of Little John and Robin Hood, and, best of all, the ambush of Sir Guy in Sherwood Forest with Merry Men leaping from trees accompanied by Korngold's rousing music.
I was fortunate to see this film for the first time in a theater with a beautiful Technicolor print. I had already been a Robin Hood fan thanks to the television series with Richard Greene, but this brought Robin to a whole new level. All performances were flawless and Errol Flynn was larger than life. This has remained one of my all-time favorite movies and it is as fresh today as it was in 1938. For a true classic film, you cannot beat The Adventures Of Robin Hood.
*Contributed by: "Eric Jamborsky" Date: Fri, Aug 04 2006 / 20:27:18 PSTAcademy Awards®
1939 Won Best Achievement in Art Direction: Carl Jules Weyl
1939 Won Best Achievement in Film Editing: Ralph Dawson
1939 Won Best Music, Original Score: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
1939 Nominated for Best Picture of the Year: Warner Bros. and First National. Movie still displayed: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)