Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1938)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), directed by Michael Curtiz.

A romp from a Warner crew who had already made several famous adventure films together. A fine picture for the whole family, but I've seen it so often I can start to criticize.

A problem is that another layer of fantasy is put on top of the standard swashbuckler: they want to suggest the storybook appeal of the old legends. This is a bit much because the mythology is so familiar to us. And perhaps the actors are in a comfortable groove and sort of coasting. It also hurts that the landscape is so obviously southern California. The action sequences pick up in the second half and this helps a lot.

Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone could both fence and you can see it during their great swordfight. Olivia de Havilland, big round eyes, looks constantly kissable. In the extras she delicately describes a bit of wardrobe problem the excitable Flynn had when he jumped in a window to seize her several times: "an issue with his tights."

I heard lines quoted in an episode of the Castle TV series: "You've come to Nottingham once too often!" "When this is over, my friend, there'll be no need for me to come again."

Did you know that James Cagney was originally going to be Robin Hood, and that de Havilland's horse was later renamed "Trigger"?

Erich Wolfgang Korngold score.

The Blu-ray looks very fine, although I see a few Technicolor registration problems in spots.