Friday, July 22, 2011

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Director: Michael Curtiz

Starring: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Best Loved Bandit Of All Time!

Plot: When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? It's a given.

It's perfect. I've seen it many, many times and it never loses its charm. Errol Flynn IS Robin Hood. There has never been nor will there ever be an actor more suited for the role, nor a better film version of the tale. It's a magnificent adventure film that hits every mark with precision of Robin Hood's arrows.

The casting is tops. Rathbone nails it, Rains is deliciously nasty, de Havilland needs to have my babies, and everyone else brings such life and joy to their roles that it would be difficult to imagine any substitutions. The action is top notch; the swordplay, archery, fight scenes - all are loads of fun and most exciting.

The pacing is remarkable. There's not a dull moment to be found and if you do find one, you're just looking for trouble 'cause there ain't one! Curtiz's direction is nothing short of masterful. He put all the pieces of the puzzle together leaving nothing behind. He crafted the perfect adventure film that has all the action you could hope for, suspense and romance.

Ah, the romance. As far as what you see on screen, Errol Flynn makes this picture. His dashingly handsome good looks, eloquent speech and effortless athletic abilities combine to make one of the most charismatic characters the silver screen has ever known. The only aspect that equals that magical combination is Erich Wolfgang Korngold's rousing score. From the opening stirring theme that exudes action and adventure to the love theme, one of the most beautiful and romantic themes ever written, Korngold's music brings Sherwood Forest to life. The balcony scene with Flynn and de Havilland where they kiss for the first time is magical. With the help of Korngold's music, I'm literally tearing up by the end of it. The last few seconds of the cue are so beautiful that I can't find the words to do them justice. Have a listen...

I once saw this in a theater. I sat in the first row of the balcony, loaded up with Coke and corn, and for a brief time I was transported hundreds of years ago to a time and place that are legendary. I'll never forget it. THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is a magical film that encompasses all that can be good about making movies. It works on every level and it touches me in ways that only a Mrs. Scorethefilm should. The Blu-ray of this is nothing short of amazing. HOOD has always looked good no matter how I saw it. Even the VHS was decent. The colors popped from the screen but the Blu-ray is the absolute best I've ever seen it and I can't imagine a better presentation.

If you haven't seen this picture you owe it to yourself. You may not go cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs over this picture like me afterward but at the very least you will come out the other side feeling like picking up a sword or a quarter staff and playing Robin Hood like your ten years old again. Movies that can do that are very few and this is the best of the best.

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