The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – Simply Charming

Rating (4.5 out of 5)

Summary: I have not watched the Errol Flynn Robin Hood in many years I maintained fond memories of this version and I wondered, were my memories distorted by time. Oh my gosh, what a charming wee movie. Our hero is valiant and righteous and always charming. The bad guy is mean and cruel. “The Adventure of Robin Hood” plucks along, slowing only briefly for Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland) and Robin (Errol Flynn) to fall in love. No long drawn out love scene. The couple walked through the forest camp and he won her over. The simplicity is charming. While “Robin Hood” lacks the grittiness and explosion of “Die Hard” these could be the two best action movies ever.

Plot: Prince John (Claude Rains) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) are taxing the Saxons and plan to dethrone the imprisoned Richard the
Lionhearted. Only Robin Hood and his men stand in their way.

Detail: If you have never been favoured with the opportunity to watch Errol Flynn, this is a great film to start. He lights up the screen. He is plucky, fun, charismatic. Attributes lacking in modern stars. It wasn’t a machismo thing, as many of our current movies. It was a man standing up cheerfully for all oppressed people of England. Simply Charming

The actions scenes are straightforward and authentic. Not some over the top action where our hero catapults over a gigantic castle wall or defeats troops with the holy hand grenade. Sir Guy and Robin duel with their swords up and down the stairs of the castle (obviously a set). We add in a candle holder twice to mix it up a bit. We didn’t have blood splatter everywhere. It was two men dueling to the death. Did we storm the castle in the end? No, we used our brains (I know unheard of right?), we snuck our army in as monks to Prince John’s coronation. Simply charming.

Robin first meets Marian in the grand hall, when he first meets Prince John, and they delight in their little duel of words. She despises him. Later, Robin captures Sir Guy, Maid Marian and the gold. Robin walks Marian through the camp in Sherwood where all the oppressed people have sought sanctuary. She begins admiring Robin. That is all we required, love line formed. No extra 15 minutes useless sex scenes or a lengthy discussion of how much we love each other. Love line formed, and now we are set up to trick Robin to win a kiss from Maid Marian at the archery contest. Simply charming.

There is never any confusion about who the good guy or the bad guy is in this film. They each have their own music. If you took out all the dialog from this movie and merely heard the music, you would know exactly what was happening. Even their looks and clothes indicate who is bad and good. Simply charming.