The Adventures of Robin Hood


1h 42m 1938
The Adventures of Robin Hood

Brief Synopsis

The bandit king of Sherwood Forest leads his Merry Men in a battle against the corrupt Prince John.

Photos & Videos

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Lobby Cards
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Color Publicity Stills
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Storyboards and Set Illustrations

Film Details

Also Known As
Robin Hood
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Period
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
May 14, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Calabasas--Warner Ranch, California, United States; Chico--Bidwell Park, California, United States; Pasadena--Busch Gardens, California, United States; Sherwood Lake, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on ancient English legends.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Synopsis

King Richard the Lion-Heart, who left England to fight in the Crusades, has been taken captive and is being held for ransom. He has entrusted his kingdom to his brother, Prince John, who, along with Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, is plotting to overthrow the throne. At a banquet in John's honor, Sir Robin of Locksley disrupts the proceedings and openly accuses John of treachery.

Robin eludes John's knights and hides out in Sherwood Forest, where he gathers a band of men, including Will Scarlett, Little John and Friar Tuck, to protect and provide for the Saxon poor by stealing from the rich. When Gisbourne and the sheriff ride through the forest, accompanied by Richard's ward, the lovely Maid Marian, Robin, who is now known as Robin Hood, kidnaps the royal group, seizes their tax money for Richard, and opens Marian's eyes to the reality of Norman oppression. They are released unharmed, but the enraged sheriff proposes an archery tournament to lure Robin out of Sherwood.

The sheriff's trick succeeds, and when Robin accepts his victory prize from Marian, he is caught and sentenced to hang. Marian, now in love with Robin, alerts his men, who save him from the gallows. While Robin secretly visits Marian and confesses his love, Richard rides into Sherwood. He discovers John's plans to be crowned king and enlists Robin's help. At the castle, Gisbourne exposes Marian's allegiance to Robin and imprisons her. The coronation begins on schedule, but Richard's and Robin's men appear from under monks' robes and attack John's knights. In a spectacular sword fight, Gisbourne is killed by Robin. After Richard is restored to his rightful throne, he banishes John and gives Robin and Marian permission to marry.

Photo Collections

The Adventures of Robin Hood - Lobby Cards
Here are some Lobby Cards from the Warner Bros' film The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Color Publicity Stills
Here are some hand-tinted color publicity stills used for the promotion of Warner Bros' The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Storyboards and Set Illustrations
The following are original drawings and set designs created by the Warner Bros Art Department to visualize the scene designs and set construction for The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Set Stills
These are production photos taken to help establish sets and lighting for Warner Brothers' The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Movie Posters
Here are several movie posters for Warner Brother's The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Included are original American release posters as well as reissue and International posters.
The Adventures of Robin Hood - Production Photos (Cast)
These are production photos for The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), featuring cast - probably used for both publicity and costume design.

Videos

Movie Clip

Adventures Of Robin Hood, The (1938) - Whether For Serf Or Noble After establishing the ascendance of evil Prince John in England, 1191, a first sketch of the title character, Errol Flynn, with pal Will Scarlett (Patric Knowles), as hunter Much (Herbert Mundlin) is abused by tax-hoarding Sir Guy (Basil Rathbone), in Warner Bros.’ The Adventures Of Robin Hood, 1938.
Adventures Of Robin Hood, The (1938) - Are You With Me? His speech more lyric than bombast, Errol Flynn (title character, echoed by John Belushi in Animal House, 1978) rallies his Saxon band, an oppression montage, then Gisbourne and the sheriff (Basil Rathbone, Melville Cooper) lamenting rebel derring-do, in The Adventures Of Robin Hood, 1938.
Adventures Of Robin Hood, The (1938) - Play A Livelier Tune! Insouciant Errol Flynn (title character) with minstrel Scarlett (Patric Knowles) strolling home through Sherwood Forest meets brawny John Little (Alan Hale), whose name will be inverted whence he joins the merry men, male bonding mostly directed by Michael Curtiz, in The Adventures Of Robin Hood, 1938.
Adventures Of Robin Hood, The (1938) - I Want Him Taken And Hanged! Usurper Prince John (Claude Rains) giddy with power, feasts with Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone), Marian (Olivia De Havilland), the sheriff (Melville Cooper) and bishop (Montagu Love), when Errol Flynn (title character) appears, with reference to Norman/Saxon politics, in The Adventures Of Robin Hood, 1938.
Adventures Of Robin Hood, The (1938) - He Wouldn't Dare To Attack Us The sheriff (Melville Cooper), and Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone), escort Marian (Olivia De Havilland), smug in the belief that they can convey cash through Sherwood Forest, hijacked of course by Errol Flynn (title character) and his uniformed cohort, in The Adventures Of Robin Hood, 1938.

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Robin Hood
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Adventure
Period
Classic Hollywood
Release Date
May 14, 1938
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Location
Calabasas--Warner Ranch, California, United States; Chico--Bidwell Park, California, United States; Pasadena--Busch Gardens, California, United States; Sherwood Lake, California, United States
Screenplay Information
Based on ancient English legends.

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 42m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
11 reels

Award Wins

Best Art Direction

1938

Best Editing

1938
Ralph Dawson

Best Score

1938

Award Nominations

Best Picture

1938

Articles

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Essentials


SYNOPSIS

A young Saxon nobleman is forced to become an outlaw when the evil Norman Prince John usurps the throne from King Richard the Lionhearted, to whom Robin has sworn his allegiance. Pulling together a resistance movement from those who have suffered at the hands of the Prince and his henchmen, Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood robs from the wealthy oppressors to provide for his downtrodden fellow Saxons, woos the Norman beauty Maid Marian, and prevents John's ascendance to the throne, making way for the triumphant return of the rightful king.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Screenplay: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller
Cinematography: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito
Editing: Ralph Dawson
Art Direction: Carl Jules Weyl
Original Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Alan Hale (Little John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck).
C-102m. Close captioning. Descriptive video.

Why THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is Essential

One of the most popular adventure films of all time, The Adventures of Robin Hood not only remains a cherished memory for many audiences but a major influence for other filmmakers. One has only to look at the original three entries of the Star Wars series to see its continuing impact: the freedom-fighting outlaws pitted against a powerful and corrupt monarchy, the daredevil antics, a dash of wry sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor, and the antagonism-turned-to-love relationship at its heart. These were all part of the phenomenally successful Warner Brothers formula for what turned out to be the studio's most expensive picture at that time and one of its biggest hits, a blockbuster before the word was even in common use.

In the early 1930s, Warners was the contemporary urban studio, maker of fast-paced crime dramas, street smart New York musicals and hard-edged social-problem dramas that reflected the darkest moods of the Depression. Big, colorful costume epics and productions wrapped in literary and historical prestige were made elsewhere, but executives at Warners decided they could master that genre as well. They found their inspiration in a devilishly handsome young Tasmanian with a roguish air and an athletic knack for leaping over parapets and besting evil aristocrats at swordplay. Together, Errol Flynn and Warner Brothers, with considerable help from director Michael Curtiz, brought back the swashbuckler, a staple of the silent era that had fallen out of favor. The Adventures of Robin Hood wasn't the first of these, but it certainly took Flynn's image to its greatest heights, thanks to a winning blend of action, romance, comedy and historical detail.

Curtiz took over direction of the picture from William Keighley, whose work the studio found inadequate to the needs of such a rousing tale. As producer Hal Wallis (who deserves much of the credit for the final shape and sensibility ofThe Adventures of Robin Hood) noted about Curtiz, he loved to "work with mobs and props of this kind," and that love is evident, no more so than in the exciting and atmospheric final duel between Robin and Sir Guy. Not only is it a brilliantly choreographed action sequence but one whose theatricalism is heightened by Curtiz's masterful use of set, props and dramatic lighting.

The Adventures of Robin Hood is the hallmark of what a major studio could do during Hollywood's Golden Age: glorious Technicolor, sumptuous sets and costumes, a well-structured literate script, exciting action, a rousing award-winning score, and impeccable casting. It is the perfect conjunction of a star at the apex of his image and appeal and a master producer with an eye for the tiniest detail, a sense for what the public most enjoyed, and the ability to draw the system's top artists, technicians and craftsmen into a crack working unit to produce what is still considered one of the best films of its type.

by Rob Nixon
The Adventures Of Robin Hood: The Essentials

The Adventures of Robin Hood: The Essentials

SYNOPSIS A young Saxon nobleman is forced to become an outlaw when the evil Norman Prince John usurps the throne from King Richard the Lionhearted, to whom Robin has sworn his allegiance. Pulling together a resistance movement from those who have suffered at the hands of the Prince and his henchmen, Sir Guy of Gisbourne and the Sheriff of Nottingham, Robin Hood robs from the wealthy oppressors to provide for his downtrodden fellow Saxons, woos the Norman beauty Maid Marian, and prevents John's ascendance to the throne, making way for the triumphant return of the rightful king. Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley Producer: Hal B. Wallis Screenplay: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller Cinematography: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito Editing: Ralph Dawson Art Direction: Carl Jules Weyl Original Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold Cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Alan Hale (Little John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck). C-102m. Close captioning. Descriptive video. Why THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is Essential One of the most popular adventure films of all time, The Adventures of Robin Hood not only remains a cherished memory for many audiences but a major influence for other filmmakers. One has only to look at the original three entries of the Star Wars series to see its continuing impact: the freedom-fighting outlaws pitted against a powerful and corrupt monarchy, the daredevil antics, a dash of wry sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek humor, and the antagonism-turned-to-love relationship at its heart. These were all part of the phenomenally successful Warner Brothers formula for what turned out to be the studio's most expensive picture at that time and one of its biggest hits, a blockbuster before the word was even in common use. In the early 1930s, Warners was the contemporary urban studio, maker of fast-paced crime dramas, street smart New York musicals and hard-edged social-problem dramas that reflected the darkest moods of the Depression. Big, colorful costume epics and productions wrapped in literary and historical prestige were made elsewhere, but executives at Warners decided they could master that genre as well. They found their inspiration in a devilishly handsome young Tasmanian with a roguish air and an athletic knack for leaping over parapets and besting evil aristocrats at swordplay. Together, Errol Flynn and Warner Brothers, with considerable help from director Michael Curtiz, brought back the swashbuckler, a staple of the silent era that had fallen out of favor. The Adventures of Robin Hood wasn't the first of these, but it certainly took Flynn's image to its greatest heights, thanks to a winning blend of action, romance, comedy and historical detail. Curtiz took over direction of the picture from William Keighley, whose work the studio found inadequate to the needs of such a rousing tale. As producer Hal Wallis (who deserves much of the credit for the final shape and sensibility ofThe Adventures of Robin Hood) noted about Curtiz, he loved to "work with mobs and props of this kind," and that love is evident, no more so than in the exciting and atmospheric final duel between Robin and Sir Guy. Not only is it a brilliantly choreographed action sequence but one whose theatricalism is heightened by Curtiz's masterful use of set, props and dramatic lighting. The Adventures of Robin Hood is the hallmark of what a major studio could do during Hollywood's Golden Age: glorious Technicolor, sumptuous sets and costumes, a well-structured literate script, exciting action, a rousing award-winning score, and impeccable casting. It is the perfect conjunction of a star at the apex of his image and appeal and a master producer with an eye for the tiniest detail, a sense for what the public most enjoyed, and the ability to draw the system's top artists, technicians and craftsmen into a crack working unit to produce what is still considered one of the best films of its type. by Rob Nixon

Pop Culture 101: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD


At the time of the film's release, Warner Brothers printed special materials for schools for beginning studies on the Middle Ages featuring Robin and Sherwood Forest. Other educational tie-ins soon popped up across the country. The May 1938 issue of Boy's Life magazine featured Robin Hood and initiated a national archery contest. That same month, Scholastic Magazine (widely distributed to schools throughout America) featured the movie on its cover; it was the first time it had featured a movie on its cover with an article and 15-minute radio script inside. The New York Public Library set up a display featuring a reading list of books related to the legends.

Another educational tie-in, called Photoplay Studies, featuring detailed commentaries on specific films with accompanying study materials and test/essay questions, was underwritten by the National Council of Teachers of English. The series featured not only The Adventures of Robin Hood but two other Flynn movies, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939).

Various products, whether initiated by Warner Brothers or not, solidified the identification of Flynn and the movie with the Robin Hood legends forever. Grosset and Dunlap publishers issued a paperback of the story with the actor on the cover, and it was reviewed in the legitimate literary press. A character called The Black Pirate, featured in Action Comics shortly after the picture's release, bore a marked resemblance to Flynn (though it was based on his appearance in Captain Blood, 1935). The prestigious (by comic book standards) Classics Illustrated featured Robin Hood as the seventh title in its series; the overall concept, story, and artwork were clearly indebted to the Flynn version.

Games, toys, and puzzles soon appeared with Robin Hood motifs, and one company manufactured a cardboard replica of the castle seen in the film.

The style of Robin Hood, its mixture of action, humor, and romance, has influenced adventure films up to the present day. Additionally, its story of heroes arising to protect the oppressed and overthrow evil rulers has been a particularly potent theme in such modern action pictures as the Star Wars series.

The Robin Hood legend has received countless film treatments on both the big and the small screens, from the earliest days of silents to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), an ill-conceived version starring Kevin Costner. The most famous, after the Flynn version, is Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s athletic take on the tale in 1922; it was the most successful movie of that star's highly successful career. A 1952 British release featured Richard Todd as Robin and future Oscar-winner Peter Finch as the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Richard Greene played Robin Hood in a popular British-made TV series (which was aired in the U.S.) from 1955 to 1960. A number of well-known British actors played on the show at various times, including Leo McKern, Jill Esmond (as Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Richard's mother), Peter Asher (future record producer and half of the 60s pop group Peter and Gordon), Donald Pleasence, and the actor who played King Richard in the Flynn version, Ian Hunter, as "Sir Richard." John Schlesinger, who later directed such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969) and The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), played Alan-a-Dale in two episodes, several years before making his directorial debut. The series also spawned a feature film, Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960).

The Robin Hood story has also been animated for both film and television a number of times, most notably the 1973 Disney version in which the characters appear as animals, with Robin Hood (voiced by Brian Bedford) as a fox. The film featured the voice talents of Peter Ustinov, Andy Devine and singer-songwriter Roger ("King of the Road") Miller. Other well-known cartoon characters, such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, have played their versions of the story. The Bugs Bunny version, made in the year of the film's popular 1948 re-release, incorporates footage of Errol Flynn from the original movie. In the animated film The Brave Little Toaster (1987), The Radio starts swashbuckling with his antenna, dueling with The Lamp using dialogue referencing King Richard, Marian, the Normans and the Saxons; it sounds very much like Flynn's repartee with Basil Rathbone in the climactic sword fight in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Major liberties have been taken through the years to adapt the Robin Hood tales to fit any genre from stories about the legendary hero's son (played by Cornel Wilde in 1946) to sci-fi adventures (a German TV series in which Robin Hood's descendant often travels back in time to fight her ancestor's enemies) to the inevitable softcore adult market.

The Robin Hood story was given the Mel Brooks comic treatment in the spoof Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) with Cary Elwes as Robin and Patrick Stewart as King Richard.

The British comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus spoofed the story in its sketch about "Dennis Moore," a highwayman and fighter for justice who gets so caught up in the thorny issue of redistribution of wealth that he ends up stealing from the poor and giving to the rich.

An episode of the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation contrived to have Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) turned into Robin Hood to fight the evil Sir Guy of Gisbourne (veteran British stage and screen actor Clive Revill, who also played in the Mel Brooks spoof).

One of the most acclaimed and original treatments of the legend is Richard Lester's elegiac Robin and Marian (1976), which picks up the story many years later. Sean Connery played the aging Robin Hood with Audrey Hepburn as his long-lost love Marian, Robert Shaw as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Richard Harris as a rather loony King Richard and Nicol Williamson as Little John.

A half century after his death, Errol Flynn continues to be the model of the dashing, roguish swashbuckler hero. His notorious love life even brought his name into everyday language in the expression "in like Flynn." The phrase was slightly altered for the title of the James Coburn spy spoof In Like Flint (1967).

by Rob Nixon

Pop Culture 101: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD

At the time of the film's release, Warner Brothers printed special materials for schools for beginning studies on the Middle Ages featuring Robin and Sherwood Forest. Other educational tie-ins soon popped up across the country. The May 1938 issue of Boy's Life magazine featured Robin Hood and initiated a national archery contest. That same month, Scholastic Magazine (widely distributed to schools throughout America) featured the movie on its cover; it was the first time it had featured a movie on its cover with an article and 15-minute radio script inside. The New York Public Library set up a display featuring a reading list of books related to the legends. Another educational tie-in, called Photoplay Studies, featuring detailed commentaries on specific films with accompanying study materials and test/essay questions, was underwritten by the National Council of Teachers of English. The series featured not only The Adventures of Robin Hood but two other Flynn movies, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939). Various products, whether initiated by Warner Brothers or not, solidified the identification of Flynn and the movie with the Robin Hood legends forever. Grosset and Dunlap publishers issued a paperback of the story with the actor on the cover, and it was reviewed in the legitimate literary press. A character called The Black Pirate, featured in Action Comics shortly after the picture's release, bore a marked resemblance to Flynn (though it was based on his appearance in Captain Blood, 1935). The prestigious (by comic book standards) Classics Illustrated featured Robin Hood as the seventh title in its series; the overall concept, story, and artwork were clearly indebted to the Flynn version. Games, toys, and puzzles soon appeared with Robin Hood motifs, and one company manufactured a cardboard replica of the castle seen in the film. The style of Robin Hood, its mixture of action, humor, and romance, has influenced adventure films up to the present day. Additionally, its story of heroes arising to protect the oppressed and overthrow evil rulers has been a particularly potent theme in such modern action pictures as the Star Wars series. The Robin Hood legend has received countless film treatments on both the big and the small screens, from the earliest days of silents to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), an ill-conceived version starring Kevin Costner. The most famous, after the Flynn version, is Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.'s athletic take on the tale in 1922; it was the most successful movie of that star's highly successful career. A 1952 British release featured Richard Todd as Robin and future Oscar-winner Peter Finch as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Richard Greene played Robin Hood in a popular British-made TV series (which was aired in the U.S.) from 1955 to 1960. A number of well-known British actors played on the show at various times, including Leo McKern, Jill Esmond (as Eleanor of Aquitaine, King Richard's mother), Peter Asher (future record producer and half of the 60s pop group Peter and Gordon), Donald Pleasence, and the actor who played King Richard in the Flynn version, Ian Hunter, as "Sir Richard." John Schlesinger, who later directed such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969) and The Falcon and the Snowman (1985), played Alan-a-Dale in two episodes, several years before making his directorial debut. The series also spawned a feature film, Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960). The Robin Hood story has also been animated for both film and television a number of times, most notably the 1973 Disney version in which the characters appear as animals, with Robin Hood (voiced by Brian Bedford) as a fox. The film featured the voice talents of Peter Ustinov, Andy Devine and singer-songwriter Roger ("King of the Road") Miller. Other well-known cartoon characters, such as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, have played their versions of the story. The Bugs Bunny version, made in the year of the film's popular 1948 re-release, incorporates footage of Errol Flynn from the original movie. In the animated film The Brave Little Toaster (1987), The Radio starts swashbuckling with his antenna, dueling with The Lamp using dialogue referencing King Richard, Marian, the Normans and the Saxons; it sounds very much like Flynn's repartee with Basil Rathbone in the climactic sword fight in The Adventures of Robin Hood. Major liberties have been taken through the years to adapt the Robin Hood tales to fit any genre from stories about the legendary hero's son (played by Cornel Wilde in 1946) to sci-fi adventures (a German TV series in which Robin Hood's descendant often travels back in time to fight her ancestor's enemies) to the inevitable softcore adult market. The Robin Hood story was given the Mel Brooks comic treatment in the spoof Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) with Cary Elwes as Robin and Patrick Stewart as King Richard. The British comedy troupe Monty Python's Flying Circus spoofed the story in its sketch about "Dennis Moore," a highwayman and fighter for justice who gets so caught up in the thorny issue of redistribution of wealth that he ends up stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. An episode of the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation contrived to have Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) turned into Robin Hood to fight the evil Sir Guy of Gisbourne (veteran British stage and screen actor Clive Revill, who also played in the Mel Brooks spoof). One of the most acclaimed and original treatments of the legend is Richard Lester's elegiac Robin and Marian (1976), which picks up the story many years later. Sean Connery played the aging Robin Hood with Audrey Hepburn as his long-lost love Marian, Robert Shaw as the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Richard Harris as a rather loony King Richard and Nicol Williamson as Little John. A half century after his death, Errol Flynn continues to be the model of the dashing, roguish swashbuckler hero. His notorious love life even brought his name into everyday language in the expression "in like Flynn." The phrase was slightly altered for the title of the James Coburn spy spoof In Like Flint (1967). by Rob Nixon

The Big Idea


In the early 1930s, Warner Brothers was primarily the contemporary urban studio, known for the gritty, staccato style of its crime thrillers, socially conscious dramas and lavish Busby Berkeley musicals with its casts of working class chorines. But the studio also longed to enter the big-budget prestige picture field, and one of the first efforts toward that was its production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), with many Warners contract actors bringing their modern-day styles and personas to Shakespeare's characters. Costume designer and period adviser Dwight Franklin thought the same formula would translate well to another period piece, one that had been a huge success a decade earlier for Douglas Fairbanks - the story of the legendary bandit hero of Sherwood Forest. Studio executives liked Franklin's idea of casting Warners star James Cagney as Robin Hood and the studio's stock company as his Merry Men and Norman enemies.

While contemplating the idea of a James Cagney Robin Hood, Warners discovered they owned the rights to an 1890 operetta version of the story. That proved to be an attractive property for MGM, who thought it would make a fine addition to the repertoire of projects they were planning for their newly popular musical team, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. They struck a deal with Warners to get the operetta (which was never filmed) in exchange for some non-musical scripts developed at Metro by Edward Small.

There were many other sources from which to draw. The first literary mention of Robin Hood dates to the allegorical poem of the late 1300s, Piers Plowman, although variations on the name appear as early as the 13th century in several judges' rolls. In fact, the name Robin Hood has become a generic term for a fugitive, one who often dwells with a band of thieves in a forest.

Over the centuries, Robin Hood legends, stories, and ballads evolved to suit the changing political and social conditions of various eras. As a result, the hero eventually became a freedom fighter of noble birth, acquiring his band of Merry Men, his romantic attachment to Maid Marian, and his loyalty to the absent King Richard the Lionhearted along the way. The Warners scenario also borrowed from references to the character in Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe, and was doubtless influenced by earlier film versions, particularly the phenomenally successful 1922 release starring Douglas Fairbanks.

British writer Rowland Leigh was brought on board to write the screenplay from Small's material and other sources. Going back to the original Robin Hood ballads, Leigh tried to capture the period through a rather flowery, archaic language. Hal B. Wallis, Warners head of production, didn't like the script so using Rowland's work as the structural basis, he assigned the script to Norman Reilly Raine. Shortly after, Seton I. Miller was added to the team. Miller had penned a few Cagney pictures, as well as contemporary dramas for such Warners stars as Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni and Bette Davis.

In the midst of development, Cagney had one of his frequent and bitter disputes with the studio and walked out on his contract for almost two years. With so much money and time already invested in the project, the studio couldn't afford to put it on hold for its volatile star and began considering a replacement.

In the meantime, contractee Errol Flynn had been given his first big break as the star of a period action epic, Captain Blood (1935), and proved to be not only very appealing to audiences but exactly the dashing, athletic, devilish figure needed for the part of Robin Hood as the Warners team envisioned it. In 1936, Wallis issued a memo to Jack Warner recommending the project as a good follow-up for Flynn after completion of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) and suggesting they publicize the casting to "let Cagney know he is losing these properties by his attitude."

With Flynn set for the lead, it was a natural next step to cast Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian. The two had displayed an undeniable on-screen chemistry in Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Robin's Merry Men were drawn mostly from the ranks of sought-after character actors. Alan Hale, who had played Little John in Douglas Fairbanks' 1922 version, was cast in the role again. Guy Kibbee was originally slated for the part of Friar Tuck, but it eventually went to Eugene Pallette. The role of Will Scarlett was originally intended for David Niven, but he was unavailable, so the part went to Patric Knowles, who had appeared with Flynn in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936).

Robin Hood's nemeses came from distinguished ranks. Basil Rathbone, an acclaimed actor for more than 15 years (he had also appeared in Captain Blood) was cast as Sir Guy. Claude Rains, who would soon be seen with Flynn in The Prince and the Pauper (1937), was chosen for the wryly amused, aloof and effete air he could bring to the villainous Prince John. In earlier stories (and future film and television versions), Robin's chief adversary was the Sheriff of Nottingham, the rivalry with Sir Guy being largely an invention of the 1890 operetta. Here, the Sheriff was depicted with more humorous buffoonery, perfect for first-rank character actor Melville Cooper, who specialized in both menacing heavies and comic roles.

As the project started coming together, the studio decided to go for broke and shoot the picture in "glorious Technicolor," which increased the budget considerably, thanks to the patented process's need for special cameras and lighting. But Wallis and company considered the expense worth it, and the decision heralded a new, more ambitious style for the studio.

William Keighley was initially assigned to the project because he had made Warners' first excursion into three-strip Technicolor, God's Country and the Woman (1937). He had also directed Flynn in The Prince and the Pauper and the two got along well. Keighley was very enthusiastic about the assignment.

by Rob Nixon

The Big Idea

In the early 1930s, Warner Brothers was primarily the contemporary urban studio, known for the gritty, staccato style of its crime thrillers, socially conscious dramas and lavish Busby Berkeley musicals with its casts of working class chorines. But the studio also longed to enter the big-budget prestige picture field, and one of the first efforts toward that was its production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935), with many Warners contract actors bringing their modern-day styles and personas to Shakespeare's characters. Costume designer and period adviser Dwight Franklin thought the same formula would translate well to another period piece, one that had been a huge success a decade earlier for Douglas Fairbanks - the story of the legendary bandit hero of Sherwood Forest. Studio executives liked Franklin's idea of casting Warners star James Cagney as Robin Hood and the studio's stock company as his Merry Men and Norman enemies. While contemplating the idea of a James Cagney Robin Hood, Warners discovered they owned the rights to an 1890 operetta version of the story. That proved to be an attractive property for MGM, who thought it would make a fine addition to the repertoire of projects they were planning for their newly popular musical team, Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. They struck a deal with Warners to get the operetta (which was never filmed) in exchange for some non-musical scripts developed at Metro by Edward Small. There were many other sources from which to draw. The first literary mention of Robin Hood dates to the allegorical poem of the late 1300s, Piers Plowman, although variations on the name appear as early as the 13th century in several judges' rolls. In fact, the name Robin Hood has become a generic term for a fugitive, one who often dwells with a band of thieves in a forest. Over the centuries, Robin Hood legends, stories, and ballads evolved to suit the changing political and social conditions of various eras. As a result, the hero eventually became a freedom fighter of noble birth, acquiring his band of Merry Men, his romantic attachment to Maid Marian, and his loyalty to the absent King Richard the Lionhearted along the way. The Warners scenario also borrowed from references to the character in Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe, and was doubtless influenced by earlier film versions, particularly the phenomenally successful 1922 release starring Douglas Fairbanks. British writer Rowland Leigh was brought on board to write the screenplay from Small's material and other sources. Going back to the original Robin Hood ballads, Leigh tried to capture the period through a rather flowery, archaic language. Hal B. Wallis, Warners head of production, didn't like the script so using Rowland's work as the structural basis, he assigned the script to Norman Reilly Raine. Shortly after, Seton I. Miller was added to the team. Miller had penned a few Cagney pictures, as well as contemporary dramas for such Warners stars as Edward G. Robinson, Paul Muni and Bette Davis. In the midst of development, Cagney had one of his frequent and bitter disputes with the studio and walked out on his contract for almost two years. With so much money and time already invested in the project, the studio couldn't afford to put it on hold for its volatile star and began considering a replacement. In the meantime, contractee Errol Flynn had been given his first big break as the star of a period action epic, Captain Blood (1935), and proved to be not only very appealing to audiences but exactly the dashing, athletic, devilish figure needed for the part of Robin Hood as the Warners team envisioned it. In 1936, Wallis issued a memo to Jack Warner recommending the project as a good follow-up for Flynn after completion of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936) and suggesting they publicize the casting to "let Cagney know he is losing these properties by his attitude." With Flynn set for the lead, it was a natural next step to cast Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian. The two had displayed an undeniable on-screen chemistry in Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade. Robin's Merry Men were drawn mostly from the ranks of sought-after character actors. Alan Hale, who had played Little John in Douglas Fairbanks' 1922 version, was cast in the role again. Guy Kibbee was originally slated for the part of Friar Tuck, but it eventually went to Eugene Pallette. The role of Will Scarlett was originally intended for David Niven, but he was unavailable, so the part went to Patric Knowles, who had appeared with Flynn in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936). Robin Hood's nemeses came from distinguished ranks. Basil Rathbone, an acclaimed actor for more than 15 years (he had also appeared in Captain Blood) was cast as Sir Guy. Claude Rains, who would soon be seen with Flynn in The Prince and the Pauper (1937), was chosen for the wryly amused, aloof and effete air he could bring to the villainous Prince John. In earlier stories (and future film and television versions), Robin's chief adversary was the Sheriff of Nottingham, the rivalry with Sir Guy being largely an invention of the 1890 operetta. Here, the Sheriff was depicted with more humorous buffoonery, perfect for first-rank character actor Melville Cooper, who specialized in both menacing heavies and comic roles. As the project started coming together, the studio decided to go for broke and shoot the picture in "glorious Technicolor," which increased the budget considerably, thanks to the patented process's need for special cameras and lighting. But Wallis and company considered the expense worth it, and the decision heralded a new, more ambitious style for the studio. William Keighley was initially assigned to the project because he had made Warners' first excursion into three-strip Technicolor, God's Country and the Woman (1937). He had also directed Flynn in The Prince and the Pauper and the two got along well. Keighley was very enthusiastic about the assignment. by Rob Nixon

Behind the Camera


In addition to a top-notch cast, Warner Brothers put together an A-list production team that included art director Carl Jules Weyl, whose architecture background ideally suited his designs for the Norman castles. Weyl's sets incorporated a degree of historical accuracy while favoring the cinematic needs for a stylized and romanticized setting.

Milo Anderson, who had designed costumes for three previous Flynn period films as well as 1935's A Midsummer Night's Dream (for which he was uncredited), was assigned to create the clothing for the picture, making a slight nod to historical veracity while providing the kind of glamour that would appeal easily to 1930s audiences; that same strategy was used to guide the art direction and set design. Anderson especially liked working with Olivia de Havilland because she did research on her costumes and her look and came in with many ideas.

Errol Flynn also had some of his own design ideas, notably complaints about the fringed wig designed for his character. After a convincing note from Flynn to Hal Wallis back at the studio, the wig was redesigned according to the actor's needs and suggestions. Reshooting was unnecessary since up to that point, the offending hairpiece had only been photographed under a hat.

Swordmaster Fred Cavens, who staged the duels in Captain Blood (1935), was assigned to make the fight scenes exciting. Cavens believed the duels should be magnified and exaggerated for effect; his approach was to create a routine that was choreographed like a dance, with counts and phrases. Rathbone was already an impressive fencer, so Flynn trained with Cavens, though many sources say Flynn was less than dedicated to the task and relied more on his innate athletic ability. In this area, liberties were also taken with history. Although broadswords that would have been typical for the era were used (but designed as lighter and more manageable replicas), the fight scenes incorporated fencing techniques that would not be developed until decades later. Medieval swordplay involved a lot more hacking than finessed lunges and parries.

One of the first steps in production was to send the cast, crew and some extremely expensive Technicolor cameras north to Chico, California, in late 1937 to do location work for what were to be the Sherwood Forest scenes. Production Manager T.C. Wright questioned the decision. Since it was already early autumn and the Northern California rainy season would be starting soon, Wright didn't see why the work couldn't be done close to home in the Lake Sherwood area, which got its name after being used as the location for the Fairbanks silent version. But the studio decided to stick by the decision, and the shoot did, indeed, encounter considerable bad weather, stretching the location time to six weeks. Adding to the expense was the need to bring in prop rocks and tree trunks to augment the natural environment. Because much of the foliage was already turning fall colors, it had to be spray-painted green.

Director William Keighley immediately ran afoul of Wallis and production executives, as well as the writers, with his insistence on starting the film with a splashy jousting tournament. Opponents of the idea felt that it would set the picture seriously off balance by placing the biggest scene at the beginning. Besides, the story could hold up quite well on its own without it. Wright suggested to Wallis that they let Keighley go off to Chico thinking the tournament scene would be used, then reject it toward the end of production.

Wallis and Wright also became seriously concerned with delays on location. And they were not pleased with footage that was coming out of Chico, since the action scenes lacked the panache and excitement they felt were needed. Shortly after, the project was turned over to Michael Curtiz, one of the studio's top directors and an experienced hand at action films, having already directed Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), with Flynn in the lead. Wallis, however, did warn Associate Producer Henry Blanke to keep an eye on Curtiz because "in his enthusiasm to make great shots and composition and utilize the great production values in this picture, he is more likely to go overboard than anyone else, because he just naturally loves to work with mobs and props of this kind."

Curtiz shot the film's remaining scenes and embellished many of the exterior sequences Keighley had completed. However, he did not return to Chico for these; the work was done instead at Lake Sherwood, Wright's original idea. Curtiz and Keighley shared the on-screen directing credit.

The archery tournament was shot at the now gone Busch Gardens in Pasadena, which was later used for the Wilkes plantation exteriors in Gone with the Wind (1939) and in many other films.

Flynn enjoyed working with the sophisticated and easy-going Keighley but despised the temperamental and demanding Curtiz. Problems between the two were reportedly exacerbated by Flynn's casual approach to production schedules and scene preparation, as well as his reputed bad memory for dialogue.

Flynn claimed to have done all of his own stunts, but that seems unlikely considering the dangerous nature of some of them. No studio would allow a major star to put himself in such jeopardy. However, he apparently did cause some consternation with his insistence on performing many of the stunts himself.

More stunt men were used on The Adventures of Robin Hood than any other up to this time. A stuntman got paid extra for taking an arrow. A steel plate was inserted under the costumes to prevent penetration (although impact was still often painful). On top of the steel plate was a layer of balsa wood that caught and held the arrow tip. All the "fatal" shots were delivered by world champion archer Howard Hill, who had a deserved reputation for never missing. Hill also appeared in the film as Owen the Welshman, a contestant in the archery contest. It was Hill who made Robin Hood's shot that splits one arrow with another, reportedly done in one take.

Hill used a special bow and a thicker arrow to make the distinctive sound of the flying arrows that was recorded from various perspectives and added to the soundtrack.

Rathbone suffered an injury during the scene of Robin's escape from the castle. He was knocked down by a mob of extras and received a spear wound in his right foot that required eight stitches.

The production phase of The Adventures of Robin Hood ran a month behind schedule and went over budget. The total cost eventually ballooned to more than $2 million, Warner Brothers most expensive motion picture made at that time.

With principle photography completed, Wallis made extensive and detailed cutting notes, with particular attention paid to sound. One element of that aspect was the film's score. The original idea of using contract composer Max Steiner was thrown out in favor of hiring Erich Wolfgang Korngold, an Austrian-born former child prodigy who had become a critically acclaimed composer of operas and orchestral music.

Korngold had composed scores for other films (including Flynn's 1937 release, The Prince and the Pauper) and was excited about the prospects of working on The Adventures of Robin Hood; he had even worked out possible themes and passages in his head as he made the crossing from Austria to Hollywood. But when he saw the completed film, he got cold feet, pleading with Wallis to release him from his contract on the grounds that "I am a musician of the heart, of passions and psychology; I am not a musical illustrator for a 90% action picture." History, however, intervened in the form of Hitler's invasion of Vienna. With his home and assets seized and his son and other family members in need of rescue from Austria, Korngold went forward with the job, later saying "My life was saved by Robin Hood."

Korngold not only rose to the occasion of writing a rousing score for The Adventures of Robin Hood, he also managed to work in his music of passion and psychology, notably in the sequence in which Robin and Marian talk of war and politics with a romantic score behind them, signaling their growing love while scarcely a word of it is spoken. One of his most brilliant touches was to write motifs in the same key as the actors' speaking voices.

by Rob Nixon

Behind the Camera

In addition to a top-notch cast, Warner Brothers put together an A-list production team that included art director Carl Jules Weyl, whose architecture background ideally suited his designs for the Norman castles. Weyl's sets incorporated a degree of historical accuracy while favoring the cinematic needs for a stylized and romanticized setting. Milo Anderson, who had designed costumes for three previous Flynn period films as well as 1935's A Midsummer Night's Dream (for which he was uncredited), was assigned to create the clothing for the picture, making a slight nod to historical veracity while providing the kind of glamour that would appeal easily to 1930s audiences; that same strategy was used to guide the art direction and set design. Anderson especially liked working with Olivia de Havilland because she did research on her costumes and her look and came in with many ideas. Errol Flynn also had some of his own design ideas, notably complaints about the fringed wig designed for his character. After a convincing note from Flynn to Hal Wallis back at the studio, the wig was redesigned according to the actor's needs and suggestions. Reshooting was unnecessary since up to that point, the offending hairpiece had only been photographed under a hat. Swordmaster Fred Cavens, who staged the duels in Captain Blood (1935), was assigned to make the fight scenes exciting. Cavens believed the duels should be magnified and exaggerated for effect; his approach was to create a routine that was choreographed like a dance, with counts and phrases. Rathbone was already an impressive fencer, so Flynn trained with Cavens, though many sources say Flynn was less than dedicated to the task and relied more on his innate athletic ability. In this area, liberties were also taken with history. Although broadswords that would have been typical for the era were used (but designed as lighter and more manageable replicas), the fight scenes incorporated fencing techniques that would not be developed until decades later. Medieval swordplay involved a lot more hacking than finessed lunges and parries. One of the first steps in production was to send the cast, crew and some extremely expensive Technicolor cameras north to Chico, California, in late 1937 to do location work for what were to be the Sherwood Forest scenes. Production Manager T.C. Wright questioned the decision. Since it was already early autumn and the Northern California rainy season would be starting soon, Wright didn't see why the work couldn't be done close to home in the Lake Sherwood area, which got its name after being used as the location for the Fairbanks silent version. But the studio decided to stick by the decision, and the shoot did, indeed, encounter considerable bad weather, stretching the location time to six weeks. Adding to the expense was the need to bring in prop rocks and tree trunks to augment the natural environment. Because much of the foliage was already turning fall colors, it had to be spray-painted green. Director William Keighley immediately ran afoul of Wallis and production executives, as well as the writers, with his insistence on starting the film with a splashy jousting tournament. Opponents of the idea felt that it would set the picture seriously off balance by placing the biggest scene at the beginning. Besides, the story could hold up quite well on its own without it. Wright suggested to Wallis that they let Keighley go off to Chico thinking the tournament scene would be used, then reject it toward the end of production. Wallis and Wright also became seriously concerned with delays on location. And they were not pleased with footage that was coming out of Chico, since the action scenes lacked the panache and excitement they felt were needed. Shortly after, the project was turned over to Michael Curtiz, one of the studio's top directors and an experienced hand at action films, having already directed Captain Blood and The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), with Flynn in the lead. Wallis, however, did warn Associate Producer Henry Blanke to keep an eye on Curtiz because "in his enthusiasm to make great shots and composition and utilize the great production values in this picture, he is more likely to go overboard than anyone else, because he just naturally loves to work with mobs and props of this kind." Curtiz shot the film's remaining scenes and embellished many of the exterior sequences Keighley had completed. However, he did not return to Chico for these; the work was done instead at Lake Sherwood, Wright's original idea. Curtiz and Keighley shared the on-screen directing credit. The archery tournament was shot at the now gone Busch Gardens in Pasadena, which was later used for the Wilkes plantation exteriors in Gone with the Wind (1939) and in many other films. Flynn enjoyed working with the sophisticated and easy-going Keighley but despised the temperamental and demanding Curtiz. Problems between the two were reportedly exacerbated by Flynn's casual approach to production schedules and scene preparation, as well as his reputed bad memory for dialogue. Flynn claimed to have done all of his own stunts, but that seems unlikely considering the dangerous nature of some of them. No studio would allow a major star to put himself in such jeopardy. However, he apparently did cause some consternation with his insistence on performing many of the stunts himself. More stunt men were used on The Adventures of Robin Hood than any other up to this time. A stuntman got paid extra for taking an arrow. A steel plate was inserted under the costumes to prevent penetration (although impact was still often painful). On top of the steel plate was a layer of balsa wood that caught and held the arrow tip. All the "fatal" shots were delivered by world champion archer Howard Hill, who had a deserved reputation for never missing. Hill also appeared in the film as Owen the Welshman, a contestant in the archery contest. It was Hill who made Robin Hood's shot that splits one arrow with another, reportedly done in one take. Hill used a special bow and a thicker arrow to make the distinctive sound of the flying arrows that was recorded from various perspectives and added to the soundtrack. Rathbone suffered an injury during the scene of Robin's escape from the castle. He was knocked down by a mob of extras and received a spear wound in his right foot that required eight stitches. The production phase of The Adventures of Robin Hood ran a month behind schedule and went over budget. The total cost eventually ballooned to more than $2 million, Warner Brothers most expensive motion picture made at that time. With principle photography completed, Wallis made extensive and detailed cutting notes, with particular attention paid to sound. One element of that aspect was the film's score. The original idea of using contract composer Max Steiner was thrown out in favor of hiring Erich Wolfgang Korngold, an Austrian-born former child prodigy who had become a critically acclaimed composer of operas and orchestral music. Korngold had composed scores for other films (including Flynn's 1937 release, The Prince and the Pauper) and was excited about the prospects of working on The Adventures of Robin Hood; he had even worked out possible themes and passages in his head as he made the crossing from Austria to Hollywood. But when he saw the completed film, he got cold feet, pleading with Wallis to release him from his contract on the grounds that "I am a musician of the heart, of passions and psychology; I am not a musical illustrator for a 90% action picture." History, however, intervened in the form of Hitler's invasion of Vienna. With his home and assets seized and his son and other family members in need of rescue from Austria, Korngold went forward with the job, later saying "My life was saved by Robin Hood." Korngold not only rose to the occasion of writing a rousing score for The Adventures of Robin Hood, he also managed to work in his music of passion and psychology, notably in the sequence in which Robin and Marian talk of war and politics with a romantic score behind them, signaling their growing love while scarcely a word of it is spoken. One of his most brilliant touches was to write motifs in the same key as the actors' speaking voices. by Rob Nixon

The Critics Corner - The Critics Corner: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD


AWARDS & HONORS

The Adventures of Robin Hood won three Academy Awards: Best Art Direction (Carl Jules Weyl), Editing (Ralph Dawson) and Original Score (for the initially reluctant composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold). It was also nominated for Best Picture.

In 1995, The Adventures of Robin Hood was chosen to be preserved in the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

THE CRITICS CORNER

The Adventures of Robin Hood was previewed at three theaters and was an unqualified smash each time. Amazingly, no changes were ordered before putting it into general release. It premiered at New York's Radio City Music Hall.

"A richly produced, bravely bedecked, romantic and colorful show, it leaps boldly to the forefront of this year's best and can be calculated to rejoice the eights, rejuvenate the eighties and delight those in between." – Frank S. Nugent, New York Times, May 13, 1938.

"Film is done in the grand manner of silent day spectacles... Superlative on the production side. ... Film has size, an appeal for eye and ear, and a story familiar in every land. It should register substantially at theaters." – Variety, April 27, 1938.

"One of the most popular of all adventure films-stirring for children and intensely nostalgic for adults. ... The archetypal roles that the actors played here clung to their later performances. ... The story is clear, the color ravishing, the acting simple and crude." – Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies (Henry Holt and Company, 1984).

The Adventures of Robin Hood...has become something more than an accomplished film from the thirties. For many, the influence of this film is immense. There is, for example, a great deal of similarity between the action of Robin's men in the forest capturing a gold shipment and the attack of the Ewoks against the Stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi (1983). Not only does it remain one of the quintessential films of the swashbuckling genre but it is also the definitive Robin Hood legend for scores of film-goers and television viewers." - Ray Narducy, The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers.

"A splendid adventure story, rousingly operatic in treatment, with dashing action highlights, fine comedy balance, and incisive acting all round. Historically notable for its use of early three-colour Technicolor; also for convincingly recreating Britain in California." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide.

"That the movie stands up to such regular inspection is not just because of rippling action, the stained-glass Technicolor, or the fabulous Korngold score. It is because of Errol Flynn....Flynn does not deal in depth, but he has a freshness, a galvanizing energy, a cheerful gaiety (in the old sense) made to inspire boys." - David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.

"Magnificent, unsurpassable....the film is lavish, brilliantly photographed, and has a great Korngold score." - NFT, 1974.

"Mostly the picture is full of movement, some of it dashing in fine romantic costume style, some of it just sprightly. The excitement comes from the action - galloping steeds, men swinging Tarzan-like from the trees, hurling tables and chairs, rapid running swordplay, the sudden whiz of Robin's arrows coming from nowhere to startle his enemies...Somehow the whole thing has the air of a costume party, a jolly and rather athletic one, with a lot of well-bred Englishmen playing at being in the greenwood." - James Shelley Hamilton, National Board of Review.

Compiled by Rob Nixon & Jeff Stafford

The Critics Corner - The Critics Corner: THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD

AWARDS & HONORS The Adventures of Robin Hood won three Academy Awards: Best Art Direction (Carl Jules Weyl), Editing (Ralph Dawson) and Original Score (for the initially reluctant composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold). It was also nominated for Best Picture. In 1995, The Adventures of Robin Hood was chosen to be preserved in the Library of Congress National Film Registry. THE CRITICS CORNER The Adventures of Robin Hood was previewed at three theaters and was an unqualified smash each time. Amazingly, no changes were ordered before putting it into general release. It premiered at New York's Radio City Music Hall. "A richly produced, bravely bedecked, romantic and colorful show, it leaps boldly to the forefront of this year's best and can be calculated to rejoice the eights, rejuvenate the eighties and delight those in between." – Frank S. Nugent, New York Times, May 13, 1938. "Film is done in the grand manner of silent day spectacles... Superlative on the production side. ... Film has size, an appeal for eye and ear, and a story familiar in every land. It should register substantially at theaters." – Variety, April 27, 1938. "One of the most popular of all adventure films-stirring for children and intensely nostalgic for adults. ... The archetypal roles that the actors played here clung to their later performances. ... The story is clear, the color ravishing, the acting simple and crude." – Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies (Henry Holt and Company, 1984). The Adventures of Robin Hood...has become something more than an accomplished film from the thirties. For many, the influence of this film is immense. There is, for example, a great deal of similarity between the action of Robin's men in the forest capturing a gold shipment and the attack of the Ewoks against the Stormtroopers in Return of the Jedi (1983). Not only does it remain one of the quintessential films of the swashbuckling genre but it is also the definitive Robin Hood legend for scores of film-goers and television viewers." - Ray Narducy, The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. "A splendid adventure story, rousingly operatic in treatment, with dashing action highlights, fine comedy balance, and incisive acting all round. Historically notable for its use of early three-colour Technicolor; also for convincingly recreating Britain in California." - Halliwell's Film & Video Guide. "That the movie stands up to such regular inspection is not just because of rippling action, the stained-glass Technicolor, or the fabulous Korngold score. It is because of Errol Flynn....Flynn does not deal in depth, but he has a freshness, a galvanizing energy, a cheerful gaiety (in the old sense) made to inspire boys." - David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. "Magnificent, unsurpassable....the film is lavish, brilliantly photographed, and has a great Korngold score." - NFT, 1974. "Mostly the picture is full of movement, some of it dashing in fine romantic costume style, some of it just sprightly. The excitement comes from the action - galloping steeds, men swinging Tarzan-like from the trees, hurling tables and chairs, rapid running swordplay, the sudden whiz of Robin's arrows coming from nowhere to startle his enemies...Somehow the whole thing has the air of a costume party, a jolly and rather athletic one, with a lot of well-bred Englishmen playing at being in the greenwood." - James Shelley Hamilton, National Board of Review. Compiled by Rob Nixon & Jeff Stafford

The Adventures of Robin Hood


The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is one of the best-loved swashbucklers, a film that hasn't aged a bit since its premiere. Nominated for four Academy Awards, the film made a lasting star of Errol Flynn and has been so popular over the years that clips even made their way into a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Flynn's charm and knack for action were perfectly matched by a wonderful cast, brilliant Technicolor photography and an inventive story. It's the rare masterpiece that captivates everybody from tykes to scholars.

When King Richard is captured and held for ransom, scheming nobles led by the vicious Sir Guy (Basil Rathbone) try to seize control of the English crown. One knight named Robin of Locksley (Flynn) refuses to play along and retreats to Sherwood Forest where he and his men rob the nobles to help both the poor and to pay the King's ransom. Hunted by Sir Guy and the forest's sheriff, Robin eludes them and accidentally ends up the captor of the lovely Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), who just happens to have also caught Sir Guy's eye. Naturally everybody won't be a happy winner.

Today, The Adventures of Robin Hood seems so perfect that it's hard to imagine that it could have ended up differently. But that's what almost happened since James Cagney was intended by Warner Brothers to play Robin. A contract dispute between Cagney and the studio left the film in the lurch until Captain Blood (1935) became a big hit, prompting cool minds to ponder that this new star Errol Flynn might be a decent Robin Hood. (Flynn had also replaced another actor in Captain Blood; Robert Donat that time.)

The film was budgeted at Warner Brother's highest to that date ($1.6 million which eventually went up to $2 million). Filming started near Chico, California (standing in for Sherwood Forest) under the direction of veteran William Keighley. The studio decided his approach was a bit too light-hearted and replaced him with Michael Curtiz so that the completed film actually has significant contributions from both directors. Curtiz would become Flynn's most productive director in their twelve films together despite constant friction between the two. Oddly enough he had directed Flynn in Flynn's second Hollywood film appearance (playing a murder victim in The Case of the Curious Bride, 1935). The studio might have wondered whether Flynn was worth it when he began showing his soon-to-be-notorious wild side, coming to the set late and kissing De Havilland so intensely that the scenes needed to be re-shot. But one look at the finished scenes removed all doubt and when the film was released audiences and critics agreed.

By the way, De Havilland's horse would shortly afterwards become Trigger of Roy Rogers fame; Quentin Tarantino has called him "the greatest animal actor who ever was."

Director: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley
Producer: Henry Blanke, Hal B. Willis
Screenplay: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller
Cinematography: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito
Editor: Ralph Dawson
Art Direction: Carl Jules Weyl
Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck).
C-102m. Close captioning. Descriptive video.

By Lang Thompson

The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is one of the best-loved swashbucklers, a film that hasn't aged a bit since its premiere. Nominated for four Academy Awards, the film made a lasting star of Errol Flynn and has been so popular over the years that clips even made their way into a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Flynn's charm and knack for action were perfectly matched by a wonderful cast, brilliant Technicolor photography and an inventive story. It's the rare masterpiece that captivates everybody from tykes to scholars. When King Richard is captured and held for ransom, scheming nobles led by the vicious Sir Guy (Basil Rathbone) try to seize control of the English crown. One knight named Robin of Locksley (Flynn) refuses to play along and retreats to Sherwood Forest where he and his men rob the nobles to help both the poor and to pay the King's ransom. Hunted by Sir Guy and the forest's sheriff, Robin eludes them and accidentally ends up the captor of the lovely Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), who just happens to have also caught Sir Guy's eye. Naturally everybody won't be a happy winner. Today, The Adventures of Robin Hood seems so perfect that it's hard to imagine that it could have ended up differently. But that's what almost happened since James Cagney was intended by Warner Brothers to play Robin. A contract dispute between Cagney and the studio left the film in the lurch until Captain Blood (1935) became a big hit, prompting cool minds to ponder that this new star Errol Flynn might be a decent Robin Hood. (Flynn had also replaced another actor in Captain Blood; Robert Donat that time.) The film was budgeted at Warner Brother's highest to that date ($1.6 million which eventually went up to $2 million). Filming started near Chico, California (standing in for Sherwood Forest) under the direction of veteran William Keighley. The studio decided his approach was a bit too light-hearted and replaced him with Michael Curtiz so that the completed film actually has significant contributions from both directors. Curtiz would become Flynn's most productive director in their twelve films together despite constant friction between the two. Oddly enough he had directed Flynn in Flynn's second Hollywood film appearance (playing a murder victim in The Case of the Curious Bride, 1935). The studio might have wondered whether Flynn was worth it when he began showing his soon-to-be-notorious wild side, coming to the set late and kissing De Havilland so intensely that the scenes needed to be re-shot. But one look at the finished scenes removed all doubt and when the film was released audiences and critics agreed. By the way, De Havilland's horse would shortly afterwards become Trigger of Roy Rogers fame; Quentin Tarantino has called him "the greatest animal actor who ever was." Director: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley Producer: Henry Blanke, Hal B. Willis Screenplay: Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller Cinematography: Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito Editor: Ralph Dawson Art Direction: Carl Jules Weyl Music: Erich Wolfgang Korngold Cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck). C-102m. Close captioning. Descriptive video. By Lang Thompson

Warner Legends Collection


Three classic Academy-Award® winning films from Warner Bros. Studios -- where Hollywood legends were born -- will become available on DVD September 30th for the very first time. Warner Home Video's (WHV's) Two-Disc DVD editions, known as the Warner Legends Collection, will include The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring Warner Bros. most famous leading men: Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. All three titles have been newly remastered, and are loaded with special features such as extensive commentaries, new and vintage documentaries and never-before-seen extended and deleted scenes. Each two-disc also contains an exclusive new segment, "Warner Night at the Movies," hosted by Leonard Maltin, which recreates moviegoer attractions like newsreels, cartoons and trailers from the years each film was released.

The three titles will also be offered as a Warner Legends gift set which includes an exclusive bonus documentary Here's Looking at You, Warner Bros. The feature-length documentary traces the history of the studio from its inception and features rare outtakes, blooper reels and early screen tests of favorite stars. It will only be available as part of the gift set. Each DVD will be priced at $26.99 SRP and the gift set at $69.92 SRP.

George Feltenstein, WHV Senior VP, Classic Catalog, said, "These three films all hold a unique place in Warner Bros. Studios legacy. They're among the most requested titles in our library, and now that their restoration and remastering have been completed, we're thrilled to be able to bring them to DVD, looking and sounding better than ever thought possible. We're equally proud of these new two-disc editions, as they contain so much fascinating extra content, it will require more than one sitting to watch it all!"

The Ultra-Resolution Process
Leading the collection will be The Adventures of Robin Hood, presented in Warner Bros. Pictures dazzling new "Ultra-Resolution," which allows today's viewers to see parts of the images which were never visible before and sharper detail than in conventional Technicolor release prints.

WHV first used this process for Singin' in the Rain; and Ned Price, Warner Bros. Vice President of Mastering, Technical Operations, says "Ultra-Resolution" has been improved for The Adventures of Robin Hood. "As good as Singin' in the Rain turned out, Price said, "Robin Hood takes us one step further."

Sixty-five years later, Warner Bros. Studios is employing a process which begins with scanning the original Technicolor 3-strip black and white "records" at extremely high (2k) resolution. The black and white records are then combined electronically to create the color images, which are also electronically re-registered, steadied and cleaned before the final DVDs are produced.

The Adventures of Robin Hood
The ultimate swashbuckler film, starring the dashing Errol Flynn in his most famous role, is presented for the first time ever on DVD. This lavish, fast-paced version of the Robin Hood legend won three Academy Awards® (Best Film Editing, Interior Decoration and Original Score). Doing many stunts himself, Flynn is at his athletic, romantic best in a role originally intended for James Cagney. Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), as well as consummate screen villains Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains round out the all-star cast.

The Adventures of Robin Hood DVD special features include:
Disc One:
- Feature length commentary by author and film historian Rudy Behlmer
- Music-only audio track showcasing the Oscar®-winning score
- "Warner Night at the Movies 1938," introduced by Leonard Maltin, includes:
- Angels with Dirty Faces Theatrical Trailer
- Vintage Newsreel
- Vintage Warner Bros. musical short subject, "Freddie Rich and His Orchestra"
- Vintage Warner Bros. Animation's, Katnip Kollege
- Errol Flynn Trailer Gallery with trailers for twelve of his most beloved films including Captain Blood, The Prince and the Pauper, Dodge City, The Sea Hawk, Dive Bomber, and The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938 version and 1942 reissue.

Disc Two:
- Glorious Technicolor, Angela Lansbury narrates this hour-long celebration of this legendary color filmmaking process
- All-new 65th Anniversary documentary, Welcome to Sherwood: The Story of The Adventures of Robin Hood

- Looney Tunes classic cartoons:
- Rabbit Hood
- Robin Hood Daffy

- Vintage Warner Bros. short subjects:
- Cavalcade of Archery (1945)
- The Cruise of the Zaca (1952) with Errol Flynn
- Robin Hood Through the Ages, a look at Robin Hood's earlier screen adaptations
- A Journey to Sherwood Forest, home movies and behind-the-scenes footage

From the Cutting Room
- Outtakes
- Breakdowns of 1938, Warner Bros. Pictures blooper reel
- Audio Vault
- May 11, 1938 National Radio Broadcast The Robin Hood Radio Show (audio only)
- Erich Wolfgang Korngold Piano Sessions (audio only)
- Splitting the Arrow Galleries: Historical Art, Costume Designs, Scene Concept Drawings, Cast & Crew Photos, Publicity & Poster Materials

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre:
This American classic broke new dramatic ground for Bogart and earned father-and-son Oscars for Walter Huston (Best Supporting Actor) and John Huston (Best Director and Screenplay). Starring Humphrey Bogart, an American classic himself, as a man transformed from a likeable hobo to a heartless thug steeped in greed, this is the powerful tale of three hard-luck drifters who strike gold and then strike at each other.

The Treasure of Sierra Madre DVD special features include:

Disc One:
- Commentary by author/Bogart biographer Eric Lax
- Warner Night at the Movies (1948), introduced by Leonard Maltin, includes:
- Key Largo Theatrical Trailer
- Vintage Newsreel (1948)
- So You Want to be a Detective, 1948 Warner Bros. short
- Hot Cross Bunny, 1948 Looney Tunes short
- Humphrey Bogart Trailer Gallery with trailers for twelve of his most beloved films including High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep and The Treasure of Sierra Madre.

Disc Two:

- John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick, Acclaimed feature-length 1989 documentary
- All-new Discovering Treasure: The Story of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 2003 documentary
- 8 Ball Bunny, 1950 Looney Tunes short
- Audio Vault
- Scoring Stage Sessions (audio only)
- April 18, 1949 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast (audio only)
- Treasure Trove Galleries: Storyboards, Dressed Set Stills, Cast & Crew Photos, Publicity & Poster Materials

Yankee Doodle Dandy

The much loved and much acclaimed 1942 classic salutes the life and career of American composer and performer George M. Cohan. James Cagney won his only Academy Award, playing the song and dance man in this musical spectacular. Nominated for eight Oscars and winning a total of three (Best Actor, Scoring of a Musical and Sound Recording), the musical features Cagney dancing his heart out and contains Cohan's toe-tapping favorites, "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Over There" and "Give My Regards to Broadway."

DVD special features include:

Disc One:
- Feature-length commentary by author and film historian Rudy Behlmer
- Warner Night at the Movies, 1942, introduced by Leonard Maltin, includes:
- Casablanca Theatrical Trailer
- Vintage Newsreel from 1942
- Beyond the Line of Duty, 1942 Warner Bros. short
- Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid, 1942 Looney Tunes short
- James Cagney Trailer Gallery with trailers for seven of his most beloved films including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Footlight Parade and Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Disc Two:
- James Cagney: Top of the World Biographical tribute to the legendary star, hosted by Michael J. Fox
- All-new "Making-of" documentary, Let Freedom Sing!: The Story of Yankee Doodle Dandy
- Vintage Looney Tunes shorts:
- Yankee Doodle Daffy
- Yankee Doodle Bugs
- Vintage wartime short, You, John Jones starring James Cagney & Greer Garson
- Audio Vault
- Outtakes and Rehearsals (audio only)
- October 19, 1942 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Show with film cast members (audio only)
- Waving the Flag Galleries: Sheet Music, Dressed Set Stills, Scene Concept Drawings, Publicity & Poster Materials

Warner Legends Collection

Three classic Academy-Award® winning films from Warner Bros. Studios -- where Hollywood legends were born -- will become available on DVD September 30th for the very first time. Warner Home Video's (WHV's) Two-Disc DVD editions, known as the Warner Legends Collection, will include The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Yankee Doodle Dandy, starring Warner Bros. most famous leading men: Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. All three titles have been newly remastered, and are loaded with special features such as extensive commentaries, new and vintage documentaries and never-before-seen extended and deleted scenes. Each two-disc also contains an exclusive new segment, "Warner Night at the Movies," hosted by Leonard Maltin, which recreates moviegoer attractions like newsreels, cartoons and trailers from the years each film was released. The three titles will also be offered as a Warner Legends gift set which includes an exclusive bonus documentary Here's Looking at You, Warner Bros. The feature-length documentary traces the history of the studio from its inception and features rare outtakes, blooper reels and early screen tests of favorite stars. It will only be available as part of the gift set. Each DVD will be priced at $26.99 SRP and the gift set at $69.92 SRP. George Feltenstein, WHV Senior VP, Classic Catalog, said, "These three films all hold a unique place in Warner Bros. Studios legacy. They're among the most requested titles in our library, and now that their restoration and remastering have been completed, we're thrilled to be able to bring them to DVD, looking and sounding better than ever thought possible. We're equally proud of these new two-disc editions, as they contain so much fascinating extra content, it will require more than one sitting to watch it all!" The Ultra-Resolution Process Leading the collection will be The Adventures of Robin Hood, presented in Warner Bros. Pictures dazzling new "Ultra-Resolution," which allows today's viewers to see parts of the images which were never visible before and sharper detail than in conventional Technicolor release prints. WHV first used this process for Singin' in the Rain; and Ned Price, Warner Bros. Vice President of Mastering, Technical Operations, says "Ultra-Resolution" has been improved for The Adventures of Robin Hood. "As good as Singin' in the Rain turned out, Price said, "Robin Hood takes us one step further." Sixty-five years later, Warner Bros. Studios is employing a process which begins with scanning the original Technicolor 3-strip black and white "records" at extremely high (2k) resolution. The black and white records are then combined electronically to create the color images, which are also electronically re-registered, steadied and cleaned before the final DVDs are produced. The Adventures of Robin Hood The ultimate swashbuckler film, starring the dashing Errol Flynn in his most famous role, is presented for the first time ever on DVD. This lavish, fast-paced version of the Robin Hood legend won three Academy Awards® (Best Film Editing, Interior Decoration and Original Score). Doing many stunts himself, Flynn is at his athletic, romantic best in a role originally intended for James Cagney. Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), as well as consummate screen villains Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains round out the all-star cast. The Adventures of Robin Hood DVD special features include: Disc One: - Feature length commentary by author and film historian Rudy Behlmer - Music-only audio track showcasing the Oscar®-winning score - "Warner Night at the Movies 1938," introduced by Leonard Maltin, includes: - Angels with Dirty Faces Theatrical Trailer - Vintage Newsreel - Vintage Warner Bros. musical short subject, "Freddie Rich and His Orchestra" - Vintage Warner Bros. Animation's, Katnip Kollege - Errol Flynn Trailer Gallery with trailers for twelve of his most beloved films including Captain Blood, The Prince and the Pauper, Dodge City, The Sea Hawk, Dive Bomber, and The Adventures of Robin Hood, 1938 version and 1942 reissue. Disc Two: - Glorious Technicolor, Angela Lansbury narrates this hour-long celebration of this legendary color filmmaking process - All-new 65th Anniversary documentary, Welcome to Sherwood: The Story of The Adventures of Robin Hood - Looney Tunes classic cartoons: - Rabbit Hood - Robin Hood Daffy - Vintage Warner Bros. short subjects: - Cavalcade of Archery (1945) - The Cruise of the Zaca (1952) with Errol Flynn - Robin Hood Through the Ages, a look at Robin Hood's earlier screen adaptations - A Journey to Sherwood Forest, home movies and behind-the-scenes footage From the Cutting Room - Outtakes - Breakdowns of 1938, Warner Bros. Pictures blooper reel - Audio Vault - May 11, 1938 National Radio Broadcast The Robin Hood Radio Show (audio only) - Erich Wolfgang Korngold Piano Sessions (audio only) - Splitting the Arrow Galleries: Historical Art, Costume Designs, Scene Concept Drawings, Cast & Crew Photos, Publicity & Poster Materials The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: This American classic broke new dramatic ground for Bogart and earned father-and-son Oscars for Walter Huston (Best Supporting Actor) and John Huston (Best Director and Screenplay). Starring Humphrey Bogart, an American classic himself, as a man transformed from a likeable hobo to a heartless thug steeped in greed, this is the powerful tale of three hard-luck drifters who strike gold and then strike at each other. The Treasure of Sierra Madre DVD special features include: Disc One: - Commentary by author/Bogart biographer Eric Lax - Warner Night at the Movies (1948), introduced by Leonard Maltin, includes: - Key Largo Theatrical Trailer - Vintage Newsreel (1948) - So You Want to be a Detective, 1948 Warner Bros. short - Hot Cross Bunny, 1948 Looney Tunes short - Humphrey Bogart Trailer Gallery with trailers for twelve of his most beloved films including High Sierra, The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep and The Treasure of Sierra Madre. Disc Two: - John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick, Acclaimed feature-length 1989 documentary - All-new Discovering Treasure: The Story of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 2003 documentary - 8 Ball Bunny, 1950 Looney Tunes short - Audio Vault - Scoring Stage Sessions (audio only) - April 18, 1949 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast (audio only) - Treasure Trove Galleries: Storyboards, Dressed Set Stills, Cast & Crew Photos, Publicity & Poster Materials Yankee Doodle Dandy The much loved and much acclaimed 1942 classic salutes the life and career of American composer and performer George M. Cohan. James Cagney won his only Academy Award, playing the song and dance man in this musical spectacular. Nominated for eight Oscars and winning a total of three (Best Actor, Scoring of a Musical and Sound Recording), the musical features Cagney dancing his heart out and contains Cohan's toe-tapping favorites, "You're a Grand Old Flag," "Over There" and "Give My Regards to Broadway." DVD special features include: Disc One: - Feature-length commentary by author and film historian Rudy Behlmer - Warner Night at the Movies, 1942, introduced by Leonard Maltin, includes: - Casablanca Theatrical Trailer - Vintage Newsreel from 1942 - Beyond the Line of Duty, 1942 Warner Bros. short - Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid, 1942 Looney Tunes short - James Cagney Trailer Gallery with trailers for seven of his most beloved films including A Midsummer Night's Dream, Footlight Parade and Yankee Doodle Dandy. Disc Two: - James Cagney: Top of the World Biographical tribute to the legendary star, hosted by Michael J. Fox - All-new "Making-of" documentary, Let Freedom Sing!: The Story of Yankee Doodle Dandy - Vintage Looney Tunes shorts: - Yankee Doodle Daffy - Yankee Doodle Bugs - Vintage wartime short, You, John Jones starring James Cagney & Greer Garson - Audio Vault - Outtakes and Rehearsals (audio only) - October 19, 1942 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Show with film cast members (audio only) - Waving the Flag Galleries: Sheet Music, Dressed Set Stills, Scene Concept Drawings, Publicity & Poster Materials

Welcome to Sherwood: The Making of The Adventures of Robin Hood


Welcome to Sherwood: The Making of The Adventures of Robin Hood (2003) takes us behind the scenes during production of the Warner Bros. classic - from the development of the script to the fight choreography. You'll also learn more about the history of the Robin Hood legend and what prompted WB to make The Adventures of Robin Hood. In addition, we learn how close James Cagney came to bouncing around Sherwood Forest in green tights instead of Errol Flynn and what happened to the horse Olivia de Havilland rode in the film and why two men are credited with directing the film.

The documentary includes color home movie footage of the cast and crew on location plus interviews with film historians such as Rudy Behlmer, Bob Thomas, Leonard Maltin and Robert Osborne. One thing the documentary doesn't go into is the relationship between Errol Flynn and director Michael Curtiz. In all the two men made 12 films together, including The Charge of the Light Brigade and Captain Blood, the film that made Flynn a star. Despite their long history and the string of hits they made, they hated each other. It just goes to show, you don't have to be friends to do good work. By the way, if you're a fan of The Adventures of Robin Hood, you'll be glad to know that the film is being released this month for the first time ever on DVD. The film has been digitally remastered - so it looks great - and the DVD has tons of special features including this documentary and the TCM Original documentary, Glorious Technicolor.

BW & C-60m.

Welcome to Sherwood: The Making of The Adventures of Robin Hood

Welcome to Sherwood: The Making of The Adventures of Robin Hood (2003) takes us behind the scenes during production of the Warner Bros. classic - from the development of the script to the fight choreography. You'll also learn more about the history of the Robin Hood legend and what prompted WB to make The Adventures of Robin Hood. In addition, we learn how close James Cagney came to bouncing around Sherwood Forest in green tights instead of Errol Flynn and what happened to the horse Olivia de Havilland rode in the film and why two men are credited with directing the film. The documentary includes color home movie footage of the cast and crew on location plus interviews with film historians such as Rudy Behlmer, Bob Thomas, Leonard Maltin and Robert Osborne. One thing the documentary doesn't go into is the relationship between Errol Flynn and director Michael Curtiz. In all the two men made 12 films together, including The Charge of the Light Brigade and Captain Blood, the film that made Flynn a star. Despite their long history and the string of hits they made, they hated each other. It just goes to show, you don't have to be friends to do good work. By the way, if you're a fan of The Adventures of Robin Hood, you'll be glad to know that the film is being released this month for the first time ever on DVD. The film has been digitally remastered - so it looks great - and the DVD has tons of special features including this documentary and the TCM Original documentary, Glorious Technicolor. BW & C-60m.

Quotes

Men, if you're willing to fight for our people, I want you!
- Robin Hood
I'll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I'll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England.
- Sir Robin of Locksley
Are you finished?
- Prince John
I'm only just beginning. From this night forward I'll use every means in my power to fight you!
- Sir Robin of Locksley
Why, you speak treason!
- Lady Marian Fitzswalter
Fluently.
- Sir Robin of Locksley
You've come to Nottingham once too often!
- Sir Guy of Gisbourne
When this is over, my friend, there'll be no need for me to come again.
- Sir Robin of Locksley
It's injustice I hate, not the Normans.
- Sir Robin of Locksley

Trivia

Originally planned with James Cagney playing the title role, but he quit Warner Brothers and production was postponed for three years.

The palomino horse that Olivia de Havilland rides in this film is none other than Trigger, shortly before it became 'Rogers, Roy' 's mount.

Michael Curtiz took over from director William Keighley when the producers felt that the action scenes lacked impact.

Heavily padded stunt players and actors were paid $150 per arrow for being shot by professional archer Howard Hill, who also played the captain of the archers, whom Robin Hood defeats in the tournament by splitting his own arrow. Splitting the arrow was Hill's feat, too, done in one take with no trick photography.

German audiences will wait in vain for the notorious lines "You speak treason!" - "Fluently." In the German version, it is dubbed as "Ihr sprecht unbedacht!" - "Wei? ich." ("You speak before you think!" - "I know.") Probably they chose this quip (clever in its own right, but in a different vein than the original) because a more faithful translation would have lost the play on words completely.

Notes

A news item in Hollywood Reporter reports that in 1935, M-G-M paid $62,500 to the estate of Reginald de Koven for film rights to the music he composed for the operetta Robin Hood. It was the largest sum ever paid by a studio for music rights. M-G-M had previously purchased the book and lyrics of the operetta from Warner Bros., which had owned the rights since the silent days. Despite plans to star Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, the operetta was never filmed by M-G-M. In 1936 Republic announced a Robin Hood film which was to be filmed in Magnacolor. Wells Root was scheduled to write and direct it. Warner Bros. made The Adventures of Robin Hood for $2,000,000, their biggest budget to date. When Michael Curtiz replaced William Keighley as director halfway through the production, Sol Polito came with Curtiz, replacing photographer Tony Gaudio. Hollywood Reporter notes that Keighley directed the location scenes at Chico, CA, while Curtiz directed the rest of the film. According to his autobiography, Hal Wallis replaced Keighley because he felt the action scenes shot by him were ineffective. The cast and crew were on location in Chico's Bidwell Park for six weeks and the archery contest was staged at Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA. Second unit director B. Reeves Eason was sent to Chico near the end of October to film action scenes not involving the principal players in order to shorten the shooting schedule, according to Wallis' autobiography. According to Motion Picture Daily, the voice of Floyd Gibbons was used in the film's trailers. Motion Picture Daily also notes that Warner Bros. planned a sequel to the film, which was to have starred Errol Flynn with Michael Curtiz directing. Film editor Ralph Dawson, art director Carl Weyl and composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold each won an Oscar for their work on this film, which was itself nominated for Best Picture and was named as one of Film Daily's and New York Times's ten best films of 1938. It was also a top moneymaking film that year, breaking the opening day record at Radio City Music Hall by earning $14,000.
       Modern sources add the following information about the production: In 1936, when Warners was first developing the project, James Cagney was originally intended to star as Robin Hood with Guy Kibbee as Friar Tuck. Jack Warner considered Anita Louise for the part of Marian, while Donald Crisp turned down the part of the Bishop of the Black Canons. Art director Carl Weyl augmented the forest at Bidwell Park in Chico with plaster of Paris trees and rocks. Because grass and brush had been removed as fire hazards, artificial grass was used to replace it. Robin's meeting with Friar Tuck was filmed along Big Chico Creek in the park. Additional outdoor shots were filmed in the nearby Sherwood Lake and Sherwood Forest areas, so named because they were the forest location for the 1922 Robin Hood. Other exteriors were filmed at the Warner Ranch in Calabasas, CA. The crew left Chico on November 8, 1937 and shooting finished January 15, 1937. Belgian fencing master Fred Cavens and his son Albert tutored the cast in sword and quarterstaff routines. Archery expert Howard Hill did the actual trick shooting. The studio paid stunt men and bit players $150 per shot for letting Hill hit them with arrows. Flynn did most of his own stunts except for a leap with his hands tied behind his back, another leap unto the back of a horse, his swing up the Nottingham gate and his drop to the other side. Although modern sources often refer to this film as Warner Bros. first three-strip Technicolor release, this honor actually goes to Gold Is Where You Find It, which went into production and was released several months earlier. Alan Hale played Little John in the 1922 version of the film and went on to play him again in Rogues of Sherwood Forest, released by Columbia in 1950.
       The story of Robin Hood has been the basis for numerous films. The earliest was a one-reel film made in the United States in 1908 by Kalem about which very little is known. A British film, Robin Hood and His Merry Men, was made the same year. Another version was made by Thanhouser Film Corp. in 1913, starring William Russell (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.3752). A fourth version was directed by Allan Dwan for United Artists in 1922, starring Douglas Fairbanks (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.4663). RKO and Walt Disney British Productions co-financed The Story of Robin Hood in 1952. This production starred Richard Todd and was directed by Ken Annakin. In 1961, Columbia released Sword of Sherwood Forest, starring Richard Greene, who also starred in the television series Robin Hood, which was broadcast on the CBS network from 1955-58.
       In 1964, Warner Bros. produced Robin and the Seven Hoods, directed by Gordon Douglas and starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. A British production A Challenge for Robin Hood, was made by Hammer in 1967 and starred Barrie Ingham and Gay Hamilton. This production was directed by C. M. Pennington-Richards. Another film based on the Robin Hood character, The Ribald Tales of Robin Hood, was produced by P.B.S. Co-Mondo in 1969. It was directed by Richard Kanter and starred Ralph Jenkins and Dee Lockwood (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1961-70; F6.4839, F6.4139, F6.0730 and F6.4039.) Robin and Marian made by Columbia in 1976 starred Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn as the aging lovers. In 1991, Morgan Creek released Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves starring Kevin Costner and directed by Kevin Reynolds. An American television version entitled The Adventures of Robin Hood and starring Patrick Bergin and Uma Thurman was released theatrically overseas by 20th Century Fox.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1993

Released in United States May 14, 1938

Re-released in United States July 3, 1991

Released in United States 1993 (Shown at AFI/Los Angeles International Film Festival (A Tribute to the Art of Cinematography) June 10 - July 1, 1993.)

Released in United States May 14, 1938

Re-released in United States July 3, 1991 (Los Angeles)

Selected in 1995 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.