The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) ★★★★★ 4/5
Shot in 1938, this film made a dazzling use of technicolor. The costumes are vivid and bright, and outlined with sequins and jewels. The royal court is bright and festive with colored flags and robes. Outdoor scenes are lush with green foliage. It's no wonder this film won an Oscar for Best Art Direction. Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian is ravishing in this early use of color. In addition to impressive art direction, the film aslo won for Best Editing, which is no surprise either. As I watched the film and the chase scenes on horseback, I immediately was impressed by the nature of the scenes. The background, obviously added later, moves in time as the chase progresses, and while it is no match to today's effects, it certainly was quite advanced for 1938.
There is not too much to say about the storyline that isn't known about Robin Hood. Robin Hood (Errol Flynn) looks to find peace and happiness for his village of Saxon against the tyranny of Prince John (Claude Rains), who has declared himself King of England in the absence of King Richard (Ian Hunter). He reigns havoc, raising taxes and torturing the towns people. Robin Hood leads Little John (Alan Hale, Sr.), Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette) and Will Scarlet (Patric Knowles) in the revolution. They rob from the rich and give to the poor. Robin Hood brings order to the forest, helps King Richard reclaim his throne and wins the love of Maid Marian.
This is a true swashbuckling movie and Flynn's most famous role. It is this film that inspired Robin Hood films for decades. Flynn's charismatic persona and acrobatic stunts demonstrate why he was such a popular matinee idol. Movies like this helped shape and define the action genre. It is a well done movie and lacks much of the over dramatic acting associated with early action films.