Cast and Crew: Michael Curtiz (Director); Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale
What It’s About: Sir Robert of Locksley (Errol Flynn), a Saxon nobleman loyal to (Norman) King Richard, lives as a brigand in the forest in protest of the illegitimate and rapacious (also Norman) regime of Prince John (Claude Rains with odd hair coloring) and his henchman, Sir Guy of Gisbourne (a razor-sharp Basil Rathbone). After enlisting some henchmen of his own (Friar Tuck and Little John, played by familiar Flynn sidekick Alan Hale) and abducting royal ward Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland) during a successful highway robbery, Robin Hood convinces her of the righteousness of his cause and the two spend the remainder of the film rescuing one another from the machinations of Prince John and company. Nominated for Best Picture, the film won Oscars for Art Direction, Film Editing and Original Score.
Why Watch it Today?: Celebrate Tax Day with a movie about the redistribution of wealth. Of course, if the IRS sent Errol Flynn and a bunch of stunt men in green tights, dancing and singing while helping themselves to your 25% (or 15%, or 28%, or whatever it is you may pay), they might be a bit more popular in their efforts to take from the rich and give to the poor. There are many, many, many Robin Hood films, and many of them are good — but this is the one classic to rule them all. Enjoy.
You could also cast the IRS as the Sheriff, collecting the heavy taxes that Prince John imposes on the people that prompt Robin’s actions rather than IRS as Robin Hood redistributing wealth…;) This is absolutely the one classic Robin Hood to rule them all, I’d agree, really hard to do better than Flynn for swashbuckling movies!
I went and saw this one at the Brattle a few years back when they were doing a Flynn retrospective, and the choreography was pretty fun on the big screen. All these gymnastic extras who, in the world of CGI (think 300) are no longer needed. Though, you do occasionally still get some fun crowd fighting in Hong Kong movies. I like your IRS-as-Sheriff reading… so many ways to celebrate hating taxes!
It makes me so sad that we no longer get to have things like actual extras, actual sets (or better actual locations), practical blood, stunts, just about anything CGI has replaced except miniatures, matte paintings and stop motion animation.
Yeah, Errol Flynn was pretty spot on in these type of films. He seemed so committed to these roles and didn’t play them tongue-in-cheek. Terribly underrated actor!