Monday, February 8, 2010

Merry Men

As part of TCM’s Oscar month, “The Adventures of Robin Hood played the other night and I was able to catch and to enjoy immensely the last half hour or so.

This 1938 movie starred Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains.

I’ll give you a hint.

Rathbone played neither Maid Marian nor Friar Tuck.

What made the movie so much fun was Flynn’s cheeky charm and Olivia’s ethereal beauty.

There was a full and necessary slate of sword fighting and arrows falling we know not where, but the over-all take by director Michael Curtiz was lightness and feather touch.

This is, after all, a kind of fairy tale.

But that is all about to change, children.

Any moment now the new Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe monstrosity, “Robin Hood”, will overwhelm your neighbourhood screens.

Crowe was born to play “brute.”

He specializes in brute force.

Crowe and Scott were the pair who brought you “Gladiator.”

Do you remember anything from this movie? I don’t.

Here’s what the new “Robin Hood” will offer.

Heads hacked in two by axes.

Severed arteries exposed by missing limbs spurting blood in your face.

The intensity and mystery and neuroses of Cate Blanchett.

I can’t wait till this team tackles Sir Galahad.

Then Snow White with Roman Polanski playing all seven dwarfs.


Anonymous said...

I watched The Adventures of Robin Hood last week and enjoyed it thoroughly. They don't make 'em like that anymore and we are the poorer for it. Rathbone shines in the movie as Guy of Gisbourne.


Anonymous said...

I cannot criticize a person's taste in movies. You have your tastes, and I have mine. I happen to like Gladiator, as much for the stellar performances by supporting cast members such as Oliver Reed, Derek Jacobi, and Joachim Phoenix, as Russell Crowe himself. (Although you say he plays only brutes, have you not seen "A Beautiful Mind" or "The Insider"?)

As for the gore that will be on display in Ridley Scott's new "Robin Hood", this isn't something new for that character. Sometime in the mid-70s a picture named "Robin and Marian" came out featuring Sean Connery (who, like Basil Rathbone, didn't play Maid Marian either - that role went to Audrey Hepburn). I recall there was a fair amount of gore in that one, especially during a duel near the end of the film between Connery and Robert Shaw (the Sheriff of Nottingham).

I guess I don't mind the violence in the films so much because I feel quite fortunate to live a fairly safe and prosperous life, in a fairly civilized environment. People in ancient and medieval times generally didn't. I do, however, share your desire to see movies made in a more old-fashioned way. Wouldn't it be nice to see a decent original musical along the lines of "Singing in the Rain" or "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" be made? One can only hope.

Craig Y.