Review: The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)


Swashbuckling adventure has never been done better!

Screenplay By: Seton I. Miller & Normal Reilly Raine
Directed By: Michael Curtiz & William Keighley

I am one of those people who chases the feelings I once had as a child. I refuse to let my imagination die, because the imagination is a wonderful thing. I read books and comics, I watch movies and TV shows not just because I love engaging stories but because I am constantly in search of what fascinated me as a child. Sometimes it can be specific stories or characters, but more often than not is is a feeling. One of my favorites as a child was the exhilaration of make believe. Whether it was cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians it was a thrill to transport myself somewhere else in my mind. My grandmother had me reading titles like The Count Of Monte Cristo very early in my childhood and after that followed The Three Musketeers. From those stories was borne a love for the medieval landscape and for swashbuckling. It has always been a quest of mine to find a movie that perfectly captured my days as a swashbuckler, and while some have come close none ever fully measured up.

In The Adventures Of Robin Hood I have found a movie that brings back all my swashbuckling memories and perfectly replicates my fantasy world. This is a film that gets right to the rip roaring adventure, no clumsy back story is needed, things are acutely simple. There are bad guys and there are good guys, and evil must be met with the swift hand of justice. Layered stories are great, but every once in a while a story needs to be simplicity in action, playing upon our base emotions and ideas. The Adventures Of Robin Hood never goes beyond the basics, but it doesn’t need to because it’s perfect in its good versus evil simplicity.

This is a very vibrant movie, making full use of technicolor technology. The reds are bright, the greens are lush and the purples look absolutely royal. The set designs are fabulous, they look just as one imagines a fantasy land of evil and good would look. Castles look absolutely picture perfect, the forest is a panorama of trees, but the designs never get out of control, they are always simple and easy for the eye to take in.

The entirety of The Adventures Of Robin Hood has a carefree attitude about it. This isn’t a movie that is serious at all, this is a movie that is begging for you to sit down and have fun with it. None of the performances are especially great, but every actor buys into the material and it shows. The dialogue becomes a part of the story, obvious Robin Hood and his men must talk fast and be sly, while the Royal Court are slow and cumbersome with their verbiage. The Adventures Of Robin Hood plays on every idea one could ever have about the make believe world of gallant knights and evil lords.

There are comedic moments in The Adventures Of Robin Hood, as a matter of fact the carefree nature of the story means there are a lot of comedic moments. But, The Adventures Of Robin Hood is most known for its action and that is as it should be. Each and every action scene is well done, arrows fly into chests, the group battles take on a hurried nature and the sword thrusts are always rapid. The action is very simple and easy to follow, just as the battle between good and evil should be. That isn’t to say the action doesn’t have flourishes every once in a while. One cool moment is when an arrow pierces a soldiers back in a pub but on its path it glides over the top of a candle and extinguishes said candles flame.

The good guy gets the girl and vanquishes evil from the lands, such was the end of so many fantasy tales spun in my living room, kitchen, bedroom and backyard. Such is the ending of The Adventures Of Robin Hood, the perfect blend of imagination, childhood fancy and the classic tale of good versus evil. Anyone anywhere who has an imagination and knew how to utilize said imagination as a child should enjoy The Adventures Of Robin Hood, and if you don’t, well then clearly your soul was corrupted by some dark magician many ages ago!





2 responses to “Review: The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938)

  1. This was always one of my favorite movies as a kid, and I still love its sense of carefree adventure today. You can’t help but like this movie, you really can’t.

  2. Carefree adventure is a great way to describe this one, it’s simple fun.

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