The Film & Water Podcast Episode 28: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Rob Kelly welcomes new guest Gene Hendricks (THE HAMMER PODCASTS) to discuss one of the greatest adventure films ever made, 1938’s tHE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Claude Rains, and Basil Rathbone! We speak treason fluently!

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3 responses to “The Film & Water Podcast Episode 28: The Adventures of Robin Hood

  1. What a great episode about one of my favorite films! All Robin Hood adaptations begin and end here, although I do like Disney’s animated take. And okay, I’ll admit it, the Costner version is a guilty pleasure. But they have yet to top this classic.

    When you are talking Myths and Legends, Gene brings the thunder. Always great to hear him on any show, and he dropped some knowledge here for sure.

    Rob, I totally agree with you on Robin Hood and similar heroes being the gateway to “standard” literature from comics. As a kid, I was aware of Robin Hood, but I remember getting a copy of The Best of DC Digest #26, featuring old Brave and the Bold reprints, including Robin Hood. That really turned me on to the character, and soon I was spending a lot of time in my school library reading any Robin Hood book I could find, and also firing LOTS of suction-cup arrows in my back yard!

    I’m also happy to report both of my kids like this film, and have watched it with me numerous times. It does indeed hold up!

    Great show!


  2. So, is this a favorite movie? Well, let me paint a picture of where I am writing this. My computer room contains my library, filled with novels of mystery, fantasy adventure, and history; graphic novels and trade paperbacks and various reference and art/photo books. On the walls of this room are a few images: a reproduction of the NC Wyeth cover of Treasure Island, the movie poster of the Richard Lester version of The Three Musketeers, and the movie poster for Tyrone Power’s The Mark of Zorro. Then on opposing walls are a sketch of Robin Hood, drawn by Mike Grell, and the poster of The Adventures of Robin Hood. I love ;swashbucklers, as you say, they are the DNA of superheroes. This is the greatest adventure movie of all time.

    I love Flynn in this. He has grown as an actor and seems like he is having a ball. This is what superhero movies should be like: villains you hate and despise, heroes who dive into crowds and laugh at danger and love interests who can take care of themselves; but, occasionally need a little help. Add to it the marvelous collection of character actors and you have a near-perfect film.

    One thing worth mentioning, in popularizing Robin Hood and in inspiring much of the plot of this film, is Howard Pyle’s The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood. It was published by Scribners, who also published Pyle’s The Story of King Arthur and His Knights and Men of Iron, which was adapted into the Tony Curtis film, The Black Shield of Falworth. Pyle combined various legends of Robin Hood and gave them a modern gloss, which was an instant hit. Pyle’s illustrations helped immensely, as the Scribners’ book were known for their great illustrators (people like Pyle, Maxfield Parrish, and NC Wyeth). That book brought Robin Hood to generations of young readers, who saw the book come to life with Errol Flynn.

    I first saw the movie on WGN’s Family Classics, hosted by Frasier Thomas (a long-standing institution on Chicago’s WGN Sunday afternoon line-up). Family Classics showed all of the great swashbucklers, like this, Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk, The Black Swan, The Black Shield of Falworth, and similar films. Nothing made going back to school in 24 hours more palatable than swords flailing and arrows flying.

    Like any great heroic movie, the hero is only as good as his villain and Basil Rathbone did it best. His sheriff and Captain Esteban made you want to boo, with their smug sneers, and pompous strides. You love watching them get their comeuppance.

    There is a short subject with Howard Hill demonstrating trick shots from the film, which is included on the Warner Night at the Movies edition of the dvd. The distance at which he shoots is a bit disappointing, compared to what the movie suggests; but, the shots are amazing. Of course, Mike Grell retrofitted Hill into Green Arrow’s origin, as the man who first teaches Ollie Queen to shoot a bow.

    A nice bookend to this film is the more serious Robin and Marion, with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. This is Robin at the end of his life, who has become disenchanted with service in Richard’s army and the slaughter of the Crusades. Marion attempted to take her life, after Robin left, survived and joined a convent. They are brought back together and Robin leads one last battle against the sheriff, King John, and his latest oaf. Robert Shaw is the sheriff and he has greater respect for Robin; but still does his duty. It’s a great little, seldom-seen film. It’s far more serious and cynical, though; but, living legends rarely age well.

  3. Hi Rob!

    There are so many podcasts to listen to and so little time, but I am quite upset that Ruth and I didn’t get around to listening to this fabulous episode until a month after it was released. Legends like Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Zorro are among mine and Ruth’s favorite stories and we love the variety and depth to the many stories.

    We enjoy the Robin Hood legend so much that when we were able to go to the UK, we made a point to visit Sherwood Forest and Nottingham. They are truly magical places.

    This movie is fantastic and you and Gene provided great commentary and insight. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I also want to say I completely agree with your separation of the terms “action” and “adventure”. While most people lump them together as a single category of Action/Adventure, I always disagreed. The two genres are related, but they are not the same and I much prefer a good Adventure story to an Action story.

    Thanks for a great show as always!


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