THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (Michael Curtiz, 1938)
MoMA Film, Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Monday, June 22, 4:30
Series runs through August 5
Tickets: $12, in person only, may be applied to museum admission within thirty days, same-day screenings free with museum admission, available at Film and Media Desk beginning at 9:30 am
With King Richard the Lionheart (Ian Hunter) off fighting the Crusades, his scheming brother, Prince John (Claude Rains), has taken over England, planning to become king with the help of the conniving Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Basil Rathbone) and the cowardly Sheriff of Nottingham (Melville Cooper). But one brave man stands in his way, “an impudent, reckless rogue who goes around the shire stirring up the Saxons against authority,” according to the Bishop of the Black Canons (Montagu Love). “And he has the insolence to set himself up as a protector of the people.” Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn), better known as Robin Hood, is fiercely loyal to King Richard and will do anything to preserve the sanctity of the throne and fight for the rights of the common people as he occupies Sherwood Forest with his band of merry men in tights, including Will Scarlet (Patric Knowles), Little John (Alan Hale Sr.), Friar Tuck (Eugene Pallette), and Much (Herbert Mundin). He also falls for the lovely Maid Marian (Olivia de Havilland), King Richard’s ward whom John promises to Gisbourne. Directed with appropriate flair and fanfare by Michael Curtiz (Casablanca, Mildred Pierce) and William Keighley (Each Dawn I Die, The Man Who Came to Dinner), The Adventures of Robin Hood is a rollicking romp through the famous legend, complete with exciting fight scenes, lots of male camaraderie, and just the right touch of romance. Flynn and de Havilland, who ended up making eight films together, are magnetic as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, a classic love story mired in life-threatening danger. There have been numerous versions of Robin Hood, starring such actors as Douglas Fairbanks, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Patrick Bergin, Cary Elwes, and the voice of Brian Bedford, but there’s no Sir Robin quite like Flynn, who flits about with an endless supply of charm, humor, grace, and bravery. By the way, Marian’s horse, then known as Golden Cloud, was sold after the movie to Roy Rogers and was renamed Trigger, going on to have quite a career himself. Winner of Three Oscars (for art direction, editing, and original score — it lost Best Picture to Frank Capra’s You Can’t Take It with You) — The Adventures of Robin Hood is screening on June 22 at 4:30 as part of MoMA’s “Glorious Technicolor: From George Eastman House and Beyond” series, a celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of Technicolor, which continues through August 5 with such other delights as Vincente Minnelli’s Yolanda and the Thief, Roy Rowland’s The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. with George Pal’s And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, and Curtiz’s Sons of Liberty short with The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.