Swashbuckling Adventures, Free Fall Film Series at the Norwich Public Library
The Adventures of Robin Hood: Film Review
Kicking things off for the Norwich Public Library’s Swashbuckler Adventures Series is The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1938. While not the first swashbuckler film, this film is certainly still among the best and most influential of the genre. The technicolor masterpiece from 1938 has it all: great swordplay scenes, humor, adventure, and a musical score to match its jolly romp nature. This film epitomises the term “they don’t make ‘em like they used to.”
What makes The Adventures of Robin Hood so good is that straight off the bat you know that this is not some dark, serious fare. No, this is a pure fun adventure film. Errol Flynn, three years off the success of his breakout role in Captain Blood (1935), fits the mold of the dashing classic adventure hero perfectly. He comes in with a “do gooder happy attitude” that boosts the film with loads of energy. Olivia DeHavilland is equally great and stunning as his love interest, the beautiful Maid Marian, while Basil Rathbone plays the dastardly Guy of Gisborne and Claude Rains is the cowardly villain, Prince John.
Aided by Erich Von Korngold’s whimsical and heavily inspirational adventure musical score, Robin Hood springs into action. The film features some of cinema’s finest rollicking fight scenes as Robin Hood and his merry men, in classic tradition, take from the rich and give to the poor. The climactic sword fight between Robin Hood and Guy Gisborne is nothing short of exhilarating. The camerawork compliments the action and the scene is supported by long cuts, wide angles, and a steady camera building to a thrilling climax. Modern films should seriously take more inspiration from this scene. It’s how you do an action sequence.
Even eighty years after its release, it’s remarkable just how much The Adventures of Robin Hood holds up. Its influence can be seen on every adventure and swashbuckler film since, and Errol Flynn remains the definitive portrayal of the titular hero. Please join us Saturday, September 15, 1:00 PM, at the Norwich Public Library. There is no charge and you certainly won’t be disappointed, because it’s about as good as classic cinema gets.
Playing in Norwich on Saturday, September 15, at 1:00 PM. Other Swashbuckler Adventure Films to come, are The Princess Bride (October 20), The Mask of Zorro (November 17), and Stardust (December 15).