Screened as part of NZIFF 2008
It’s always the perfect time for this perennially popular adventure classic – “stirring for children and intensely nostalgic for adults“, in the words of Pauline Kael. Seventy years on and never bettered, Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland remain the indelible figures of Robin and Marian.
“William Keighley and Michael Curtiz’s rambunctious 1938 masterpiece – and Hollywood’s definitive swashbuckler – is back... In the most engaging performance of his career, Errol Flynn is jaunty, romantic, and larger than life, but also slyly funny as the Saxon knight who takes on the nasty Normans who have usurped the rule of England while King Richard has been out of town liberating the Holy Land from the ’infidels’. Flynn’s magnificent climactic battle with villain Basil Rathbone is a model of the genre, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s magical, Oscar-winning music delineates all the characters as it strides and lilts along. Robin Hood is movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place.“ — Elliott Stein, Village Voice
“The Adventures of Robin Hood was made with sublime innocence and breathtaking artistry, at a time when its simple values rang true. In these cynical days when swashbucklers cannot be presented without an ironic subtext, this great 1938 film exists in an eternal summer of bravery and romance. We require no Freudian subtext, no revisionist analysis; it is enough that Robin wants to rob the rich, pay the poor and defend the Saxons not against all Normans, only the bad ones: ’It’s injustice I hate, not the Normans’." — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times