ROBIN HOOD has been attempted numerous times on the big screen and the small, however like 2018s Otto Bathurst’s directed film, most of those attempts have under whelmed at best, and been plain awful at worst.
There are only two GREAT, ICONIC versions of ROBIN HOOD, one of course is the classic 1938 Michael Curtiz directed ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD starring the great Errol Flynn. A film directed by one of the greatest directors, of any era, starring an actor who really defined the concept of a… STAR (All caps). Errol Flynn is the quintessential star, really setting the mold that generations of actors since have rushed to fill. Also Basil Rathbone,one of the consumate actors, and one of the defining villain performances, another of the great actors that festoon The film is replete with bests, best cinematography, best color photography, best weapons master, best sword fight. It all adds up to a seminal Robin Hood film. Eighty years later and despite numerous attempts and remakes, that Curtiz film has yet to be equaled, leaving all other versions solidly in the dust, save one.
That one is Richard Carpenter’s completely original and ground breaking 1980s British TV show ROBIN OF SHERWOOD. An immediate cult hit with those of us at the time smart enough to catch it courtesy of PBS in the United States, the show truly was a writer taking the done to death fable of ROBIN HOOD places it has never been before. Adding elements to it that have since been ripped off and appropriated by other creators, but here done first and best. From the addition of a Moor to the myth of Robin Hood, to magical elements, to Camelot tinged relics, to just hungry young actors, stunt men, writers, and directors, creating a whole new visual language to tell a whole new take on Robin of’ the Hood.
As a kid it staggered me as television at its finest. Here as an adult, decades removed from the kid, it holds up, particularly the 1st and 2nd seasons, as television as high art. To the point where all attempts to tell a ROBIN HOOD story on film or TV since, such as the most recent ROBIN HOOD film, or even the recent BBC Robin Hood TV show, fail dreadfully in comparison.
You can see for yourself courtesy of Amazon Prime. I’ll complete this entry tonight with pictures, links, and additional details, but in short if you want Robin Hood at his best, get both the 1938 Curtiz film, and the 1980s Carpenter TV series.
They are the best of the best.