Showing posts with label Robin Hood. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robin Hood. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Review: Walt Disney's "ROBIN HOOD" is the Non-Classic Disney Classic

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 44 of 2023 (No. 1933) by Leroy Douresseaux

Robin Hood (1973) – animation
Running time:  83 minutes (1 hour, 23 minutes)
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR:  Wolfgang Reitherman
WRITERS:  Larry Clemons; based on story and character concepts by Ken Anderson
EDITORS:  Tom Acosta and Jim Melton
COMPOSER:  George Bruns
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  (voices) Brian Bedford, Phil Harris, Roger Miller, Peter Ustinov, Terry-Thomas, Monica Evans, Andy Devine, Carole Shelley, Pat Buttram, George Lindsey, and Ken Curtis

Robin Hood is a 1973 animated musical-comedy and fantasy-adventure film produced and directed by Wolfgang Reitherman.  It is also the twenty-first feature-length animated film from Walt Disney Productions, part of a line also known as the “Disney Classics.”  The film is based on the English folklore character, Robin Hood, and the stories that have grown around the character.  Disney's 1953 Robin Hood film depicts the legendary outlaw and the cast of characters around his legend as anthropomorphic animals (animals that talk and act like humans)

Robin Hood opens with the story's narrator, Alan-a-Dale – The Rooster (Roger Miller), saying that there are many stories of Robin Hood, but that the one he is about to tell takes place in the world of animals.  He introduces Robin Hood – A Fox (Brian Bedford) and Little John – A Brown Bear (Phil Harris).  They are outlaws and live in Sherwood Forest.  They rob from the rich in order to give gold coins to the overtaxed citizens of the town of Nottingham.

The Sheriff of Nottingham – A Wolf (Pat Buttram) tries to catch the two, but he fails every time.  The sheriff's failure to capture the outlaws irritates Prince John – A Lion (Peter Ustinov).  John is the “Prince Regent” of England while his older brother, King Richard – A Lion (Peter Ustinov), is out of the country fighting in the Third Crusade.  Prince John and his advisor, Sir Hiss – A Snake (Terry-Thomas), plot to end the nuisance of Robin Hood.  Prince John also demands that the Sheriff tax the poor townsfolk of Nottingham excessively, driving many to abject poverty.

Meanwhile, Robin's attention is not entirely focused on robbing the rich.  He wishes to reunite with his love interest, Maid Marian – A Vixen (Monica Evans), who is also the niece of King Richard.  And Prince John's latest plot to catch Robin Hood may just reunite Robin and Marian.  Can their love survive an increasingly enraged Prince John?

As “DVD Netflix” prepares to shutdown, I've been racing to catch up on certain films that I have never seen or have not seen in a long time.  I recently decided to sample some films in which 2023 is the fiftieth anniversary of their original theatrical releases.  That includes such films as Woody Allen's Sleeper, George Lucas' American Graffiti, and the Bruce Lee classic, Enter the Dragon.

Walt Disney's Robin Hood is one of those films celebrating a 50th anniversary, and it is one of the Disney animated classics that I had never seen prior to now.  I am a fan of Robin Hood films, especially the 1991 Kevin Costner vehicle, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  I also like Ridley Scott's 2010 film, Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe in the title role.  I found some enjoyment in Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse, a 2012 direct-to-DVD film.  [Robin Hood makes a small appearance in director Richard Thorpe's “Best Picture” Oscar nominee, Ivanhoe (1952), which I have seen a few times on Turner Classic Movies.]

Disney's Robin Hood is an odd film.  First, it isn't an origin story, and takes place, apparently, well into Robin's career as an outlaw.  While Alan-o-Dale mentions “the Merry Men,” Robin's legendary band of outlaws, Little John is the only one that appears in this film.  Friar Tuck – A Badger (Andy Devine) does appear, but he seems to be purely the priest of Nottingham – more a beneficiary of Robin's outlaw activities than a participant.  For me, this makes the film seem under-developed, as if it we are getting half of the intended story.

Apparently, using the the American “Deep South” as a setting for this film was considered, but ultimately the chosen locale was Robin Hood's traditional English setting.  However, Roger Miller, who provides the talking and singing voice of Alan-o-Dale, is best known for his honky-tonk inflected country music and novelty songs, so much of Miller's performance here seems out of place.  Miller's Alan-o-Dale has the flavors of America's rural South, which somewhat clashes with the English setting.  Still, I tend to like Miller's narrating and singing in Robin Hood, although this film's best song is the Oscar-nominated “Love,” written by George Bruns and Floyd Huddleston.

To begin, Robin Hood feels muddled, and it really does not find its narrative flow until about 37 minutes into the film.  At that point, the characters really emerge as they take their places within the story.  The action turns lively, and the animation and animation effects start to stand out.  The voice performances overall are good, but not great – nothing that I would call memorable in the context of the great performances in other Disney animated classics.  Walt Disney's Robin Hood does not exactly miss the mark, but it does not hit the bullseye, either.

6 of 10
★★★ out of 4 stars

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

1974 Academy Awards, USA:  1 nomination: “Best Music, Original Song” (George Bruns-music and Floyd Huddleston-lyrics for the song “Love”)

The text is copyright © 2023 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: "Ivanhoe" is a Family-Safe Adventure (Remembering George Sanders)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 110 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Ivanhoe (1952)
Running time:  106 minutes (1 hour, 46 minutes)
DIRECTOR:  Richard Thorpe
WRITERS:  Noel Langley and Marguerite Roberts, from an adaptation by Æneas McKenzie (based on the novel by Sir Walter Scott)
PRODUCER:  Pandro S. Berman
EDITOR:  Frank Clarke
COMPOSER:  Miklos Rozsa
Academy Award nominee


Starring:  Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Emlyn Williams, Robert Douglas, Finlay Currie, Felix Aylmer, Francis De Wolff, Norman Wooland, Basil Sydney, Harold Warrender, Sebastian Cabot, and Guy Rolfe

The subject of this movie review is Ivanhoe, a 1952 historical drama and romantic film from director Richard Thorpe.  The film is an adaptation of the novel, Ivanhoe, written by Sir Walter Scott and first published in 1819 (or 1820).  Ivanhoe the film is set in 12th century England and follows a knight who seeks to free the captive King Richard and to restore him to the English throne.

Three writers adapted the novel for the 1952 film, although one of them, Marguerite Roberts, originally did not receive screen credit for her contributions to the screenplay.  After the House on Un-American Activities Committee blacklisted Roberts, MGM apparently received permission from the Screen Writers Guild not to give Robert’s a screen credit in the film, as was her due.

In the film Ivanhoe, medieval chivalry comes to life in wonderful Technicolor.  Returning to England from the Crusades via Europe, Ivanhoe (Robert Taylor) discovers that Richard the Lionhearted (Norman Wooland) is a captive of an Austrian noble.  He hurries back to England only to learn that Richard’s brother Prince John (Guy Rolfe) has assumed the throne as if his brother is dead, and Prince John has no intention of paying the huge ransom the Austrian demands for Richard release.  Ivanhoe returns to his father Sir Cedric (Finlay Currie), a Saxon Lord, who disowned Ivanhoe for joining the Norman Richard in the Crusades.

Spurned again by his father, Ivanhoe seeks help from Isaac of York (Felix Aylmer), the leader of the Jewish people in England, who rallies his people to raise the ransom for Richard.  Meanwhile, Isaac’s daughter Rebecca (Elizabeth Taylor) falls for Ivanhoe, but Rebecca also has a Norman suitor in John’s ally, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert (George Sanders).  Eventually, John pits Ivanhoe against Sir Bois-Guilbert in a duel to save Rebecca from being burned at the stake as a witch.

Based upon Sir Walter’s Scott’s novel of the same title, Ivanhoe is a tale of courtly love and Saxon honor.  If you liked The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, you’ll probably like this film, although it isn’t as good as Robin Hood.  It’s an old fashioned romantic adventure with British accents, kooky swordplay, colorful and outlandish theatrical costumes, and an appearance by Locksley (Harold Warrender), otherwise known as Robin Hood.  It’s fun, though too often stiff and dull, but there’s an audience for this.  It received three Oscar® nominations, including one for “Best Picture” and one for its beautiful and soaring romantic score.  People who like films set in “Merry Ole England” will very likely enjoy Ivanhoe, and truthfully, it’s a family safe adventure film for young boys.

5 of 10

1953: Academy Awards, USA:  3 nominations: “Best Picture” (Pandro S. Berman), “Best Cinematography, Color” (Freddie Young), and “Best Music, Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture” (Miklós Rózsa)

1953 Golden Globes, USA:  2 nominations: “Best Motion Picture Score” (Miklós Rózsa) and “Best Film Promoting International Understanding”

Updates:  Friday, April 25, 2014

The text is copyright © 2014 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for syndication rights and fees.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review: Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 96 (of 2012) by Leroy Douresseaux

Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse (2012) – straight-to-video
Running time: 58 minutes
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS: Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone
WRITERS: Earl Kress and Michael F. Ryan; from a story by Earl Kress
EDITOR: Kyle Stafford
COMPOSER: Michael Tavera
SONGS: Michael Tavera, Scott Bradley, Spike Brandt, Alan Burnett, and Michael F. Ryan
ANIMATION STUDIO: Yearim Productions Co. Ltd.


Starring: (voices) Jamie Bamber, Charles Shaughnessy, John Michael Higgins, Grey DeLisle, Joe Alaskey, John DiMaggio, Clive Revill, Phil LaMarr, Richard McGonagle, Greg Ellis, and Jess Harnell

Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse is a 2012 animated direct-to-video film starring the famous cartoon cat and mouse duo, Tom and Jerry. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, this film basically takes Tom and Jerry and places them in a cartoon version of the 1938 Warner Bros. film, The Adventures of Robin Hood, which starred Errol Flynn as Robin Hood. The cartoon Robin Hood in Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse is essentially a caricature of Flynn’s Robin Hood.

Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse is set in a time similar to the High Middle Ages. Prince John (John Michael Higgins) rules England while his brother, King Richard the Lionheart (Clive Revill), is out of the country fighting in the Crusades. Living in Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood (Jamie Bamber) and his Merry Men rob the rich of their coin and treasure and give that loot to the poor.

The Sheriff of Nottingham (Charles Shaughnessy) is determined to capture Robin Hood and tells his boss, Prince John, that he believes that Robin has a spy in the castle. The Sheriff sends his cat-at-arms, Thomas Cat, to capture the spy. Tom catches Jerry Mouse attempting to contact Maid Marian (Grey DeLisle), who is secretly romancing Robin. Thus, cat and mouse begin their small, private war. When the scope of Prince John’s schemes are revealed, however, enemies may have to become friends in order to save both the throne and England.

I didn’t expect much of Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse, but it turned out to be rather entertaining. The art direction for the animation is just a little on the high side of the work that appears in direct-to-DVD productions from Warner Bros. Animation. A faux-musical, the movie’s songs are good. Actually, the songs are surprisingly good, a little better than I would expect of a straight-to-video cartoon.

By the time, Tom and Jerry: Robin Hood and His Merry Mouse ended, I would have enjoyed a little more, so I’ll recommend it to those who have seen other Tom and Jerry DVD movies.

6 of 10

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations Complete List

Tonight is the Screen Actors Guild Awards.  Now, that The King's Speech has won both the Producers Guild and (last night) Directors Guild Awards, all eyes will be on the winner of "Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture," the Screen Actors Guild's (SGA) version of a best picture award.  A win by The King's Speech more likely than not means that this film will win the best picture Academy Award:

2011 Screen Actors Guild Award Nominees:

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Black Swan (2010)
The Fighter (2010)
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
The King's Speech (2010)
The Social Network (2010)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Jeff Bridges for True Grit
Robert Duvall for Get Low
Jesse Eisenberg for The Social Network
Colin Firth for The King's Speech
James Franco for 127 Hours

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Kidman for Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence for Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman for Black Swan
Hilary Swank for Conviction

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale for The Fighter
John Hawkes for Winter's Bone
Jeremy Renner for The Town
Mark Ruffalo for The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush for The King's Speech

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams for The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter for The King's Speech
Mila Kunis for Black Swan
Melissa Leo for The Fighter
Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
"30 Rock" (2006)
"Glee" (2009)
"Hot in Cleveland" (2010)
"Modern Family" (2009)
"The Office" (2005)

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
"Boardwalk Empire" (2009)
"The Closer" (2005)
"Dexter" (2006)
"The Good Wife" (2009)
"Mad Men" (2007)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin for "30 Rock"
Ty Burrell for "Modern Family"
Steve Carell for "The Office"
Chris Colfer for "Glee"
Ed O'Neill for "Modern Family"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Edie Falco for "Nurse Jackie"
Tina Fey for "30 Rock"
Jane Lynch for "Glee"
Sofía Vergara for "Modern Family"
Betty White for "Hot in Cleveland"

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Steve Buscemi for "Boardwalk Empire"
Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad"
Michael C. Hall for "Dexter"
Jon Hamm for "Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie for "House M.D."

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Glenn Close for "Damages"
Mariska Hargitay for "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"
Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife"
Elisabeth Moss for "Mad Men"
Kyra Sedgwick for "The Closer"

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
John Goodman for You Don't Know Jack
Al Pacino for You Don't Know Jack
Dennis Quaid for The Special Relationship
Édgar Ramírez for "Carlos"
Patrick Stewart for Macbeth

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries
Claire Danes for Temple Grandin
Catherine O'Hara for Temple Grandin
Julia Ormond for Temple Grandin
Winona Ryder for When Love Is Not Enough: The Lois Wilson Story
Susan Sarandon for You Don't Know Jack

SAG Honors for Stunt Ensembles

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Green Zone
Robin Hood

Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series
Burn Notice
True Blood

47th Life Achievement Award:
Ernest Borgnine

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Braveheart + Gladiator = Russell Crowe's (Pre) Robin Hood

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 87 (of 2010) by Leroy Douresseaux

Robin Hood (2010)
Running time: 140 minutes (2 hours, 20 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for violence including intense sequences of warfare, and some sexual content
DIRECTOR: Ridley Scott
WRITERS: Brian Helgeland; from a story by Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris and Brian Helgeland
PRODUCERS: Russell Crowe, Brian Grazer, and Ridley Scott
EDITOR: Pietro Scalia


Starring: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Max von Sydow, William Hurt, Mark Strong, Oscar Isaac, Danny Huston, Eileen Atkins, Mark Addy, Matthew Macfadyen, Kevin Durand, Scott Grimes, Alan Doyle, Douglas Hodge, Lisa Seydoux, Jonathan Zaccai, and Jack Downham

Back in 2000, Ridley Scott unleashed his Roman costume drama/action movie, Gladiator. The film was a big box office hit and turned its lead, Russell Crowe, into a major movie star. Gladiator went on to win several Academy Awards, including “Best Picture” and a “Best Actor” Oscar for Crowe. Scott and Crowe have worked together since then, but those films have not been as successful as Gladiator.

Scott and Crowe distilled the manly man of honor essence of Gladiator and put it into their recent film, Robin Hood, but this movie is not like other Robin Hood movies. The Scott/Crowe Robin Hood isn’t a reinvention or re-imagining or anything like that. It is a kind of prequel, essentially asking the question of what would have turned a man into an outlaw like Robin Hood. This is the story of how, when, and why Robin Hood came to be, and the story goes like this…

It is 1199, and as the Third Crusade comes to an end, Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston) continues his war against Philip II of France (Jonathan Zaccai). In the siege of Chalus Castle, Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer. Following the death of Richard, Robin and two other common archers, Alan A’Dale (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlet (Scott Grimes), and the soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) make an attempt to return home to England after 10 years away. The quartet arrives at the site of an ambush of the Royal guard. There, Robin makes a promise to a dying knight, Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return a sword to his father, Sir Walter Loxley (Max von Sydow), in Nottingham.

Impersonating Loxley, Robin returns to England to find the land beset by the ill rule of Richard’s brother, now King John (Oscar Isaac). Robin and his companions travel to Nottingham where he meets Loxley’s now-widowed wife, Lady Marian (Cate Blanchett), and Sir Walter, who is old and blind. Walter asks Robin to continue to impersonate his son in order to keep his family lands from being taken by the crown for taxes. In fact, Prince John sends his henchman, Sir Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight secretly aligned with the French, across England to collect taxes from everyone by any means necessary. Robin fights back, but soon discovers that England has bigger problems than out of control tax collectors. Now, Robin Longstride must lead the fight to save the country.

Robin Hood is a rousing adventure combat movie. It isn’t Ridley Scott’s best work (or anywhere near that), nor is it Crowe’s best work. Neither, however, seems on automatic. Crowe is a superb actor and consummate craftsman; it may seem as if he is in cruise control mode here. Crowe just makes it look easy, and perhaps, Scott does the same in this movie. The truth is Robin Hood is very well made and quite entertaining, except for a small dry spell in the second hour of the movie.

Perhaps, it is easy to take this film and the people behind it for granted. I marveled at the high-quality performances throughout. Cate Blanchett gives a strong turn and fashions a forceful character out of the well-worn, almost stock character, Maid Marian. Mark Strong is, as usual, strong as the villain – in this case, the conniving Godfrey, and Oscar Isaac is award nomination-worthy for his creation of the unashamedly jealous King John.

I thought of Gladiator and Braveheart while watching this new take on Robin Hood. I certainly like its depiction of how lowly, common men sacrifice their lives and spend years away from their families to fight wars started by a small circle of vain royalty. After expending so much blood and sweat, they get nothing in return and even have to fight to find a way home on their own. That much is relevant to our modern times. Scott, Crowe, and screenwriter Brian Helgeland get it right. That injustice is reason enough to turn a man into an outlaw, and reason enough for me to enjoy Robin Hood.

7 of 10

Friday, October 29, 2010


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Review: Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood" is Flick Still Fun

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 37 (of 2005) by Leroy Douresseaux

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Running time: 143 minutes (2 hours, 23 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13
DIRECTOR: Kevin Reynolds
WRITERS: Pen Densham and John Watson (from a story by Pen Densham)
PRODUCERS: Pen Densham, John Watson, and Richard B. (Barton) Lewis with Kevin Costner (no screen credit)
EDITOR: Peter Boyle
Academy Award nominee

ADVENTURE/ROMANCE/DRAMA with elements of action and comedy

Starring: Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Christian Slater, Alan Rickman, Geraldine McEwan, Michael McShane, Michael Wincott, Nick Brimble, and Soo Drouet with (uncredited) Sean Connery

Plagued by controversy, Kevin Costner’s reworking of the Robin Hood legend, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the first blockbuster hit of 1991 and finished the year in the top five highest grossing films. On the way to the screen, Costner and his producing partners (Costner doesn’t actually get screen credit for his role as a producer) locked director Kevin Reynolds (Costner’s friend at the time) and editor Peter Boyle out of the editing room in order to cut their own version of the film.

Critics and fans panned Costner for his wooden acting, stiff speaking style, and bad English accent or half-accent, but the movie is entertaining. It’s not Errol Flynn’s The Adventures of Robin Hood (of which I find critical and fan opinion a tad bit overblown), but Prince of Thieves is rousing entertainment. Despite it’s almost television movie quality, Robin Hood is charming with its humor, slightly cheesy romance, and stirring adventure.

In this version, Robin of Locksley (Costner) returns from the Third Crusades with a foreign friend, the Moor Azeem (Morgan Freeman). Robin finds his father dead and his lands dispossessed to the Sheriff of Nottingham (Alan Rickman). Nottingham is starving the poor peasants and stealing their money, as well as gold and other treasures in order to create a large enough bribe to get the English barons to join him in a revolt against the still-missing King Richard the Lionhearted. Locksley becomes Robin Hood and joins a band of peasants hiding in Sherwood Forest. He convinces them to follow his lead in a revolt against Nottingham. Robin also has time to romance a childhood friend, Marian Dubois or “Maid Marian” (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who is also the flower of Nottingham’s eye.

Alan Rickman drew very favorable responses, even raves, for his performance as Nottingham, and he gives the film a decided edge with his gallows humor and his odd combination of self-deprecation and egotism. His Nottingham serves to make Costner’s stiff Robin Hood really seem like a bold and brave leader against Nottingham’s tyranny. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is a lovely presence and she brings enchantment to the Robin and Marian romance. This isn’t a great film, but Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is a simple film that gives simple pleasures.

6 of 10

1992 Academy Awards: 1 nomination: “Best Music, Original Song” (Michael Kamen-music, Bryan Adams-lyrics, and Robert John Lange-lyrics for the song "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You")

1992 BAFTA Awards: 1 win: “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” (Alan Rickman) and 1 nomination: “Best Costume Design” (John Bloomfield)

1992 Golden Globes: 2 nominations: “Best Original Score - Motion Picture” (Michael Kamen) and “Best Original Song - Motion Picture” (Michael Kamen-music, Bryan Adams-lyrics, and Robert John Lange-lyrics for the song "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You")