Monday, May 24, 2010

Robin Hood (1922)

As King Richard the Lionheart prepares to go on Crusade, his good friend and trusted knight Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, distinguishes himself in a tournament and wins the heart of Lady Marian Fitzwalter. In Richard's absence, however, his brother Prince John takes advantage of his position as regent to enrich himself and his cronies, squeezing every possible penny out of an increasingly distressed populace until a grassroots resistance begins to coalesce around a certain merry outlaw in Sherwood Forest.

Douglas Fairbanks as Huntingdon/Robin, Wallace Beery as Richard, and Alan Hale as Huntingdon's squire/Little John: how can you go wrong?  It probably says something that two days after I watched the DVD I don't remember the actress who played Marian, though.

Interesting take on the legends.  There's no trace of the Norman/Saxon tensions that would be so prominent in the gloriously Technicolor Errol Flynn version sixteen years later, and certainly no hint of the pagan mysticism of even more recent versions.  Robert is seen to accompany King Richard on Crusade, but never reaches the Holy Land, so there's no chance of adding a Muslim to the merry men. 

I watched this with my brother, who fell asleep in the first thirty minutes.  It's pretty long for a silent movie, but I found it entertaining.

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