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Amid big-budget medieval pageantry, King Richard goes on the Crusades leaving his brother Prince John as regent, who promptly emerges as a cruel, grasping, treacherous tyrant. Apprised of England's peril by message from his lady-love Marian, the dashing Earl of Huntingdon endangers his life and honor by returning to oppose John, but finds himself and his friends outlawed, and Marian apparently dead. Enter Robin Hood, acrobatic champion of the oppressed, laboring to set things right through swash buckling feats and cliffhanging perils! Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Another Legend Brought to Life by Douglas Fairbanks
King Richard leaves for the Holy Land on Crusade, taking with him the flower of England's knighthood. Left behind, his wicked younger brother, Prince John, quickly turns despot & begins to oppress the people. Only the Lionheart's dearest friend, the Earl of Huntingdon, has wits quick enough to thwart John & protect the Kingdom until Richard's return. This he does in disguise as an outlaw, taking the name of ROBIN HOOD.
This was Douglas Fairbanks' exciting homage to one of our greatest legends. The film is full of pomp & pageantry and if Fairbanks' style of acting seems to have dated, that does not in the least detract from the pure enjoyment of watching this silent epic. The archaic wording of many of the title cards can be a trifle annoying, but it's important to remember that Fairbanks was trying to impart an authentic medieval flavour to the film.
Wallace Beery is a bluff & hearty Richard. Sam De Grasse makes a fine villain as John, while Enid Bennett is lovely as the Lady Marian. Alan Hale plays Little John, a role he would assume again 16 years later in the Errol Flynn version.
Huntingdon does not become Robin Hood until more than half the film has passed. Then the action really livens up & Fairbanks is allowed to display some of his best athletic magic. One of the biggest & most impressive sets ever constructed for a silent film - Nottingham Castle - is featured here. Fairbanks does not allow it to dwarf him. He leaps & prances from battlement to balcony, climbing ivied walls & sliding down huge draperies, lithe & active & exuding charm. Just what we expect from Douglas Fairbanks.
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