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As the Robin Hood legend goes Robin Hood was the son of a noble forced
into outlawry when he defended King Richard I against the usurpation of
his brother John. The fictional Robin Hood was ennobled again by a
grateful king and he lived for a while happily ever after.
But now it's the troubles of a new generation, old Robin Hood played by Russell Hicks opposes the Earl of Pembroke who is the regent for the minor King Henry III, son of King John who Robin Hood had so much problems with. Just the fact that Henry Daniell is playing Pembroke is enough to tell you who the villain is. He wants to do a Richard III number and make himself king.
Hicks is getting old, but he's got his son Cornel Wilde to do the real heavy action stuff and he and the Merry Men of both generations get to do their thing again. Wilde is once again The Bandit Of Sherwood Forest.
I feel bad for William Marshall the Earl of Pembroke who was the son of the first William Marshall who had the same title. Neither Marshall was a bad guy given the mores of the times. In fact he married the King's sister and had his own entry into the royal family.
Daniell, the man with the built in sneer in his voice is aided and abetted by George MacReady and there's a pair of villains to worry about especially in the same film.
Jill Esmond plays the Dowager Queen and Mother of the king played by Maurice Tozzin. Her lady in waiting is Anita Louise who is where Cornel wants to make some time with. But saving the king comes first.
Wilde is a natural swashbuckler, it didn't hurt his career that in real life he was a master fencer, a member in fact of the US Olympic team before he was an actor. The best parts always seemed to go to Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power.
History gets trashed in The Bandit Of Sherwood Forest but with the cast it has, the film is a royal treat.
Hot off the heels of his starring role as Chopin in A SONG TO REMEMBER,
actor CORNEL WILDE was actually a fine choice to play the swashbuckling
title role since he was an athlete of Olympian proportions. ANITA
LOUISE, originally considered for the Maid Marian role in Flynn's film
version, plays the lovely Lady Catherine.
It's strictly Saturday matinée stuff from Columbia, splashed with gorgeous Technicolor scenery but unfortunately a script that is only occasionally interesting enough to warrant the royal treatment given the production values and costumes.
Interestingly, Tony Gaudio photographed it (he did Errol's ROBIN HOOD) and all of it looks like it was filmed yesterday in the brightest of hues. JILL ESMOND, RUSSELL HICKS (as Robin Hood), LLOYD CORRIGAN, GEORGE MACREADY, EDGAR BUCHANAN (as Friar Tuck) and reliable villain HENRY DANIELL (wickedly plotting the death of a boy King) are all satisfactory in supporting roles. Only really miscast actor seems to be JOHN ABBOT as Will Scarlett.
It works on a certain level as a zestful Robin Hood film, but is really nothing special despite spirited performances by CORNEL WILDE and ANITA LOUISE as the leads.
For an entertaining hour and twenty minutes, it's well worth watching but it's directed without any particular style by George Sherman.
This movie was released in the 1940's starring Cornell Wilde; Anita
Louise; Jill Esmond; Edgar Buchanan; Henry Daniell and George Macready.
The story deals with the legend of Robin Hood. On this occasion it is the son of Robin Hood, namely Robert, played by Cornel Wilde, who is the hero.
Obviously, since Robin Hood lived in the days of Richard The Lion Heart and King John, one must assume that the young King is King John's son Henry III, who ascended the throne during his minority. The kingdom during this time was ruled by Regents culminating in Simon de Montfort, when the King achieved his majority.
But historical fact aside, the film is an enjoyable piece of escapist adventure, which is sadly lacking from our screens today.
If you get a chance try viewing The Rogues of Sherwood Forest released through the same stable - Columbia 1950 starring John Derek and Diana Lynn. Interesting to note that this too is the son of Robin Hood but in the time of King John played by George Macready who also appeared in the Bandit of Sherwood Forest
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two competent Hollywood helmersGeorge Sherman of "Big Jake" and Henry
Levin of "The Man from Colorado"--teamed up for the above-average
Columbia Pictures' release "The Bandit of Sherwood Forest," yet another
saga about Robin Hood and his merry men in their battle with an
autocratic tyrant. Scenarists Wilfred H. Petitt of "A Thousand and One
Nights" and Melvin Levy of "The Robin Hood of El Dorado" have adapted
Paul A. Castleton's 1941 novel "The Son of Robin Hood" in a rustic
outing that tampers with British history. The chief difference is Robin
Hood is gray-haired, and Will Scarlet, Allan-A-Dale, Little John and
Friar Tuck appear a mite long in the tooth, too. The son of Robin Hood,
Earl of Huntington, must now eclipse his father's legendary standing.
Whether he is romancing a lady or crossing swords with the dastardly
foe, Cornel Wilde appears to be in his element. He has no end of
self-confidence, and his superb skills as an archer, an equestrian, and
a swordsman testify to his expertise with these weapons of warfare.
Mind you, Wilde is no Errol Flynn. He lacks Flynn's charisma. Moreover,
he doesn't have any outstanding scenes. Nevertheless, Wilde was a
champion fencer on the U.S. Olympic fencing team during the 1930s, and
he appears to be performing his own fighting in the finale when he
battles bad guy Henry Daniell. Unfortunately, the dames here are
nothing delectable. Wilde's romantic interest, former Warner Brothers
starlet Anita Louise is a decent actress but no pin-up girl. Jill
Esmond makes only a minor impression as the Queen Mother.
"The Bandit of Sherwood Forest" opens with green clad archers on horseback of every description assembling in the eponymous woods to hear an elderly Robin Hood (Russell Hicks of "Tarzan's New York Adventure") address them about the tyranny that has loomed up in the personage of the Lord Regent, William of Pembroke (Henry Daniell of "The Sea Hawk"), who intends to repeal the Magna Carta. Later, after Pembroke has abolished the Magna Carta, Robin Hood delivers a passionate speech at the Council of Barons in Nottingham Castle against Pembroke's actions. The other barons capitulate to Pembroke, but Robin refuses to accommodate him. Consequently, Pembroke banishes the former outlaw and confiscates his wealth. Robin warns the Queen Mother to watch over her son because Pembroke may try to kill him. Naturally, the Queen Mother refuses to believe that Pembroke could behave so monstrously.
Meantime, the wily Pembroke plots his strategy. First, he separates the Queen Mother from the young King of England (Maurice Tauzin of "The Piped Piper") and orchestrates the demise of the monarch at the castle. Pembroke plans to have the young king plunge to his death from the tower where he has arranged for the youngster to lodge. Pembroke's best-laid plans go awry when the Queen Mother (Jill Esmond of "The White Cliffs of Dover") and Lady Catherine Maitland (Anita Louise of "A Midsummer Night's Dream") escape from the castle. Pembroke dispatches search parties, but they return to the castle at dusk. Instead, Robert (Cornel Wilde of "High Sierra") stumbles upon them in the woods. Lady Catherine and the Queen Mother try to masquerade as scullery maids. Robert doesn't believe a word of it, especially after he gets a glimpse of Lady Catherine's silk stocking. Eventually, our hero discovers the identities of the women, and Robin sends Allan-A-Dale in the guise of a minstrel to the castle. Allan-A-Dale eavesdrops on Pembroke and the Sheriff of Nottingham as they discuss murder.
Before this can happen, our heroes masquerade as religious figures who request shelter for the night at Nottingham Castle. Lady Catherine poses as the ill Prioress of Buxton. Initially, Fitz-Herbert (perennial villain George Macready of "Gilda") believes that the appearance of church people will derail their plans. On the contrary, argues Pembroke, the church people will serve as "witnesses to the fact that the king died by accident." Later, Fitz-Herbert leaves with a regiment to scour the countryside for the heroes when he runs into the real religious figures. Although they manage to rescue the king, Robert, Lady Catherine and Allan-A-Dale are captured. Pembroke plans to hang them, including Lady Catherine. Robert demands his right as a nobleman in the law of trial by combat. Pembroke accedes to Robert's wishes and then locks the protagonist up with no food or water for three days. The sly Pembroke also orders Fitz-Herbert to assemble the archers and have them ready to fill Robert with arrows if he gains the upper hand. Little do the villains know that Lady Catherine has been sharing her food and drink with Robert while he maintains a starved attitude. Meantime, Robin and his men take the king to safety and infiltrate the castle while Robert and Pembroke clash swords.
Clocking in at a trim 86 minutes, "The Bandit of Sherwood Forest" is a brisk swashbuckler on a budget. Presumably, neither Sherman nor Levin collaborated on this epic. The question is who replaced whom? Interestingly, when the arrow sinks into the screen credit for the two directors, it lands solidly on George Sherman's name. Sherman may have been the alpha director. Undoubtedly, Sherman and Levin helmed separate scenes, perhaps like director Michael Curtiz did after he replaced William Keighley on "The Adventures of Robin Hood." Incidentally, lenser Tony Gaudio photographed not only the Flynn classic, but also he was one of three photographers on the Wilde version. Lensers George Meehan of "The Black Parachute" and William E. Snyder of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" also received credit as directors of photography on "The Bandit of Sherwood Forest." Some of the casting choices are quite novel: western tough guy Ray Teal plays Little John and Edgar Buchanan portrays Friar Tuck. The scene where Buchanan's Friar Tuck tangles with Robert has got to be the only time that Buchanan worked up a sweat on screen. Typically, Buchanan specialized in slippery, conniving, sedentary supporting characters, but here he displays incredible agility.
Of the myriad epic adventures revolving around the legendary figure of Robin Hood, this is the one (despite the inherently low-key nature of it all) to come closest in spirit, accomplishment and entertainment value to the definitive 1938 Errol Flynn vehicle: I suppose it was mere coincidence that both had two directors assigned to them! For one thing, the look of the film is just as gorgeous (Tony Gaudio, one of the cinematographers involved, was also partly responsible for THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD) but the action is similarly zesty, the leads (Cornel Wilde actually playing the Son Of and Anita Louise) equally likable and well-suited, and the rogues' gallery (including Henry Daniell, George Macready and Ian Wolfe even if, admittedly, only the first gets a character of any real substance) no less formidable. Of course, a good deal of the plot is familiar from previous versions since the off-spring of the crusading outlaw goes through much the same paces as his father: from the initial antagonism between him and the leading lady, and also between him and Robin's band of "Merrie Men" (apparently, they fail to notice the comparable attire!), to the presence of a usurper on the throne (who not only comes face to face with the hero for the first time when the latter interrupts the Regent's banquet, but the villain even tries to ensnare Wilde via an archery contest which Robin Jr. attends and wins under heavy disguise!). The script does, however, supply its own exciting embellishments to the formula, such as devising an elaborate plan to rescue the child king from certain death at the hands of the tyrant eager to get him out of the way while the expected storming-of-the-castle at the climax by the forces of good takes a back seat to the inevitable duel between Wilde and Daniell (which surprisingly occurs out in the open at nightfall). The supporting cast also includes the likes of Jill Esmond the ex-Mrs. Laurence Olivier as the Queen Mother (whose character disappears half-way through), Lloyd Corrigan (as the typically bumbling Sheriff of Nottingham), John Abbott (as Will Scarlet) and Eva Moore (so memorable as Rebecca Femm in my all-time favorite film, James Whale's THE OLD DARK HOUSE , relegated here to only a couple of scenes in one of her last roles). For the record, Wilde, Daniell and Macready would all appear in a number of other enjoyable swashbucklers over the years: interestingly, Daniell had previously dueled with Errol Flynn himself in THE SEA HAWK (1940), whereas Macready would eventually graduate to chief villain for this film's immediate follow-up i.e. ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1950; which I actually watched early on in the year) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042901/usercomments-2.
The Bandit of Sherwood Forest is directed by George Sherman and Henry
Levin and collectively written by Wilfrid H. Pettitt, Melvin Levy and
Paul A. Castleton. It stars Cornel Wilde, Anita Louise, Jill Esmond,
Edgar Buchanan, Henry Daniel, George Macready and Russell Hicks. Music
is by Hugo Fridehofer and cinematography is shared between Tony Gaudio,
William Snyder and George B. Meehan.
A wonderful spin on the Robin Hood legend finds Robin Hood (Hicks) enlisting the help of his son, Robert (Wilde), in stopping the nefarious members of the Regency who seek to basically abolish the Magna Carta. What follows in narrative trajectory terms is the usual array of fights and face-offs, with bow and arrows skills supplementing the swordplay. There is of course some simmering passions whilst loyalty and camaraderie is never ever far away.
There's such a sense of fun about the picture, like everyone is enjoying playing in a costume adventure. The Technicolor is luscious and the set design and art direction is impressive given the modest budget allocated the production by Columbia. The draw card is Wilde, a one time Olympic standard fencer, he convinces as a swashbuckler and has charm in abundance.
Not all the costuming strikes as period reflective, neither does one or two character accents, but it matters not one jot. A sometimes rousing, often engaging, swashbuckling adventure, The Bandit of Sherwood Forest is one of the better "Hood" movies out there. 8/10
The Bandit of Sherwood Froest came on Channel 4 one afternoon recently
and I was pleased I taped it.
Robin Hood's son, Robert had now replaced him and in this movie, he gets up to all sorts of adventures. Towards the end, he and his lover get locked up in Nottingham Castle and he is condemned to death. But he escapes, along with his lover and the last scene shows you them snogging. A happy ending.
The Bandit of Sherwood Forest is beautifully shot in colour and is fast paced throughout.
Colenol Wilde plays Robert and Anita Loiuise plays his lover Lady Catherine. The rest of the cast includes Russell Hicks as Robin Hood and George Macready and Edgar Buchanan. Good parts from all.
Watching The Bandit of Sherwood Forest is a good way to spend nearly an hour and half one afternoon or evening. Great fun.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
A swashbuckling adventure story filmed in shocking Technicolour - where
every hue and shade seems to be saturated to the max - THE BANDIT OF
SHERWOOD FOREST is one of those Hollywood romps where a studio backlot
attempts to stand in for merry olde England. It's all completely
preposterous of course, and the Slovakian-born Cornel Wilde (playing
the son of Robin Hood) is probably the least convincing British screen
hero of them all.
With the original Robin Hood story mined out by Hollywood producers, THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST takes to the next generation for its story of derring do and good vs. evil. Wilde's Robert must contend with an evil 'Regent' (THE BODY SNATCHER's Henry Daniell, once again typecast as a hammy villain) while romancing a beautiful lady (Anita Louise).
The expected swashbuckling scenes up and down staircases are present here, along with trick shots and archery scenes, but it all feels very familiar and more than a little passe. THE BANDIT OF SHERWOOD FOREST feels very much like a second-tier production and those glorious colours are the best thing it has going for it.
I first saw this film when I was 9 years old and I have never forgotten the story. Cornell Wilde and the most beautiful blonde actress I had ever seen. Her name is Louise_______. Very exciting story. The prison scenes are very exciting and you know all will be well Thank you, Florence Forrester-Stockton Reno, Nevada
This is the one where Columbia decided to re-do Warner Brothers' ROBIN
. But there was a problem. That one ended- like World War II- with
Robin vanquishing England's enemies; now boring old peace had broken out
again and both Richard the Lionheart and Robin were nearing the colostomy
bag stage. Hell -Robin hada been doing sumpin all those years? Heck yes!
had done what every returned American GI did -he procreated! He had a son
-Bob Hood [Cornel Wilde] who looked more Czechoslovakian than English but
matter. Same dab hand with a bow a blow and a beauty, same mindless sense
humour -a pea from the pod you might say; except he couldn't be pea green
like colostomy-quivering Robin, but grey. Grey Bob was allowed green
So much for his hose -but what about foes? History was singularly unhelpful, because in spite of green Robin & his Geriatrics' heroics the dreaded King John succeeded King Dick and died in his bed. So -what do do? Well. Columbia's script department came up with the despotic Regent [Henry Danielle] who could have been any one of a number shadowy XII century characters, and -straight from an American child-actor catalogue- a boy King [Maurice Tauzin] who had to be prevented from signing anything.
So, Bob with a cause still needed to get his paws on a broad. Enter a bleach blonde cut-price Betty Grable with a voice to die from, Lady Catherine Maitland [Anita Louise] and this technicolor 1940 period Valhalla was complete. This movie is unique for raising awareness of  medieval colour blindness -because in spite of having red lips that would halt freeway traffic, and a bombshell hairdon't, Anita Louise manages to pass herself off as the Prioress of Buxton -and  the little-known practice of becoming muscular on half female prison rations -which Bob did before putting paid to the evil Regent.
Generally the supporting players, Jill Esmond [Queen Mother] looking older than 38, but back in movies after being deserted with a new-born baby in 1940 by Laurence Olivier for Vivien Leigh, Lloyd Corrigan [Sheriff of Nottingham] and George Macready [Fitz-Herbert], helped make this the kind of movie which made -not only kids but adults- leave the cinema feeling braver, stronger and more righteous.
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