|Index||4 reviews in total|
Although this film is on a modest, low-budget scale, it is an amiable and worthy successor to Erroll Flynn's more spectacular heroics. Handsome and agile Don Taylor inhabits the character of Robin as naturally as if he were born for it. Even though he's an American actor among an otherwise totally British cast, the doughty Taylor never strikes a wrong note and is perfectly at ease carrying on his exploits at a brisk pace in a strikingly comfortable medieval ambiance.
Now, I haven't seen that many Robin Hood movies at all (actually, I've only seen two: the superior animated Disney version and Kevin Costner's rather boring "Prince of Thieves") but that isn't even necessary to notice this is a pretty good and unjustly obscure version about the legendary English folklore hero. This is the first of at least three Robin Hood movies produced by the awesome Hammer Studios coincidentally also their very first film in color and I'm ready to check them all out if they're as entertaining as "The Men of Sherwood Forest". The story is fast-paced, full of ecstatic characters and vivid adventure and steadily directed by the ever reliable Val Guest. He can pretty much be considered as Hammer's second best director, right behind Terence Fisher who incidentally also directed one of the other Hammer Robin Hood flicks, namely "Swords of Sherwood Forest" starring Peter Cushing and Oliver Reed. This earlier and obviously low-budgeted gem doesn't tell the conventional Robin Hood fable, but an entirely new one that hardly involves any looting, corrupt Sheriffs of Nottingham or Maid Marians. Robin and his loyal gang, including Little John and Friar Tuck, learn that the one true king of England Richard Lionheart will soon return home after being in prisoner in Germany. Eminent accomplices of his malignant brother Prince John intend to assassinate King Richard on his way home and put the blame on Robin Hood and his gang, but naturally the jolly hero in green is always several steps ahead of them. Don Taylor is really excellent in the role of Robin Hood. He's the ideally handsome, charismatic and heroic performer you'd expect. Taylor retired from acting in the mid 60's already, but became a respectable director and made some really cool genre films like "The Island of Dr. Moreau", "Damien: The Omen II" and "Escape from the Planet of the Apes". The one person to steal the show completely is Reginald Beckwith as Friar Tuck. He escapes from every perilous situation by luring his opponents into various sorts of gambling schemes. Undemanding, light-headed 50's entertainment for the whole family.
This film came out about one year before the Richard Greene TV series.Although the later was made on a small budget at Walton studios it comes out as infinitely superior to this film.It looks as if Hammer have blown the budget on the Eastman colour.Everything else seems to have been done on the cheap.There seem to be very few inhabitants of the forest or the castle.The situations are quite poor and the action scenes not very exciting.Don Taylor makes an undistinguished Robin Hood.In fact the only decent actor in the bunch is Reginald Beckwith who does a good turn as Friar Tuck.A big problem is that there isn't a decent Sheriff.Alas no Claude Rains or Peter Cushing.So all told a fairly uninspiring effort.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Hammer produced Robin Hood film is probably one of the best films with
the character. While by no means the Errol Flynn film this is one of
the best of the smaller scale films that have appeared over the years.
To be certain its no epic, but while some may consider that a draw back
I really don't since it allows for the characters and performances to
come out. Don Taylor is really good as Robin. He's extremely likable
and the sort of man you'd want on your side. The rest of his band is
equally as good and its easy to understand why they were considered
I have never really understood why this film isn't better known. I originally discovered this film as the lesser part of a double feature video tape I don't know how many years ago. I was completely surprised by it when I saw it because I expected it to be a waste of time. I was wrong and I've seen the film numerous times over the years. I have always been mystified that almost no one know that this film exists. I've shown it to several of my friends who have been equally confused that this film has been left to gather dust on the film library shelves some where.
I can't recommend this film enough. While I freely admit its not perfect I do think its a really good adventure and a fine variation on an oft told tale.
|Plot synopsis||Ratings||External reviews|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|