Robin Hood is back with his gang of outlaws to do battle with the dark forces of the Sheriff of Nottingham. With his lands taken and father murdered, he and his gang of outlaws are forced ... See full summary »
Comedy about Robin Hood, who was a complete idiot, and his band o incompetents in Sherwood Forest. Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and their gang were even more incompetent. Maid ... See full summary »
Dick Van Patten,
Musical version of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. Songs by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen include, "Out in the Open Air", "Prithee Please", "A Happy Happenstance", "Ever So Softly",... See full summary »
There is something very likable about this series - as well as the usual cheesiness and tackiness which can be associated with a 70s TV series with no big budget.
Martin Potter is immensely good, probably one of the best Robin Hoods on film. He looks a bit like Erroll Flynn, but the series is free of frivolously joyous light-heartiness that often pesters other versions. These were difficult times for England, there was feud between the Saxons and the Normans and Robin Hood was in between these two. Instead of prancing around in tights, we get a very serious, yet passionate version that dedicates more time to the actual political situation of the late 12th century than merrymaking and wooing in the woods.
There are other well cast actors, such as the Sheriff and Lady Marian. Then there are horrible, terrible miscasts, such as Richard the Lionhearted. He's played by Michael Jackson (yeah, don't get your hopes high), who looks and acts like a drag queen and speaks with a high pitched voice of a Swedish tourist who is shocked at the sight of a restaurant bill. He even manages to remain virginally effeminate during a broadsword fight scene, beating Robin. Unfortunately, I watched The Lion In Winter just the other night, so the stellar performance by the young Anthony Hopkins has set the standard of all the coming King Richards for me.
The best part of the series are the outdoor scenes, shot as still customary in 1975, on 16 mm as opposed to the video images from a TV studio for the interior scenes. There's a great deal of authenticity once there's no more cheap cardboard pillars and walls around the actors. The interiors are a disgrace if you are looking for "the real thing", they are as fake as can be. The costumes are very good and much more authentic then in any other version, but regrettably the accessories such as jewelry and crowns are incredibly poor, right out of a school play.
Another superior thing is the musical score: the main theme has lingered in my memory since I first saw the series in my childhood, and remained even as all the other images of this series had faded.
The story isn't so much the familiar one, but rather follows the development of Robin as the Earl of Huntington. There's a lot of grim political intrigue and fighting for principles and less half-naked men in the woods. It's definitely well written and holds the viewers attention steadily.
Technically speaking, the series are extremely outdated, but then again, that may very well be its major charm. I still wish that there were more money to build better sets and buy better jewelry. Maybe one didn't notice these things in 1975, but the DVD transfer is so sharp you tend to get a little annoyed seeing the Crown of England wobble.
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