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Various Mice (voice) (uncredited)
Sid Raymond ...
Katnip (voice) (uncredited)
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Herman (voice) (uncredited)

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25 February 1955 (USA)  »

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(RCA Sound System)

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High in production value, sadly it's also rather low on laughs
20 May 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

While I am not the biggest fan of the Herman and Katnip series, there are some very enjoyable entries(Herman the Catoonist and Of Mice and Magic being standouts) and they are at least watchable. Robin Rodenthood does deserve credit for trying to do something different, but it is really not one of the best of the series(though not among the worst either).

Where Robin Rodenthood excels is in the animation and especially the music. The animation is very beautifully drawn, with fluid, smooth movements, and is also lush and colourful. There were times around this period for Herman and Katnip and Famous Studios in general where low budget showed but it doesn't here. The music is what makes the cartoon, it is fantastic with plentiful energy, character and vibrant orchestration, it's not only so much fun to listen to but there is a real sense of foreboding, the theme song is very catchy too. And this is coming from a fan of Winston Sharples' work for the Herman and Katnip cartoons, even when the humour's not on par there's always so much life and soul in the music.

Robin Rodenthood deserves credit for its ambition and for its attempts to do something different with its satirical take on Robin Hood and giving Katnip more to say than usual, he even sings a song that sets up his characters very impressively as well. Structurally the story is formulaic and the action standard Herman and Katnip fare, but it is thankfully nowhere near as repetitive as other cartoons of theirs, with a lot of them reading of the same plot and dialogue over and over. Herman is amusing and Katnip has never been more menacing, their chemistry is also stronger than most of their other cartoons thanks to what is done with Katnip and Herman's defeating of Katnip is more convincing as a result of Katnip being a genuine threat rather than Herman defeating him for sport. The mice bring a poignancy to the story too, and the cartoon starts very strongly as a result of the mice's plight being affecting and Katnip's villainy. The voice work is very good.

On the other hand, what stops Robin Rodenthood from being better is that it is rather low on laughs. The dialogue, like most Herman and Katnip cartoons, is forgettable and the constant use of ye comes over as awkward. The humour is at best mildly amusing(Katnip being sliced in half being the most memorable) but it is never funny or hilarious, with the slow timing, predictability and that a lot of them are very cruel and mean-spirited for a Herman and Katnip cartoon hurt it quite badly. That the cartoon satirises the Robin Hood story is interesting and different, but it doesn't make the impact it should do because the satire just isn't sharp enough and neither is the pacing, which can be draggy.

In conclusion, Robin Rodenthood looks good and has fantastic music, as well as getting extra brownie points for trying to do something different, but it's let down by the lack of laughs and mean-spiritedness. 6/10 Bethany Cox


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