Son of Robin Hood (1958)
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Confused yet? It doesn't really matter. There's a girl to romance, some hijinks to be had in Sherwood Forest, and a Sheriff of Nottingham-alike and his men to fight and pierce with arrows. This film looks and feels very cheap with cardboard walls, painted backgrounds, and a general fake feel. I was surprised to see that it was made in England as it has more of a stylised, fantasy Hollywood feel and is no patch on the similar, more grounded efforts that Hammer put out around the same time such as THE SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST.
Hedison never really convinces as an outlaw hero and it's fair to say that the majority of the cast members simply go through the motions. The only one I really liked was George Woodbridge, who makes a decent stab at the character of Little John. Marius Goring and George Coulouris show up in support too. The direction is very poor with plenty of continuity errors and the like which constantly distract the viewer, although the climactic sword fight isn't bad in a "let's rip off THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD" type way.
It's then that the head of the merry-men Little John gets the good news that the late Robin Hood has a son-Deering-who's residing in sunny Spain who's more then willing to take over his dad's place as the leader of the now not so merry merry-men of Sherwood Forest. It's Little John's plan to get Deering Hood to get the now rejuvenated merry-men to organize a guerrilla war against Des Roches and bring the now in chains and incarcerated Earl of Chester back in power as the King of England! The only stumbling block to Little John's plans is that the son of Robin Hood turned out to be his daughter! This made things even more complicated for Little John and his merry-men then they already were!
As things turned the Earl of Chester's younger brother Jamie back from the Crusades showed up in town, or Sherwood Forest, the same time that Deering Hood did. After the sword twirling Jamie dispatched a squad of Des Roches's men who were waiting in ambush to knock off Miss Hood the two changed identities with Jamie taking the part of Deering and Deering becoming his woman companion. Still Des Roches had a ace up his sleeve in having planted a spy among the merry-men who tipped him off on their plans to unseat him from power. That's where Jamie's brother, the Earl of Chester, came in with him knowing just who this undercover operative of Des Roches is. The only trouble here is that the Earl of Chester in being told that Jamie was killed in the Crusades doesn't believe that he's his brother and feels that Jamie is in fact a spy for Des Roches and isn't talking!
Lots of action with the merry-men lead by both Jamie & Deering Hood getting their act together and taking on Des Roches and his men after they finally found out who's slipping him classified information to what their plans are. It was Des Roches' big mistake in underestimating Deering Hood's, whom he thought was Jamie, ability to lead the merry-men with the same skill and courage that her late dad Robin Hood did in the past. It was in fact Deering who prevent the plant, or spy, inside the merry-mens compound to get the news to Des Roches on the merry-men, lead by Jamie & herself, impending assault on his fortified castle complex.
***SPOILERS*** In the end the merry-men made mincemeat out of Duke Simon Des Roches' men in a two prong attack, by land and and under water, on his castle. It was then that Jamie after rescuing the Earl of Chester, the soon to be anointed King of England, put an end to Des Roches' reign of terror by running him through, with his sword, after a long boring and very unconvincing dueling match with him.
June Laverick, a pretty young blonde, plays the daughter of Robin Hood, who spends most of her time hiding behind David 'Al' Hedison, who pretends to be her -- him -- that is, Robin Hood's son, leading Robin's old and graying Merry Men. The whole thing is directed with little of the silliness that attended AT SWORDS' POINT, but the whole thing is handsomely shot in wide screen. Unhappily, the prints were definitely not Technicolor, but have aged poorly, casting a gloomy and pink sheen over the entire proceedings. The score is also a nice variation on Korngold's score for the Errol Flynn version. You can skip this one.
It's been some 20 years since the Merry Men got disbanded and they're now middle-aged and somewhat gone to seed. But with the death of King John there's a plot afoot to steal the throne by an evil duke played by David Farrar. The rightful heir Marius Goring has been imprisoned by Farrar, but Goring has a brother in David Hedison who will set things right in the Douglas Fairbanks/Errol Flynn tradition, not.
You have to have a certain elan to do swashbucklers. Either you have it or you don't. David Hedison best known for being the Captain of the Seaview on the TV series Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea just ain't got it. Also his American speech pattern with the British cast sounds jarringly out of place. What worked for Clark Gable in Mutiny On The Bounty doesn't work for Hedison. Then again Mutiny On The Bounty was a much better film, like light years better.
Added to that none of the historical characters vying for the throne ever existed. Including Robin Hood or in this case the late Robin Hood. Turns out he died some ten years than the events of this film and he left a daughter June Laverick. She does fill out that Lincoln green suit all right. But she's a girl and those aged Merry Men ain't about to come out of retirement for her.
They do for Hedison though as the faux son of Robin Hood and of course the inevitable does happen.
Maybe the worst Robin Hood film ever done.
This is a nonsensical but nevertheless at times mildly entertaining adventure. It looks low budget and the script is average to say the least. On the plus side the acting is passable and to be honest the cast at least look like they are enjoying themselves. David Hedison makes for a good looking hero as he takes on the mantle of Robin Hoods son.
The fight scenes are a bit clumsy and it all becomes a bit repetitive but it just about manages to hold your attention till the predictable end. This is a film that doesn't take itself seriously which is just as well.
The Son of Robin Hood is a very average adventure but a good natured one. This is a watchable film but you'll forgot it ten minutes after seeing it.