Errol Flynn still shines in ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’

Olivia de Hallivand and Errol Flynn in "The Adventures of Robin Hood"If ever there was a case one actor born to play one part, it could be Errol Flynn  in the title role of “The Adventures of Robin Hood”, the 1938 swashbuckler  classic, set to air on Turner Classic Movies, Thursday, February 4th, 9pm pst.  Flynn was already a star prior to “Robin Hood”, but his performance as the  legendary outlaw hero would become his signature work. The Warner Brothers film  co-stars Olivia  de Havilland as Maid Marion, Basil Rathbone as Flynn’s main nemesis, Sir Guy of  Gisbourne, and Claude  Rains as the evil Prince John, plus several supporting players familiar to  classic film buffs, including Alan Hale, Eugene Pallette, Ian Hunter and Patric Knowles. “Robin Hood” would win three Oscars, and was  nominated for Best Picture at the 11th Academy Awards.

“The Adventures of Robin Hood’s” plot takes place in late 12th century  England, where Prince John has taken control of the throne, in the absence of  his brother, King Richard the Lionheart, who has been captured and made a  prisoner by Leopold of Austria, while returning from the Crusades. When John  starts to oppress the Saxon commoners, Robin, a Saxon Earl, takes refuge in  Sherwood Forest, and organizes a group of “merry men”, intent on thwarting  Prince John and his followers…the film is not exactly good history, but great  cinema. Many of the familiar elements of the Robin Hood story are included,  including Robin’s initial meetings with Little John and Friar Tuck, his  incognito participation in an archery tournament, and his daring escape from the  gallows.

Despite a wonderful supporting cast, great scenery, filmed in Technicolor,  and a riveting music score conducted by Oscar winner Erich Wolfgang Korngold,  Errol Flynn still walks away with the picture…his charm, looks, charisma, and  athleticism still hold up after 72 years. If a prime Errol Flynn had done “The  Adventures of Robin Hood”, in 2000, we’d probably, by now, be up to it’s fourth  sequel. Unlike those fans of Johnny Depp’sPirates of the Caribbean” franchise, devotees of Flynn must  be content to watch “Robin Hood” over and over again, which, obviously, they’re  more than willing to do.

Trivia note: The horse ridden by Olivia de Havilland in the movie is none  other than “Trigger”, Roy Rogers’s famous wonder horse.