Amid big-budget medieval pageantry, King Richard goes on the Crusades leaving his brother Prince John as regent, who promptly emerges as a cruel, grasping, treacherous tyrant. Apprised of England's peril by message from his lady-love Marian, the dashing Earl of Huntingdon endangers his life and honor by returning to oppose John, but finds himself and his friends outlawed, and Marian apparently dead. Enter Robin Hood, acrobatic champion of the oppressed, laboring to set things right through swash buckling feats and cliffhanging perils!Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Douglas Fairbanks included a scene in which Richard the Lion-Hearted throws raw meat to his dogs, including an Airedale named Zorro that Fairbanks owned. Fairbanks reshot the scene without Zorro when he learned that the breed had not excited in the twelfth century, the period in which this film is set. See more »
My biggest problem with the movie was the strange pace. In the beginning, before the Earl of Huntingdon becomes Robin Hood, things move as slowly as a snail. The movie is just over two hours long and could have been much shorter. For example, it opens with a long jousting tournament that could have been completely removed. But after Huntingdon goes AWOL on King Richard's Crusades (which are disturbingly glorified in this movie) to protect England from the tyranny of evil Prince John and adopts the alias Robin Hood, things suddenly start moving at break-neck speed.
Douglas Fairbanks shines in this film, creating a Robin Hood with surprising heart and humanity for a silent movie. But in a movie that was a big-budget blockbuster for the 1920s, Fairbanks's star is often eclipsed by needless pageantry, as well as by his own less-talented co-stars, particularly Wallace Beery as King Richard, the so-called "lion hearted" king who spends most of the movie laughing. He laughs when he sees that Earl of Huntingdon (Robin Hood) is scared of women, he laughs when he defeats the Muslims in the Crusades, he laughs when he discovers that Robin Hood is Huntingdon is disguise, and he laughs as he tries to barge in on Robin and Marian's wedding night in the final scene. Before long, you'll be wondering why the heck everyone in Nottingham reveres this guy, or you'll be asking the question I heard someone sitting near me in the theater whisper: "What is so funny, anyway?" Enid Bennett, playing Lady Marian, seems like a good actress, but it is hard to tell, as she's given little more to do than faint whenever a fight starts and wake up once the action's over. Her romance with Robin Hood, however, is definitely worth watching. My favorite scene in the whole movie was their first kiss: When Robin leans in toward her, she modestly turns away, and he settles with kissing the hem of her sleeve instead.
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