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 »
Douglas Fairbanks Jr.
The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar, but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.
This seventies BBC version with Martin Potter and Diane Keen remains one of my favourite adaptations of the Robin Hood legend, but its not without its failings.
Despite the evident attention to historical detail in the matter of costumes and props, there are some jarring anachronisms in the script, such as a Saxon thegn called Kenneth (Gaelic), a Norman henchman called Alaric (Visigothic) and a merry man called Brett (Tuolumne County).
The production is very much of its time. There is a very Seventies cynical edge and lots of speechifying; the script is not frightened of serving up dollops of history and at times borders on the lumberingly expositional. But while the production suffers as a result of the disastrous decision made by the BBC to video all interiors on cardboard sets at Television Centre, the location photography is rather charming - seldom has the greenwood looked greener.
British B movie beefcake Potter is a handsome if far from merry Robin, Keen of course is luminous as Marion, while David "Ford Prefect" Dixon and Paul "Ker Avon" Darrow, as respectively Prince John and the Sheriff, exercise more restraint than one might have thought them capable. Some of the supporting players are pure repertory ham (an old crone is straight out of Blackadder), but William Marlowe and Miles Anderson add Shakespearean heft in their roles as Guy of Gisborne and Will Scarlet.
Tony Caunter had yet to acquire the girth one associates with Friar Tuck, but Conrad Asquith is a booming Little John; Much is played by Johnny Speight's boy Richard and Stephen Whittaker completes the meiny as the hitherto unrecorded outlaw Ralph Gammon. David Ryall enjoys himself as a corrupt abbot.
The action sequences are lame by today's slick, and often graphic, standards, but the climactic broadsword duel between Potter and Marlowe has an earthy vigour. Seldom have you seen two actors looking quite so completely knackered.
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