Robin Hood (1922)
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Critic Reviews for Robin Hood
It's by far the best and most joyous Robin Hood movie ever made; beside Fairbanks, even Errol Flynn appears to be standing still.
The lavish sets show such Allan Dwan enthusiams as waterworks (the moat), secret passages, multi-story architecture (the castle), elevators (the curtain Fairbanks slides).
One of the great silent adventure films...and one of Doug's best.
Audience Reviews for Robin Hood
Douglas Fairbanks. Leaping. Running. Jumping. Swinging. Climbing. Fighting. If there's a more flamboyant way to do a thing then (count on it) that's the way he'll do it. Every entrance is big. Grand. Sweeping. Big. Bigger. Biggest. It's parody nowadays. And yet. The grandeur and heroism of this tale cannot be denied. That it set precedent for every action/adventure tale since ... ever, is a hard point to quibble, as well. Pretty darn good for a little guy from Denver, CO, eh?
While working on Ken Ludwig's new comedy A Comedy of Tenors, which takes place in Paris in the late 1930s, I became curious to see this version of the Medieval legend since one of the characters mentions multiple times that he wants to be like Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood. It appears that there are several cuts of various lengths. The DVD I borrowed was an hour and fifty minutes. I think that over half of that run time was exposition. Having seen two other Fairbanks silent action flicks I expected more to happen and more appearances by the title character. Instead, Fairbanks as a rich Earl proves himself to King Richard in a joust. The Earl is nearly as chaste as Maid Marian but then they begin to fall in love. In a nice visual she outlines his silhouette to remember him. The Earl earns the scorn of Gisbourne and Prince John (the splendidly evil Sam De Grasse). Then we follow the King and his knights as they leave for the Crusades. Wallace Beery is very good as King Richard, but I'm not familiar with any other version of the story that spends so much time with the King. Prince John abuses the people and sets in motion a plan to kill the Earl and the King before they return. After more complications, the Earl and his loyal servant Little John (Alan Hale, who would play the same role 16 years later opposite Errol Flynn) finally return to right wrongs and recruit merry men in Sherwood Forrest. You can tell they are merry because they skip and leap everywhere with sweeping gestures. With so much exposition this Robin Hood becomes less about his catch phrase "I steal from the rich and give to the poor." Instead, this rebel character symbolizes the soldier who realizes there are more pressing problems to address at home rather than wiping out infidels in far off countries. Douglas Fairbanks under a pen name is given story credit here as well. There are only a couple well choreographed chases and fights, including Robin bringing swift justice to the vile Gisbourne, that bring some much needed excitement to the final quarter of the film. The outdoor shots and the amazing castle set support a capable cast in this silent with a lot of "talking" through title cards, but as I said before it needed more action and more Robin Hood.
The best Robin Hood movie I've ever seen! Fairbanks is perfect for the role, and I'm glad he played it. He wrote it too, which is cool, I loved how we got to see how he became Robin Hood and what was going on in medieval times. The sets, costumes, and everything was really spectacular. I loved this movie.
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