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Tuesday, January 22

DVD Review: Robin Hood Origins: 5 Classic Films


Mill Creek Entertainment; Amazon
Come on! I know everyone has heard of Robin Hood, the heroic outlaw from the English folklore who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. The character has appeared in countless novels, comic books, plays, television series, and feature films!

Speaking of feature films, Mill Creek Entertainment just released Robin Hood Origins ($14.98), which features 5 classic movies, though only four involve Robin Hood. (All explain more of that later!). The five films are split up on two discs, so don't expect excellent film quality. There are no special features or bonus extras.

The fives films are:

The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946; 87 minutes) - Based on the novel Son of Robin Hood by Paul A. Castleton, the film centers on Robin Hood's son (played by Cornel Wilde) leading the Merry Men to rescue the King of England, who happens to be a kid.

The Prince of Thieves (1948; 72 minutes) - Based on Le Prince des voleurs by Alexandre Dumas, the film centers on Robin Hood (played by John Hall) teaming up with Sir Allan Claire and  Lady Marian Claire to rescue Sir Allan's bride-to-be, Lady Christabel, who is being forced by her father to marry someone else.

The Black Arrow (1947; 76 minutes) - Based on the novel of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson, the film centers around Richmond Shelton (played by Louis Hayward) returning home after fighting in the War of the Roses. Upon arriving at his family's home, he learns the estate has been claimed by his uncle, Sir Daniel Brackley (played by George Macready), who just happens to be his father's murderer. Shelton ends up leading a small army against his uncle and his minions.

Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950; 80 minutes) - Directed by Gordon Douglas, the film centers on Robin, Earl of Huntington (played by John Derek), a.k.a - the son of Robin Hood, taking over his father's legacy by leading the Merry Men against King John.

Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960; 80 minutes) - Produced by Hammer Film Productions, the film has Richard Greene reprising his role as Robin Hood from 1955 - 1959 British television series The Adventures of Robin Hood, though none of other cast-members return for the movie. Robin and his Merry Men try to expose the Sheriff of Nottingham's (played by Peter Cushing) wicked plot of attempting to kill the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Final Thoughts

While I have always loved the Robin Hood story, I haven't been to fond of all of the retellings over the years. Once you have seen one Robin Hood movie, you've pretty much seen them all. Nevertheless, I was only interested in reviewing Robin Hood Origins so I could see the Hammer Film Productions' Sword of Sherwood Forest, which in my opinion is the only good film on this DVD release. It's campy, but in a fun way. Plus, we get to see late great Peter Cushing as Sheriff of Nottingham!

The other Robin Hood films on this release are pretty bad; well, at least for me they were horrible. The dialogue is silly, the acting is horrible, the costumes are laughable, and the plots are boring.

I would like to point out that The Black Arrow isn't a Robin Hood film. It's actually based on the book of the same name by Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of The Three Musketeers. The film uses leftover costumes from The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, which is the film's only connection to Robin Hood.

None of these films have been remastered. Disc one has three films and disc two has two films, so the picture quality isn't the best.

Overall, I would never recommend buying Robin Hood Origins to anyone, unless you're able to find it in the $5 bin at Walmart, which is probably exactly where this DVD is heading.

Why am I giving this release 3 out of 5?

Well, I liked Sword of Sherwood Forest, which was the saving grace of this release for me.


*Note: I received a review copy from Mill Creek Entertainment.
All opinions are my own.

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