Movie Review – ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

We’ve had many film and TV adaptations of ‘Robin Hood’. There’s the 1991 film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, a 2010 ‘Robin Hood’ film starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, Captain Picard from ‘Star Trek: TNG’ was Robin Hood in ‘Qpid’ and ‘Doctor Who’ had its episode ‘Robot of Sherwood’. 😀

When it comes to talking about Disney‘s interpretation of ‘Robin Hood’, the one most people remember is the 1973 animated film where Robin Hood is a fox and the rest of the characters are animals. But what might be a surprise to everyone is that there was a 1952 Disney film before that. 🙂

The film in question is ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ which was produced by Walt Disney Productions and RKO Radio Pictures. The film was directed by Ken Annakin, who would go on to direct the 1960 film ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ and features Richard Todd, Joan Rice and Peter Finch.

Wait a minute! Richard Todd is in this film?! As in Richard Todd who played Sanders in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Kinda’. Wow! That was amazing to see! And he looks so young-looking compared to how he looked in ‘Kinda’ in 1982. 😀 Actually, Richard Todd is great as Robin Hood in this 1952 Disney film.

My parents and I watched ‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ last Friday on Disney+. It was my Mum’s choice for her birthday last Friday and she and my Dad enjoyed every minute of it. I must admit I enjoyed the film too as it was quite relaxing to sit through while watching it in the afternoon.

It is slow to start off with as it takes a while to get to know the characters and the world Robin Hood inhabits. But as the film progresses, you get to enjoy the action sequences featured in it. I also feel the film has a good traditional style about it, which you don’t get to see often nowadays in Disney films.

If you don’t know the story of Robin Hood already, the film has young Robin Hood in love with Maid Marian. He enters an archery contest with his father at King Richard’s palace. On the way home however, Robin’s father gets killed by the henchmen of Prince John. Very soon, Robin’s an outlaw. 😐

As the years go by, Robin gathers together his band of ‘merrie men’ in Sherwood Forest and they avenge his father’s death and help the people of the land whom Prince John is over-taxing. Will Robin Hood and his Merrie Men thwart the evil efforts of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham?

Over the years, I’ve come to know more about the historical aspects of the Robin Hood legend with Richard the Lionheart from watching the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Crusade’ and Prince John from watching the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The King’s Demons’. Interesting how it all gets depicted in this film.

Like I said, Richard Todd is very good as Robin Hood, giving a charming performance to the dashing young rogue trying to save the people of Nottingham from the tyranny of Prince John. Joan Rice is equally good as Maid Marian in the film and Peter Finch is good as the evil Sherriff of Nottingham. 🙂

The film also has James Hayter playing Friar Tuck, James Robertson Justice as Little John, Martita Hunt as Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, Elton Hayes as Alan-a-Dale and Patrick Barr (who was later in the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Moonbase’) as King Richard. Michael Hordern is also in this film playing Scathelock. All deliver great performances in this quaint little film and they’re into their characters from watching them.

Hubert Gregg is decent enough as Prince John. Mind you, I would’ve preferred it if he was more passionate like Peter Ustinov was when he voiced Prince John in the 1973’s Disney ‘Robin Hood’ film with animals. Just hearing him shout out “I AM KING!!! KING!!! KING!!!” would’ve been entertaining.

‘The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ is a very enjoyable, relaxing and entertaining film from 1952. I’m pleased to have seen it and it was worthwhile to see Richard Todd in a film role before he did ‘Kinda’ in ‘Doctor Who’. No acting lessons from Matthew Waterhouse were required. 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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