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(Review originally written at 6 August 2008)

Believe it or not but this isn't actually even the first Robin Hood movie ever made. Robin Hood movies already got made back in the 1910's both those movies are of course now days hard to come buy. This Robin Hood movie version was also presumed to be lost, until a print reappeared again somewhere in the '60's. It's the first Robin Hood adaptation though which featured many of the elements of the legend that would be featured in most later movie versions. So in many ways this was an unique and renewing movie for its time.

Still it's a slightly different movie version than you would expect for instance now days (we'll still have to wait how the Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe version will turn out to be though, if it ever gets off the ground). The difference is mostly notable in the movie its first halve, which focuses mostly on the crusades Earl of Huntingdon/Robin Hood with King Richard the Lion-Hearted ventures on. Basically the movie its first halve is one big introduction till the movie hits the point at which the Earl of Huntingdon finally becomes the courageous and honorable thief with the good intentions Robin Hood. This is also when the fun mostly kicks in.

The movie features some grand sets and mass sequences. It's a very detailed made movie, that looks perfect and spectacular in basically every shot, with its costumes, set dressing and large castles. The castle as featured in this movie is actually the largest ever built set in a silent Hollywood production. It also was the most expensive movie ever made at its time with its $1.4 million budget. The movie was also the first to get a large Hollywood release at its time, in the Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, which is still around now days.

It's a movie that very skillfully got directed by already very experienced director Allan Dwan, who during his career directed a total of 404 movies, starting in 1911 and ending his career in 1961. He even directed plenty more films (about 3 times as much), when also considering his one-reeler's. He could had directed plenty of more movies though, when considering that he didn't died until 1981. But he must had probably been fed up with film-making or modern film-making anyway. He directed mostly adventurous and swashbucklers, so he truly was a perfect pick for this movie. It was the last movie he did with Douglas Fairbanks. They made a total of 11 movies together, of which this one and "The Iron Mask" are the best known ones which they did together.

It stars Douglas Fairbanks as the main lead, so of course this movie is a swashbuckler with plenty of action in it but what sort of disappointed me about the movie was that it wasn't really always an entertaining one. It seems to me that the movie is a bit too serious at times, instead of adventurous, entertaining and action filled. The movie is often more emotional and dramatic than fun to watch really. This is mostly why I still prefer the 1938 Errol Flynn Robin Hood movie version above this one, no matter how great it's all looking.

It's really the movie its second halve which still makes this such a fun movie to watch. The story becomes more light and even a bit comical. It's fun seeing Robin Hood being chased around in a castle by a bunch of soldiers. Of course Douglas Fairbanks was doing all of his own stunts again and he shows some dangerous antics again in this movie, like only he could back in his days. The movie is quite long though and the movie just never gets fully over its contract between its first and second halve.

A wonderful looking and great, yet really not perfect, swashbuckling entertainment from the 1920's.

8/10

About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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