review for The Bandit of Sherwood Forest on AllMovie

The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946)
by Craig Butler review

The Bandit of Sherwood Forest starts with a fairly interesting idea, that of the son of an aged Robin Hood picking up his father's mantel to battle a new threat to the future of England. Unfortunately, it doesn't build upon this idea in any sort of appreciable way, settling instead for a pedestrian story told in an unimaginative way. The plot of the film is really just a series of episodes strung together with no dramatic drive or invention. Worse, the dialogue is simply excruciating; it's difficult to believe that professional writers actually came up with the words that are spewed forth upon the screen. In addition, character development is, to put it mildly, weak. A director with flair might have been able to fashion this into an empty but rousing affair, but Henry Levin and George Sherman's work is trite and by-the-numers; only the sword fight really comes alive, and that is due as much to Cornel Wilde's impressive skill as to anything the directors do. Wilde, for his part, does quite well under the circumstances, but with material like this, he can't begin to compare to Errol Flynn. Anita Louise is stunning to look at, and the supporting cast is fine. The one stand-out feature of Bandit, however, is the lush, overpowering cinematography. As lensed in thick, juicy Technicolor, it's a visual feast -- so perhaps the best way to experience Bandit is simply to turn the audio off and spend time wondering just how Anita Louise's lips could ever get quite so red.