The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952)

Genres - Adventure  |   Run Time - 83 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Robin Hood has been the star of seemingly countless film versions, and if The Story of Robin Hood is not the very best of them, it's still a very winning, thoroughly enjoyable medieval romp. Children have always been fascinated by the story of the outlaw who steals from the rich and gives to the poor, and this Disney telling is one that younger audiences especially will embrace. The film moves at a fast clip, and does a fine job of alternating the more serious moments with ones of high action and adventure. Hood also is good at creating some new takes on what is, after all, a rather familiar tale. The framing device of traveling minstrel Alan O'Dale relating the story is a nice touch, and using "whistling" arrows as a means of communication is clever. Even the traditional "arrow splitting another arrow at the bulls-eye" routine has a little twist. Hood does pale next to the classic Adventures of Robin Hood in terms of its cast, which is quite certainly good but also quite certainly not up to the exquisite level of Errol Flynn and company. Nonetheless, Richard Todd is a winning (if slightly built) Robin, Joan Rice pleases as Marian, Peter Finch is quite evil as is required of the Sheriff and James Robertson Justice is a delightful Little John. It's also noteworthy that this film version gives a larger role to Queen Eleanor (well played by Martita Hunt), who is not usually the focus of much attention in Robin Hood stories.