Joan Rice and the Rook

In January, I emailed Burnham Beeches for any information they might have on the filming of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood in 1951. I eventually received this response from Jeremy Young, one of the keepers at Burnham:


I work at Burnham Beeches and one of my responsibilities is to manage all the filming activity on the site. I have been here for over twenty years and seen many film units come and go but unfortunately 'Robin Hood and his Merrie men' was a little before my time! I do however have several stills from the film and can identify at least two of the locations for you as the middle pond and Mendelssohn's slope.

I also have a fantastic picture of a local boy standing watching the filming with his pet Rook (bird) on his arm, this attracted the attention of Walt Disney and his daughter who were on location this day and both are pictured leaning over stroking the bird.

Unfortunately I don't remember the Archie Duncan scene or the tree you actually refer to but if you have a still from the scene it may help me to identify it?

There have been many other films over the years that have featured our ancient pollards and other trees. They are to name but a few………..Great Expectations (1946), A Town Like Alice (1956), Goldfinger (1960), The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner (1962), Agatha (1979), Company of Wolves (1984), The Princess Bride (1987), Robin Hood Prince of Thieves (1990), The Crying Game (1992), First Knight (1994), King Arthur (2004), I Could Never Be Your Woman (2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2006), Eden Lake (2007) and Creation (2008)I hope this may be of some help to you. When you are over visiting, and if I am available, I would be happy to give you a guided tour to these and some of the other locations used over the years.

Kind regards Jeremy”

I am waiting to hear back from Jeremy for some more information. Obviously I would like to see those pictures of Disney and his daughter with the Rook, but I do have a lovely picture of Joan Rice taken with what appears to be the same bird.


Clement of the Glen said...

Burnham Beeches
Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood
Walt Disney
Joan Rice

Clement of the Glen said...

If anyone has a clear picture of Archie Duncan as Red Gill in the old tree mentioned-would they get in touch.

I have tried to get a good screen clip, but it comes out slightly blurred. The pictures in the books are all very small.

So I would be nice to get a good clear picture of the tree for Jeremy to have a look at.

If you have one would you be kind enough to scan it
Many thanks!

Neil said...

More revealing information about the making of the film. The photographs of the Rook and Joan Rice must have been taken at the time of the filming of one of the early scenes with Robin taking bow practise and Joan Rice moving the target. Also Walt Disney was photographed (which appears in this Blog) with both the lead actors on the same day I reckon although I didnt know this segment was filmed at Burnham Beeches. I thought it had been done in the trees at the rear of Denham Film Studios. Walt was over during the filming but spent a lot of time at Beaconscot Model Village nearby where there was a miniature railway which he took great interest in.

Clement of the Glen said...

Yes you right Neil.

The out-door shots were taken of Robin taking aim and shooting at the willow-wand. It seems that it was after he chases Marian into the woods that the studio footage was filmed.