IMDb Review

Below are some interesting comments made on the IMDb site by tobisteiner72 about Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). I intend to show a few more reviews from various sources in the future.

“A winner in every way. Lush Technicolor costumes and sets (featuring matte work by Peter Ellenshaw), crisp pacing, convincing--i.e., non-hammy--acting, all highlighted by vivid dialogue.

Now, as to specifics, here are some of my favorite aspects of this undeservedly overlooked classic. First (and most obvious, but hey, it's pretty important): Richard Todd's Robin. I fell in love with him when I saw the movie on Wonderful World of Disney (I was born the year it was released, 1952), and have followed his career with interest ever since. His archery and other swashbuckling actions are persuasive but not gimmicky, his romantic aura is compelling but not slick, and his leadership qualities are authoritative and incisive but not overbearing. And he has a sense of humor!

Some of the less obvious reasons I rate this film a "10": The framing device of Allan-a-Dale (and the lovely singing/playing of Elton Hayes); within that, I love the small, unassuming, sweet-natured dog who follows the minstrel wherever he goes. The dialogue and business shared by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Anthony Eustrel, I believe), Prince John (Hubert Gregg), and Queen Eleanor (Martita Hunt). The childhood friendship of Robin and Marian that gradually ripens into romance. Thus, when she disguises herself as a page in order to seek out Robin Fitzooth to prove his loyalty to king and country, her emotional stake lends sympathy and believability to her actions. The economical scene-shifting that takes Robin from his quarterstaff skirmish with Little John to his brook-side battle with Friar Tuck--which in turn leads, seamlessly, to an ambush by the Sheriff of Nottingham and his goons. Spoiler Alert (in case another is needed)! Check out the grisly but tastefully handled demise of the Sheriff--getting squashed and/or bisected between an inexorably closing drawbridge and the castle wall! No matter how many times I see this film (and it's been quite a few), this scene always makes me rub my hands and cackle gleefully.

I could cite many other reasons why I love this film, but if you ask for one quality that sets it apart from every other Robin Hood film I've seen--including one very famous (and in my opinion, vastly overrated) supposed classic--I would say: Heart. As in warm, true, and loyal. And it will warm the hearts of viewers not jaded by overblown yet hollow swashbucklers and pompous, pretentious epics.”

I hope tobisteiner72 does not mind me posting this review or for that matter IMDb, but it is a good example of the general agreement- felt I am sure amongst our loyal band, The Whistling Arrows- that Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men deserves recognition as one of the best films to come out of England during the 1950’s.

If you would like to add your review or memories of seeing the movie, just send it to and I will be pleased to post it. Please click on the Reviews Label to see previous postings.


Clement of the Glen said...

IMDb Review
Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952)

Neil said...

This really is a terrific still from the film. The sharpness of the picture and the colour make it look as though it had been taken just a week or two ago. Completely blemish free. I think we have to give a great deal of credit to the modern technology that allows us to remaster these films. Maybe this was taken from the recent showing of the film on TV which I am sure someone has stated on this blog was taken from the original 35mm print as opposed to the DVD offering otherwise available

Clement of the Glen said...

Hi Neil,

The image was taken from my DVD copy of the Channel 4 showing of the movie a number of years ago. It was kindly sent to me by Hern's Son (Mike).

And yes I believe it was from the original 35mm reveiling the films crisp and lush colour.

I have read that the recent DVD version on sale across America does not have this quality, which begs the question WHY ???

Herns son said...

Yes lads, the copy i have is the best i have seen, kindly sent to me by a Scottish gentleman, sadly i have lost contact with him but will always be grateful to him for this.the still clement is one of my favorite and funny moments in the film as well.