The year before Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood opened in London; Hal Roach Jnr’s Tales of Robin Hood was released in the USA through Lippert Pictures Inc. Film production began on 17th August 1951 at the Hal Roach studios and it was released in the USA on 21st December of that same year. (IMDb dates differ).
I must confess I have never seen this version (so if you know where I can get a copy, please let me know!) but it has been described by some as low-budget and more like a television episode! This could be due to the fact that it was rumoured to have been considered originally as a pilot for a TV series, but the series never materialized, so it was released to theatres.
This 60 minute black and white version of the legend did get good reviews for its cinematography by Hollywood veteran George Robinson, although Robert Clarke and Broadway musical star Mary Hatcher make a lacklustre Robin and Marian. Leroy H Zehren’s original story and screenplay has Robert Clarke as the young Saxon Earl of Locksley, losing his property to his new Norman overlords and fleeing to Sherwood Forest where he eventually meets Little John and Will Scarlet played by Wade Crosby and Robert Bice respectively. The film has the familiar themes; Robin robs the wealthy to give to the poor, attends an archery contest, has a climatic duel and eventually is reinstated with his noble title. The movie concludes with Friar Tuck announcing the engagement of Robin and Marian.
Some scenes were shot on the set that had been created for the 1950 Sierra Pictures film Joan of Arc, directed by Victor Fleming and starring Ingrid Bergman.
Robert Clarke - Robin Hood
Mary Hatcher - Maid Marian
Paul Cavanagh - Sir Guy [de Clermont]
Wade Crosby - Little John
Whit Bissell - Will Stutely
Ben Welden - Friar Tuck
Robert Bice - Will Scarlet
Keith Richards - Sir Alan
Bruce Lester - Alan A. Dale
Tiny Stowe - Sheriff of Nottingham
Lester Matthews - Sir [Hugh] Fitzwalter
John Vosper - Earl of Chester
Norman Bishop - Much
Margia Dean - Betty
Lorin Raker - Landlord
George Slocum - Captain of the guards
John Doucette - Wilfred
John Harmon - Robber
Matt McHugh - Guard
David Stollery - Robin as a boy
• James Tinling - Director
• Hal Roach, Jr. - Producer
• George Robinson - Cinematographer
• Leon Klatzkin - Composer (Music Score)
• McClure Capps - Art Director
• Richard C. Currier - Editor
• Author: LeRoy H. Zehren