Joan Rice at the Premier of Disney's Robin Hood


I know that some of my regular readers will be thrilled to see yet another unique image carefully restored of Joan Rice, courtesy of Horace Ward.

As many of you know, Horace was a press photographer who attended the premier of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men at the Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 13th March 1952. He explained that this stunning photograph was taken with an Ilford Glass Plate and a Philips Flashbulb.

The Whistling Arrows were sent a slightly different version of this photograph after winning the blog competition a year ago. But this picture of beautiful Joan Rice (Maid Marian) posing for the world’s press, reveals more detail of the amazing display in the theatre.

15 comments:

Clement of the Glen said...

Joan Rice at the Premier of Disney's Story of Robin Hood.

World Premier Leicester Square Theatre on Thursday 13th March 1952

Press Photographer, Horace Ward.

Ladytink_534 said...

I love seeing premiere photos from Disney movies!

Herns son said...

Great clement, i wish there was a shot of the painting in the background, i dont think we have ever seen that backdrop before. Joan, how lovely she is.

Clement of the Glen said...

I suppose there's no chance of those paintings used in the backdrop surviving somewhere. Is there???

We live in hope Mike!

Ladytink: I never thought I would ever see pictures from the premier of this film. Especially of Joan Rice. But thankfuly dear Horace got in touch and made it possible. Its the wonderful input from my readers that make it so worthwhile.

Neil said...

I may be wrong but I dont think that Richard Todd attended the London Film Premiere as I am pretty sure he was away filming.
It is wonderful to see such a photograph of Joan Rice as this one and also to actually hear from someone who not only attended the occasion but also Joan Rice's wedding. He must have known her quite well. She certainly looks very beautiful in this shot. What a good decision Walt Disney made in casting her as Maid Marian. She was at the peak of her all too brief film career at this point. I have asked this question so many times - what happened and why after two such high profile international films did her film career just stall. Had she had a good agent I would guess that it would not have faded. Who knows ?
She had the world at her feet then but she was a young girl and under contract to a major British Studio and she must have just left hem to handle things - and they seemed to lose faith in her.

Herns son said...

I love hearing Joans voice as well, sweet and lilting and although her film career was brief she left a lasting impression. Neil may be right , the studio must have let her down or perhaps she had acomplished a certain goal and was satisfied wth that. Thankfully her best work survives in being Marian for us.

Clement of the Glen said...

Joan mentioned to Teresa that the movie industry had changed, and this had hampered her career. I have managed to see most of her movies now and regrettably she never seemed to me, to get a role (apart from Maid Marian), that she could really ‘get her teeth into.’

Now this could be down to the films chosen with the help of her agent George Routledge, perhaps we will never know. Apart from O’Keefe and Robin Hood, Joan was given fringe characters, which is such a shame.

I totally disagree with Ken Annakin and Richard Todd, when they said she couldn’t act. She definitely could, along with a screen persona that will never be forgotten, especially here.

Joan’s life in film faded but her acting career didn’t and it seems she continued her acting career quite successfully on the stage.

Herns son said...

Well said Sir!!

Neil said...

It seems us 'gallant lads' would defend Joan Rice one hundred percent. For years when in conversation I might be asked for my favourite Film Star - female - I always answer without any hesitation - Joan Rice !
Maybe I am wrong about her agent - he was probably pretty good and Joan would have known far better than me about the changing film industry of the time. When she visited Hollywood on the way back from O'Keefe I would have thought that a door of opportunity might have opened there. I have a feeling that her marriage did not help for whatever reason. It is all speculation but the sheer fact that we continue to wonder about her says something for the impact of this girl on our lives. All lives are touched and influenced by people in some way - it does seem that many of us have The Story of Robin Hood as a big influence. Mike and I would have grown up in an era when the films had a great impact on us and there were a lot on release at any one time. This film we all remember

Herns son said...

The cinema has changed so much, going to the "pictures" was really an event, for a start there were two films, there were newsreals even a cartoon. Nowadays people are thrust into a thin walled so called theater, your hustled in and hustled out, one film, a few extra loud adverts and its all over. todays young film goers know no different , i am so glad i had those days,The story of Robin Hood was magical to watch , then heading home to relive it all time and time again, trying to scrape Nine pennies together to go again. I collected empty bottles and old rags , and ran errands too make the money for the cinema,to hero worship Robin hood and drool over Maid Marian I'm sure Neil, you done the same. Happy Days

Avalon said...

She was so beautiful and talented. She made the perfect Maid Marian.

Neil said...

Mike's comments about the cinema programmes of that time having at least two films is of course absolutely right. In America The Story of Robin Hood was shown on the circuit along with The Water Birds ( a wildlife film) and The Little House (animated) BUT I dont know what it was billed with here. Although I saw the film at the time I cant remember. I must trawl through Picturegoer or Picture Show magazines to try and find out unless someone out there knows. Also I have mentioned this before - can we find a film of the actual trailer - think this would be great but it seems elusive.

Clement of the Glen said...

This is very frustrating Neil. I have scoured many old magazines of the time. but so far I have had no luck. The Internet isn't much use either.

There is a good chronological list for the Disney films and when they were released in America, but nothing to indicate what the 'B' movie was with Robin Hood at that time in England during March 1952.

In the States, Robin Hood was released by RKO together with Water Birds on June 26th 1952.

It looks like I need to trawl through old newspaper adverts.

Herns son said...

Whenever i saw the story of Robin Hood , it was teamed with "Lady and the tramp" but first in 1952 I am pretty sure it was "Cinderella". or "Peter pan" i cant be 100% certain though.both these were made a year or two before and after Robin Hood

Herns son said...
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