The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946)


Occasionally I like to look at how the legend of Robin Hood has been interpreted on the silver screen. There are now 40 pages dedicated to the ‘Robin Hood’ movies. Of course The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is looked upon by every movie critic as the bench-mark to which all later cinematic versions about the outlaw hero are judged and it took Hollywood eight years before they attempted a return to  the outlaw’s haunts. But they did, with Columbia’s The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946), which is based on the novel, ‘Son of Robin Hood’ by Paul A Castleton.


Cornel Wilde as Robert of Nottingham

The tyrannical King John is now dead and the outlaws have all disbanded. Robin (Russell Hicks) and Marian have a fully grown son, Robert of Nottingham (Cornel Wilde), who eventually helps the Queen Mother and the beautiful Lady Catherine (Anita Louise) to protect the young King Henry III from the evil William Pembroke (Henry Daniell) and the nasty, but bumbling Sheriff (Lloyd Corrigan).


Anita Louise and Cornel Wilde


Of course, the veteran Robin Hood, Earl of Huntingdon, and his band of stalwarts Little John (Ray Teal), Friar Tuck (Edgar Buchanan), Will Scarlet (John Abbott) and Allen-A-Dale (Leslie Denison) return to their old ways to assist his son and save the young king from the clutches of the despotic Regent of England.
This 85 minute romp through the pages of England’s favorite story book hero has very little of the quality of the previous Warner Brothers masterpiece. But it does retain the sumptuous Technicolor glamour of its predecessor, owing to the experience of three cinematographers including, Tony Gaudio, who had previously worked on The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Anita Louise as the imprisoned Lady Catherine

With his specially padded shoulders and his toothy smile, (somewhat reminiscent of Douglas Fairbanks) Cornel Wilde (a real-life Olympic champion fencer) does an acceptable job as the son of the outlaw. Anita Louise as the high-born Lady Catherine, lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother, finally got her chance to become the love interest in a ‘Robin Hood Movie’. She had previously been scheduled to play Maid Marian alongside Errol Flynn for Warner Brothers but was dropped in favor of Olivia deHavilland.

Anita Louise and Cornel Wilde
 
On several occasions, particularly during the ‘Bandit’s’ climatic sword-fight scene in the castle, we also witness a nod to the famous expressionistic shadow shots used by the ‘Adventures’ director Michael Curtiz’. But sadly, with the Merry Men all galloping around on stallions like the 7th Cavalry, this movie has more resemblance to the fast pace and shoot -‘em-up qualities of a B-western produced for Saturday matinees. Still, this colorful adventure did earn Columbia an impressive $3 million at the box office, which is impressive for a movie with a modest budget like this one.


3 comments:

Clement Glen said...

Occasionally I like to look at how the legend of Robin Hood has been interpreted on the silver screen. There are now 40 pages dedicated to the ‘Robin Hood’ movies. Of course ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (1938) is looked upon by every movie critic as the bench-mark to which all later cinematic versions about the outlaw hero are judged and it took Hollywood eight years before they attempted a return to the outlaw’s haunts. But they did, with Columbia’s The Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946), which is based on the novel, ‘Son of Robin Hood’ by Paul A Castleton.

Cornel Wilde
Anita Louise

Neil said...

Cornel Wilde is an interesting character. Later in his career he produced, directed and starred in The Naked Prey 1966 in which he was pursued through the African jungle by hostile natives. I remember seeing this when it was first released and it was good. This on The Bandit of Sherwood Forest is also a good one. A year or two later we had Jon Hall in The Prince of Thieves and then John Derek Rogues of Sherwood Forest - all in colour.

Clement Glen said...

Thanks Neil.
I will feature the 'Prince of Thieves' and 'Rogues of Sherwood Forest' in later posts. They were very colourful romps !