Robin Hood's Camp in Sherwood Forest

Maid Marian with Friar Tuck and some of the outlaws.

A fortnight ago I posted a favourite still of mine from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). It showed Maid Marian (Joan Rice) at the camp of Robin Hood surrounded by some of the outlaws. The image above was recently sent in by Neil and gives us another view of the scene, this time from a different angle. Looking at this picture, it is almost possible to feel the warmth of the camp fire and smell the cooking pot. This is yet another example of the artistry and fine attention to detail by the set designer, Carmen Dillon (1908-2000).

Carmen Dillon reveils a model of Nottingham Square for Robin Hood

Four years ago, Neil sent me the article Prejudice and Slacks from The Cinema Sudio (November 1951) in which reporter Catherine O'Brien looked at the immense amount of research and work Carmen Dillon did on the set of Robin Hood. On top of all this of course, we must consider the fact that at the time she was the only woman to succeed in becoming an Oscar winning director. She overcame a huge amount of prejudice during her career at a time when no one in the film business would take a female art director seriously.

Below is an excerpt from the article Prejudice and Slacks:

Carmen Dillon's set design of Robin Hood's camp

"One of the most important sets in the film is the Sherwood Forest camp where Robin Hood and his Merry Men live in outlawry, in their woodland hideout. Some weeks before the film, Carmen accompanied a research party including producer Perce Pearce, script writer Larry Watkin, and film star Richard Todd to Nottingham and returned laden with photographs of every relic of Robin Hood days, which would help her construct the original setting at Denham Studios."

Robin Hood's Caves in Nottingham

Larry Watkin, Richard Todd and some of Disney's research team.

"... the Robin Hood sets are sufficient to demonstrate the huge scale assignment tackled by Carmen Dillon on her latest appointment as art director and the great confidence placed in artistic talent by Walt Disney in the realisation of one of his most ambitious ventures."

(The Cinema Studio: November 1951) 

To learn more about the life and career of Carmen Dillon and to read the fascinating article Prejudice and Slacks please click here. There is also a lot more information on Disney's research party and their look at the incredible caves and sites associated with the Robin Hood legend under the tag 'Film Production' here.


Clement Glen said...

A big thank you to Neil for providing the picture of Marian by the camp fire and the article about art director Carmen Dillon.

Marsha Lambert said...

Enjoyed reading your post.

Clement Glen said...

Thank you Marsha. It is always a pleasure to read comments from my blog visitors.

Mike Giddens said...

Yes fantastic photos, brilliant. The film set of the camp looks remarkably like the real caves, and I would love to have that model village.

Clement Glen said...

Yes Mike! I have often wondered if any of the original props/costumes etc. still exist anywhere. I think I know of a few people who would bid for them!!!!!