Picture Show & Film Pictorial April 12th 1952

Geoff Waite has recently been in touch and very kindly sent in information from the magazine Picture Show & Film Pictorial dated April 12th 1952. This article shows fascinating details of the promotion of Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and how it was received by critics after its release.
He says:
“I recently acquired a copy of the weekly magazine Picture Show & Film Pictorial for April 12 1952 which included a review of the new Disney Robin Hood film and featured Richard Todd and Joan Rice on the front cover.”

“The new releases were allocated three stars for Excellent, two for Very Good and one for Good. You will see that Robin Hood received two stars i.e. Very Good along with the James Stewart release Where the River Bends and that no three stars were awarded that week. Even Doris Day and Gordon MacRae in Starlift only succeeded in gaining one star.”

Geoff continues:
“The film is described as ‘delightful entertainment’ and that ‘Richard Todd is a lively, youthful Robin, and newcomer Joan Rice is a pretty, tomboyish Maid Marian’.

One of the advertisements featured in that particular issue of Picture Show was obviously influenced somewhat by the publicity surrounding the new Disney film although there is no mention of either Disney or Robin Hood.”

I expect some of you have recognised a very young Roger Moore in the advert that Geoff mentiones above. He of course went on to play Ivanhoe, The Saint and James Bond in his long career.  So a very big thank you to Geoff for sending me this wonderful information and giving us all an insight into how the movie was received at the time.
To read many other reviews of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men please click here.

Film & TV Clips of Joan Rice

Joan Rice’s appearance on Thames TV’s This Is Your Life was first broadcast on 23rd November 1988. It was hosted by Michael Aspel who presented the life of Richard Todd.

In March 2010 Neil sent me a copy of that original programme from which I was able to print out the dialogue and show screen shots of their first meeting in thirty seven years which can be seen here: Walt Disneys First Maid Marian.

Also during that time Theresa contacted me and described how nervous Joan was about appearing on that show:

 “I worked at The Kings Arms in Cookham from summer '88 to summer '89. I remember her appearance on ‘This is Your Life’. She had been incredibly nervous and wasn't entirely sure she could do it. She had also had to keep it secret so help and support was not readily available to her.”

Joan Rice and Ken McKenzie in Cookham in 1983

Maria Steyn (once a close friend of Joan Rice) has very kindly uploaded the clip of Joan and Richard’s historical meeting on that show, so that readers of this blog can view it. To see the original video footage please click here: Joan Rice and Richard Todd on 'This Is Your Life.'

Also on Maria's link is a very rare silent newsreel clip of  the wedding of Joan Rice to David Green on February 16th 1953. Maria has also  kindly offered to upload footage of some of Joan Rice’s movies in the future These will appear on this link which will be steadily filled with new clips, movies, videos as they become available, restored and edited for proper viewing - so stay tuned!

Film & Television Production at Burnham Beeches

Due to its beautiful woodland and close proximity to London (25 miles) and many film studios, (Shepperton, Bray and Pinewood) Burnham Beeches in Buckinghamshire, England, has been used for many movie and television projects down the years. It is characterised by a diverse mixture of ancient woodland, wood pasture, coppice, ponds and streams, grassland, mire and heath land. The sites most prominent features are the veteran Beech and Oak pollarded trees which provide a stable habitat for many rare and endangered deadwood species.

It covers an area of 220 hectares (540 acres) and is located close to Farnham Common, Burnham and Beaconsfield.

An ancient pollarded tree in 2009

Filming is tightly controlled due to recognition of the Beeches' international importance for wildlife, restricting filming to no more than 20 days per year and to certain times of year. Filming in environmentally sensitive areas has also been banned. The revenue from filming goes directly to fund the upkeep and management of the Beeches.

During my visit in April 2009 I was given a list of ‘all’ the filming that has taken place there since 1946 and too my horror one film in particular was omitted. Yes you guessed it, Walt Disney’s ‘Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men,’ which was filmed at a number of places in the area, including Mendelssohn’s Slope and Upper and Middle Pond in 1951.

So let’s try and put the record straight:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Film 2010: Daniel Radcliffe

The film crew and production team of Harry Potter at Burnham Beeches in 2009

Creation Film 2008: Paul Bettany, Jenifer Connelly

Made With Magic TV 2008: Jamie Oliver

Jonathan Creek Christmas Special TV 2008: Alan Davies

New Tricks Series 5 TV 2008: Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman

Merlin TV 2008: Colin Morgan, Bradley James

Midsomer Murders TV 2008: John Nettles

Eden Lake Film 2007: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender

Sense & Sensibility TV 2007: Mark Williams, David Morrissey

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix Film 2006: Daniel Radcliffe, Evanna Lynch

Primeval TV 2006: Douglas Henshall, Hannah Spearitt

Waking the Dead TV 2006: Trevor Eve, Sue Johnson

New Tricks TV 2005: Amanda Redman, Dennis Waterman

I Could Never Be Your Woman Film 2005: Michelle Pfeiffer

Driving Lessons FILM 2005: Rupert Grint, Julie Waters

Waking the Dead TV 2005: Trevor Eve, Sue Johnston

King Arthur Film 2004: Clive Owen, Keira Knightley

Winter Solstice TV 2003: Jan Niklas, Geraldine Chaplin

In Deep TV 2002: Nick Berry, Stephen Tompkinson

Born and Bred TV 2002: Naomi Radcliffe, Jenna Russell

The Hole Film 2000: Thora Birch, Keira Knightley

Midsomer Murders TV 2000 John Nettles

The Worst Witch TV Una Stubbs

Alice in Wonderland TV 1998 Whoopi Goldberg, Christopher Lloyd

Family Affairs TV 1998 Ebony Thomas, Kazia Pelka

Plunkett & Macleane Film 1998 Robert Carlyle, Liv Tyler

Merlin TV 1997/8 Sam Neil, Martin Short

Tess of the D’Urbervilles TV 1997 Justin Waddell

Bedroom 7 Hallways Film 1997 Kevin McKidd, Simon Callow

Kavanagh QC TV 1997 John Thaw

Spiceworld Film 1997 The Spice Girls, Richard E Grant

Bright Hair TV 1997 Emilia Fox, John Bowe

Bliss TV 1996 Simon Shepherd

Touching Evil TV 1997 Robson Green

Wilderness TV 1996 Amanda Ooms, Michael Kitchen

Ivanhoe TV 1996 Steve Waddington, Nick Brimble

The Wind in the Willows Film 1996 Steve Coogan, Eric Idle

The Hollow Reed Film 1995 Joely Richardson

Roald Dahl’s Red Riding Hood TV 1995 July Walters, Danny Devito

Guliver’s Travels TV 1995 Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen

Soldier Soldier TV1994/5 Robson Green, Jerome Flynn

Martin Chuzzlewit TV 1994 Julia Sawalha

First Knight Film 1994 Richard Gere, Julia Ormond

Circle of Friends Film 1994 Minnie Driver, Chris O’Donnell

Between The Lines TV 1993 Neil Pearson, Siobhan Redman

The Crying Game Film 1992 Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson

King Ralph Film 1991 Peter O’ Toole, John Goodman

Kevin Costner in Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves
The movie was filmed all over Burnham Beeches

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves Film 1990 Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman

Minder-Xmas Special TV 1988 Denis Waterman, George Cole

The Princess Bride Film 1987 Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn

Slipstream Film 1987 Mark Hamill, Robin Coltrane

Lair of the White Worm Film 1987 Hugh Grant, Amanda Donohoe

Mr Corbett’s Ghost TV 1987 Burgess Meredith, Mel Smith

Company of Wolves Film 1982/3 Angela Lansbury

Who Dares Wins Film 1982 Lewis Collins

Hawk the Slayer Film 1981/2 Jack Palance

Time Bandits Film 1981 John Cleese, Bernard Bresslaw

John Cleese as Robin Hood in Time Bandits

Agatha Film 1979 Dustin Hoffman, Vanessa Redgrave

Dick Turpin TV 1978 Richard O’Sullivan

The Professionals TV 1977 Lewis Collins, Martin Shaw

Carry On England Film 1976 Sid James, Kenneth Williams

The New Avengers TV 1976 Patrick Macknee, Joanna Lumley

Carry On Behind Film 1975 Sid James, Kenneth Williams

Frankenstein: The True Story Film 1973 Ralph Richardson, Jane Seymour

Bless This House Film 1972 Sid James, Diana Coupland

The Benny Hill Show TV 1971 Benny Hill

The Persuaders TV 1971 Roger Moore, Tony Curtis

Carry On Camping Film 1969 Sid James Kenneth Williams

Randall & Hopkirk-Deceased TV 1969 Mike Pratt, Kenneth Cope

Manhunt TV 1969 Cyd Hayman

The Siege of the Saxons Film 1963

Z Cars TV 1962 Colin Welland

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner Film 1962 Michael Redgrave, Tom Courtenay

The Avengers TV 1961 Patrick Macknee, Diana Rigg

Dangerman TV 1960 Patrick McGoohan

(VARIOUS) Hammer Horror films FILM 1960’s -70’s

Goldfinger Film 1960 Sean Connery

A Town Called Alice Film 1956 Peter Finch, Virginia Mc Kenna

Lost Film 1955 Thora Hird

Men of Sherwood Forest Film 1954 Don Taylor, Reginald Beckwith

Perce Pearce the producer of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood
with Art Director Carmen Dillon and 2nd Unit Direcor Alex Bryce at Burnham Beeches

Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men Film 1952 Richard Todd, Joan Rice

London Belongs To Me FILM 1948: Richard Attenborough

Great Expectations FILM 1946 John Mills

If you know of any other TV of film productions not listed that used Burnham Beeches as a location, please get in touch.

Joan Rice with baby Michael

Joan Rice sadly passed away on January 1st 1997. This blog is dedicated to her memory. In Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood, Joan graced the silver screen as Maid Marian and over the last five years I have tried to piece together the life of this beautiful actress.

On February 3rd this year she would have been 82 and no doubt still proud to say how she was handpicked by Walt Disney himself to play the leading lady alongside Richard Todd as Robin Hood. Many of my blog readers and film critics believe she was the best and most influential Maid Marian of all time.

But although her life reads rather like a fairytale, like many it also had its fair share of tragedy. This week Neil has very kindly sent me a press photograph of her dated 7th February 1955. On the reverse side it reads:

“London: Film star Joan Rice is pictured leaving London Airport with her 13-month old son Michael en route to Dublin. She will appear in the play ‘Welcome Stranger’ at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin. Her husband, film actor Richard Greene saw her off.”

Pasted on the back of the photograph is probably the cutting that later appeared:

“Film actress Joan Rice and her 13-month-old son leave London airport for Dublin, where Miss Rice – Mrs David Green in private life – is appearing in a play.”

Interesting that she is wrongly linked with Richard Greene, the famous television Robin Hood of the 1950’s. Sadly Rank Organisation had dropped her contract by this time and her glamorous film career was declining as quickly as it had begun. Her latest movie ‘One Good Turn’ had been released in cinemas a month before she flew out to Dublin and in this she played Iris, alongside the rising comedy star Norman Wisdom.

I have been informed that her son Michael was born on Christmas Day 1953 which just about fits with the press article. Her family have also told me that he tragically committed suicide in the 1990’s.

To read more about the life of Joan Rice and how she went from being a Lyons ‘Nippy’ to a movie star please click on the 46 relevant links in the side bar and below. If you have any more information about her life, please get in touch at disneysrobin@googlemail.com.