Showing posts with label Picture Gallery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Picture Gallery. Show all posts

A Signal Arrow Arrives

I have recently posted a still from Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) showing the scene where the sheriff is led into the outlaws camp. Here is another detailed image of the camp,  created on one of the huge sound stages at Denham Studios by Disney’s art department. This time it shows the moment a whistling arrow arrives, warning Robin Hood (Richard Todd) and his men of imminent danger. 

Those of us who have seen this wonderful film, will know that Little John (James Robertson Justice) has been seen making his way through Sherwood Forest in search of Robin Hood and his men. Eventually Little John meets up with Robin and we witness their fight with quarter-staffs.

Robin Hood is pulled out the stream by Little John

In my opinion this legendry duel has never been bettered on the silver screen.

Robin and Marian

Richard Todd as Robin Hood and Joan Rice as Maid Marian

At this romantic time of year, I thought I would share one of my favourite stills from Walt Disney’s Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). It shows the young lovers Robin Hood (Richard Todd) and Maid Marian (Joan Rice) in one of the opening scenes of the film.

Several new versions of the legend are scheduled to reach the silver screen in the future, including another version by Disney called Nottingham & Hood. But I doubt it will match the sheer quality and magic of this Technicolor masterpiece.

The Sheriff in Robin’s Camp

Stills from the Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men often reveal the wonderful attention to detail by Walt Disney’s art and design department, led by Carmen Dillon. It is hard to believe this scene, like many, were filmed on one of the huge sound stages at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire.

In this image we see a blindfolded Sheriff (Peter Finch) being led into Robin Hood’s (Richard Todd) camp in Sherwood Forest. 

Robin and Hugh Fitzooth

Yet another rare image from our favourite movie! I am always surprised how many of these stills survive. And it is always a thrill to see them. From left to right we can see Robin’s father Hugh Fitzooth played by Reginald Tate, Richard Todd as Robin Hood (Robin Fitzooth) and Alan-a-Dale portrayed wonderfuly by Elton Hayes.

This site has hundreds of images that can be accessed via the ‘Picture Gallery’ label and across the 800 posts on this site. But, if you have any rare images from the movie that you would like to share, please get in touch.

Favourite Pictures

Maid Marian in the outlaws camp.

I have neglected this blog recently, due to my other projects. But I never grow tired of this wonderful movie. So for this post, I have uploaded some of my favourite images from the film.

Richard Todd (Robin), Walt Disney and Joan Rice (Marian)

James Robertson Justice as Little John

Richard Todd as Robin and Joan Rice as Marian

Peter Finch as the Sheriff of Nottingham

Prince John is confronted at Nottingham Castle

Marian helps Robin recover

There are of course hundreds more images on this blog. And I have many other favourites! Just click on the task bar to view the various subjects.

Scathelock's Farm

We have recently looked at some pages from the original script of the film The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men and seen how certain dialogue and scenes were dropped. 

Below is a very rare still from the movie that shows the moment when one of the Sheriff's men grabs a child at William Scathelock's farm. But this very rare still is taken from an unusual angle in the field. A shot not shown in the movie. Is this perhaps another example of a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor. What do you think?

If you have any rare images from the film, please get in touch.

The Sheriff of Nottingham pelted with vegetables!

Peter Finch as the Sheriff of Nottingham

After all these years, I still occasionally discover fabulous unseen stills from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). Above is a fine example. It shows Peter Finch as the Sheriff of Nottingham being pelted with vegetables by the townsfolk in the market square. This was after Scathelock is rescued by Robin Hood and his men.

Above and below are some enlarged sections from the same image, showing the detail of art director Carmen Dillon's fabulous set at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire, England.

To see a lot more images and stills from this wonderful movie please click here.

Richard the Lionheart departs on Crusade

Hubert Gregg as Prince John watches his brother leave on Crusade

A month ago I posted about Peter Ellenshaw (1913-2007) and his amazing matte work for Walt Disney (it can be read here). The image above is a perfect example - and captures one of my favourite scenes from the movie.

As the sun sets, Hubert Gregg (1914-2004) as Prince John, watches from the turrets of Nottingham Castle as his brother King Richard I departs with his knights for the Holy Land. The background music accompanying the scene contained a Gregorian chant that I have been unable to trace.

The day I saw this, in all its Technicolor splendour on the silver screen at my local cinema, I was enthralled. And I have loved this movie ever since.

Before computer-generated-imagery, or CGI as it is called, 'matte' paintings were used. These were created by artists using paints or pastels on large sheets of glass or integrating with the live-action footage via a double exposure. Peter Ellenshaw used this technique flawlessly on more than 30 films for Walt Disney Studios. He began working as a freelancer for Walt Disney in 1947 and became involved in the making of Treasure Island, the studios first live-action movie. It was the art director Carmen Dillon (1908-2000) that recommended Peter’s work to Walt Disney, for his next project in England, ‘The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men’ in 1952.

Thanks to Laurence we now know that on Robin Hood, Peter Ellenshaw actually painted 52 matte shots. A technique that impressed the film’s producer Ken Annakin so much, that in his next picture for Disney, The Sword and The Rose, he used 64 of Ellenshaw’s fine matte work.

So began Peter’s long career with the Disney Studios and a 30 year friendship with Walt Disney himself, of whom he regarded as a 'wonderful inspiration'. Ellenshaw was officially designated a 'Disney Legend' in 1993.

Richard Todd, Joan Rice and Elton Hayes's Autographs

Richard Todd signs as Robin Earl of Locksley

Here is the second set of autographs kindly sent in by John Nelson. John says:

Just look at the wonderful inscriptions on them.  It was very kind of him to do this for me [Richard Todd],very patient,  and with his gifted neat hand wanted to make them as special and unique as he could for me.
I hope you like them.
He certainly was a wonderful gentleman and it was always a great pleasure meeting him.
You certainly work hard on your blog and I'm sure it is very much appreciated and enjoyed by all your followers .
I am also sending you my signed photos of Joan. I was given them by my very good friend Barry who had the good fortune of meeting her after a theatre performance.
I'm sure you will agree she looks beautiful in her Marion costumes.
He took some persuading in parting with them I can tell you. 

Richard Todd signs as Robin Fitzooth of Huntingdon

Richard Todd's signature as Robin Hood

Joan Rice as Maid Marian

Joan's letter (below) is sent from The Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth and dated 6th December 1969. She writes:

Dear George,

Thank you very much for your sweet letter - I am glad you enjoyed the play. Please forgive me but I cannot send you a photograph as I haven't got round to organising a new still session yet. May I reciprocate your best wishes. Many thanks. I hope you will have a lovely Christmas and prosperous New Year. 

Yours Sincerely

Joan Rice 

Joan Rices's letter

Joan Rice as Maid Marian

Elton Hayes's signature

Many thanks to John Nelson for sharing this collection of autographs. To see a whole assortment of memorabilia from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men please click here

Laurence's autograph collection

Above is the fabulous autograph collection owned by Laurence. The 'Memorabilia' section has many examples like this.

Please get in touch if you would like to share any collections or memories you have of this wonderful classic. 

In the sidebar there is a whole range of subjects connected to this movie. They include information about the lives of the stars that appeared in the film, the people involved in its production and the legend that inspired it. 

Robin Hood's Test Shots

Over the past ten years we have made some fascinating discoveries about Walt Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). But I was beginning to think there was nothing else to surprise me, until Neil sent me these two intriguing images:

Neil says:
"I have been looking through my film memorabilia and come across these two stills which I have not taken notice of previously - I don't know why because they are very unusual and very interesting.
Richard Todd as Robin Hood is posing with his father in one of them - BUT it is not the actor Reginald Tate, who plays his father in the film - and looks like a stand-in for a pre production design set up.
The clothes are quite different to those in the film - and Richard Todd has slightly shorter hair and in these stills looks nothing like as convincing as he does in the film.
On the other picture there are three of them - Richard Todd as Robin, Someone as his father AND another stand-in for Red Gill I would guess - who was played in the film by Archie Duncan.
It could be that these men are stunt doubles as they are similar in stature to the actors.
The costumes also look wrong - and my opinion is that they were going through the options until they got it right which they did of course.
Another thing - the backdrop - I  at first,  thought this might be a real backdrop but looking further I am leaning towards a studio set picture - and I think that is what it was."

These do seem to be 'test shots', used - as Neil says - by Walt Disney's production crew on Robin Hood, for design and cinematic purposes. But it does seem unusual for the images to be released in the form of 'movie stills.' Below is how Archie Duncan as Red Gill, Richard Todd as Robin Hood and Reginald Tate as Hugh Fitzooth later appeared in the movie.

A still showing the stars and their costumes

Seeing these two experimental pictures taken during the early stages of production, reminded me of a post I did back in November 2012 about a picture I discovered of Joan Rice in a costume that was never used in the movie. It  tied-in with a  memo sent by Walt Disney to Perce Pearce and Fred Leahy regarding Joan Rice's Maid Marian costume:
“The final tests arrived the first part of the week and we looked at them. I think [Richard] Todd is wonderful, and I feel he will project a great deal of personality and do a lot for the role.Joan Rice is beautiful and charming. I think, however, she will need some help on her dialogue. I thought at times, she lacked sincerity, although one of her close-ups was very cute. I do not care much about her costume in the first scenes. It seems that women of that period always have scarves up around their chins, but I think it does something to a woman’s face. I’d like to see us avoid it, if possible, or get around it in some way or other-maybe use it in fewer scenes.When we see Miss Rice disguised as a page, this costume seemed bulky and heavy. The blouse or tunic was too long and hung too far down over her hips-it didn't show enough of her and I thought distracted from her femininity. I do believe the costume did much to set off her femininity. I think a slight showing of the hips would help a lot."
Joan Rice as Marian in a costume never used in the film

Joan Rice wearing the updated costume.

Walt Disney continued in his memo:
" ... I liked Elton Hayes as Allan-a-Dale. He has a good voice with quite an appeal. The last word I had from Larry [Watkin] was to the effect that he would be sending in a new and complete script very soon. I have been following his changes and the little thoughts I have are close to “lint-picking”, which I feel he is smoothing out in his final script, so I won’t bother about passing on my thoughts until I get his so-called final script...”
                                                                                                     Walt Disney  

Special thanks to Neil for sending in those extremely rare pictures. They have given us yet another fascinating insight into the pre-production of
 Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men.

Roger Snowdon as Hubert

Joan Rice as Maid Marian and Roger Snowdon as Hubert

There are over forty unnamed extras in Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952). I am still trying to identify many of them, but thanks to a movie still, one mystery has been solved. 

The image above reveals the name of the actor playing Hubert, the mysterious servant of Prince John. It was the English actor Roger Snowdon (1924 -1986)

Snowdon only appears as Hubert briefly in one scene. He leads Maid Marian  (Joan Rice) to his master Prince John. The evil prince, played by Hubert Gregg, then locks her in a cell in Nottingham Castle.

Roger Snowdon

There is uncertainty over the date of Roger Snowdon's birth. The IMDb states that his full name was Roger Stuart Snowdon Morena Hoffmeyer and that he was born in Wandsworth, Surrey, England on April 24th 1914. Some other sites give his birth year as 1926.

But there is no doubt that Roger Snowdon had a varied and interesting career on stage, television and radio. He is noted for his performances in  TV dramas like Anna Christie (1946), The Only Way (1948) and Follow The Boys (1963)

Snowdon also appeared in many classic television series like The Buccaneers (1956), Dixon of Dock Green (1957), No Hiding Place (1959) and Dr Finlay's Casebook (1965). He passed away in Camden, London, on March 19th 1986.

It would have been interesting to hear his recollections of appearing in Disney's live-action movie.

The 'Picture Gallery' now has over 102 images from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood.' To see them all please click here.

Richard Todd and Joan Rice

Richard Todd and Joan Rice

Above is a publicity still for Walt Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men which starred Richard Todd, Joan Rice and a whole host of celebrated British actors and actresses. It is one of my favourite images from the film and I think you will agree that their passionate clinch is unusual for a Disney production.

The Story of Robin Hood had its world premiere in London on March13th 1952. On the back of the picture is the date June 18th 1952.  This is possibly an indication that it was used as promotional material for the films release in New York.

By this time, Richard Todd (1919-2009) was already a popular actor. He had received an Oscar nomination for his role as 'Lachie' in The Hasty Heart (1949) and recently finished Hitchcock's Stage Fright (1950) and King Vidor's Lightning Strikes Twice (1951). 

But for Joan Rice, the former 'Nippy' from a Lyons tea house, this was her first big break. Joan had spent her childhood in a convent in Nottingham and had often played amongst the oaks of Sherwood Forest. So it must have been like a dream come to be personally selected by Walt himself to play the part of Maid Marian in his British production. 

To read more about the life of Joan Rice please click here.

Denham Studios or Burnham Beeches ?

Joan Rice (Maid Marian) and Richard Todd (Robin Hood)

These rare stills, taken from Walt Disney's live action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) raise a number of interesting questions. Was this scene filmed on one of the huge sound stages at Denham Studios? On location at Burnham Beeches? Or both?

Joan Rice and Richard Todd

I originally believed that the scene in which Robin chases Marian through the woodland was filmed at Denham.  But now I am not so sure. The sets were so realistic it is hard to tell. What do you think?


Above is the wonderful montage by Laurence of Walt Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood (which I now use as the header for the Facebook site). Regular readers will be aware of Laurence's input. He created the fantastic picture strip of the film that allowed us fans to relieve its magical moments. You can see those picture strips here.

The first page of the picture strip

Below is Laurence's autograph collection of the stars of Disney's Story of Robin Hood which we are all very envious of!

After reading on this blog that Ivanhoe (1952) was a favourite movie of mine, Laurence kindly sent in a fabulous montage of that film.

And below are a couple of other montages that Laurence created a few years ago of Walt Disney's live-action movies.

Disney's Rob Roy (1953)

Disney's Treasure Island (1951)

There is more of Laurence's work to follow.

Fight Training

Richard Todd as Robin Hood and James Robertson Justice as Little John

Down the years Neil has contributed a vast amount of information to this blog and also has his own wonderful website dedicated to the Films of the Fifties.  He has recently discovered a fascinating article about the making of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood (1952)It includes this very rare image (above) and an article about the training given by Rupert Evans for the fight scenes in the movie.

Neil says:

There is a new photograph [above] there of Richard Todd and James Robertson Justice rehearsing for the quarter staff fight - it is not much of a picture BUT it is yet another find ... If you look at the cart to the left - that appears in a scene where Little John  trots across with the horse that Peter Finch is going to be placed on. That was quite a set of Robin Hood s camp - I remember Ken Annakin saying that it was at least 200 ft. wide which is massive.
Look closely at the picture though and it underlines - something I have said so often - how good the set is. It looks like real woodland.

This certainly is an interesting insight into the preparation that went on behind-the-scenes at Denham Studios during the making of that wonderful film. Being behind-the-scenes at Denham in 1951 is an experience many of us fans could only dream of.

The picture above also reminded me of another image we  have seen of Richard Todd and James Robertson Justice preparing for the quarter-staff fight scene.

Richard Todd, James Robertson Justice and Ken Annakin

Neil describes the magazine article in which the picture appeared:

This article appears in an American Publication of August 1952 called 'Boys Life' and this is towards the back of the magazine which would come out just after the July 1952 release of The Story of Robin Hood in America. We had it in Feb or March of 1952 as you know..

This is what the article says:

When you see the new Walt Disney RKO live-action film, THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD - and don't miss it- you'll see hand-to-hand combats in which the actors used no doubles. Robin Hood, legendary fighter of freedom, is most famous as an archer, and the film does have some eye-popping shots with bows and arrows. But Robin and his men could also bloody the heads of tyrants with their fists, knives, swords cudgels or six foot long  quarter-staves, a speciality of the period (for the movie about 1190 A.D.)
That was the time when the good King Richard the Lionhearted, left England for the Holy Land, and his weak, greedy brother, Prince John, oppressed the people. For resisting, Robin Hood and his followers were outlawed, but they hid in Sherwood Forest, raiding and  making fools of Prince John's men. For the numerous action scenes the actors were trained by a former coach of the British Royal Marines. Richard Todd, as Robin Hood, mastered all the weapons. Todd would be a tough man to tangle with now, even if he didn't have a quarter staff along.

Back in 2010 I posted about the Tough Guy Agency. This was the organisation that supplied stunt men and fight-training for films like The Story of Robin Hood and other action films of that period. I found the article in the Super Cinema Annual 1954. It featured a piece on Mickey Wood (1897-1963) the self-defence and physical training expert who was manager of the agency Tough Guys Limited which provided stunt people for films, including Disney’s Story of Robin Hood (1952). Perhaps Rupert Evans was connected to this company. This is the piece from the annual:

"Through the leafy green thicket of Sherwood Forest came a wiry little man on a shaggy forest pony. Without pausing, the rider galloped the pony straight into a wide and deep stream which cut its meandering way through the trees. The spray shot up around them, hiding them from view for an instant. Then came the deep twang of a bow string. A long slender arrow sped through the air. With a sickening thud, it caught the rider full in the chest, even as he reached mid-stream.

He threw up his arms and fell from the pony, to land with a splash in the water. The frightened animal was left alone to struggle to the other side. The body of the man floated downstream, face upwards, arms outstretched, with the deadly arrow sticking up from his chest for all the world like a sail-less mast of some stricken ship-

Recognise this scene?

Well it was taken from ‘Robin Hood,’ that wonderful R.K.O. film which so faithfully portrayed the adventures of England’s ever-green hero of Sherwood Forest.We went to interview Mickey Wood and found him in his office in Wardour Street, the centre of all the world’s film companies in England. He is a quiet, unassuming man in his early fifties and his office walls are filled with pictures of the many hair-raising stunts which his own tough experts have performed, or have taught well known film stars to do.

Yes we can hear you saying, “I suppose that was a dummy which a good marksman shot off the pony. It was jolly well done though.”

It certainly was well done! But that dramatic scene was no fake-the man on the pony was alive and surprisingly enough, has lived to perform many other daring stunts. For the rider was none other than Mickey Wood, principal of the ‘Tough Guys Stage and Screen Agency.’

Rupert Evans with James Hayter as Friar Tuck
And yet Mickey had an operation when he was a boy which would have been enough to kill many people, if not make them permanently disabled. He was trepanned and to this day [1954] he carries in his head a silver plate as a grim relic of this operation.

But Mickey Wood refused to let this put him off. At school he became the schoolboy boxing champion, took up wrestling and self defence and later on became the light-weight champion of Great Britain. Besides self-defence, he became an expert in swimming, diving, swordsmanship and riding.

During the last War, Mickey taught the Commando troops all he knew about self-defence and many of them must have found that knowledge invaluable when they came to grips with the enemy.

Peter Finch the Sheriff with Rupert Evans

Today, his ‘Tough Guys Agency’ has about three hundred and fifty people on its books, all of them experts in their various ways-ranging through boxers, wrestlers, high-divers, fencers, archers, car-crashers, circus acrobats and many other “tough guys.” But not only men-for Mickey has a number of extremely able young ladies who are willing to risk life and limb in the cause of stunting.

Micky’s first film-fight came in a film of George Formbey’s called ‘George in Civvy Street,’ when he worked with Kid Lewis, the famous boxer. Recent films in which Mickey has taken part are ‘Robin Hood,' already mentioned, ‘High Treason,’ ‘The Wooden Horse,’ and ‘Ivanhoe.’ The latter being the most spectacular and the one in which a big team of Mick’s people were engaged.

They had to leap from the castle battlements. Take part in fierce fights with swords, maces and all amidst clouds of arrows. But don’t run away with the idea that the fights such as you see here are haphazard affairs-not a bit of it!

These stunt men and women are tough, but they have no wish to throw their lives away just for the sake of a good picture. Every fight is carefully rehearsed and, very often, when two men are engaged in combat, practically every blow is planned beforehand. This is absolutely necessary; otherwise it could easily lead to serious injury or perhaps the death of one of the combatants."

 James Robertson Justice and Richard Todd in The Story of Robin Hood

Thanks to Neil for sending in the Boys Life article.

The Sheriff in the Outlaws' Camp

The Sheriff (Peter Finch) at the head of the table of outlaws

This very rare image taken from Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952) was sent to me by Christian.
In this scene the Sheriff of Nottingham (Peter Finch) has been captured by Robin Hood and his men and brought to the outlaws' camp in Sherwood Forest.

The outlaw camp was part of the magnificent sent designed by Carmen Dillon on one of the huge sound stages at Denham Studios in Buckinghamshire. The picture above shows her legendary attention to detail and is an example of why Walt Disney chose her to be the art director (a rare position for a woman in those days) on The Story of Robin Hood. Information about her life and work can be read here.

Below is a list of some of the actors that played Robin Hood's Merrie Men:

John Brooking: - Merrie Man

Ivan Craig: - Merrie Man

John French: - Merrie Man

Richard Graydon :- Merrie Man

Geoffrey Lumsden: - Merrie Man

John Martin: - Merrie Man

Larry Mooney: - Merrie Man

Nigel Neilson: - Merrie Man

Charles Perry: - Merrie Man

Ewen Solon: - Merrie Man

John Stamp: - Merrie Man

Jack Taylor: - Merrie Man

If you know of any other actors that appeared in the movie as Merrie Men or have any anecdotal stories about their experiences on set please get in touch.

Story of Robin Hood Montage

Isn't this a fabulous montage of our favourite film!

It was sent in to me this week by Laurence and shows the main characters from Walt Disney's live-action movie The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men (1952).This colourful depiction of a forest scene has already become very popular on our Facebook Page.

Four years ago Laurence also created a wonderful picture strip of the whole movie. His skilful adaption was hugely popular with the readers and ran to forty two separate pages. The first page of the strip can be seen below.

Page one of Laurence's picture strip of the movie.

To see the complete picture strip of Disney's Story of Robin Hood please click here. Or click on Picture Strip in the task bar.