Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
Director: Michael Curtiz
Starring: William Keighley, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Haviland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Herbert Mundin, Una O'Connor, Melville Cooper, Ian Hunter, Montagu Love
Oscars: Best Musical Score (Erich Wolfgang Korngold), Art Direction, Editing
Probably the best of the many Robin Hood tales, with, some say, Errol Flynn in his best role ever.
Norman rule over England was rather rough under Richard the Lion-Hearted with the system of feudalism enforcing poverty on so many. Most Englishmen were poor tenant farmers who lived in meager huts. The Sheriffs and bailiffs were the Lord of the Manor's enforcers.
Surrounding the farmlands were at times royal forests where no entrance was allowed to the general public. But outlaws did hide out in the forests.
There may not have been a real Robin Hood. There were plenty of outlaws around who did live in the royal forests. These outlaws were often regarded as heroes because people admired those who would disobey the rules of the Lords. The first Robin was an impulsive yeomen who could started that were added onto and a tradition of story telling about Robin Hood began. Now being an outlaw is a double-edged charge and so the ballads started adding the theme of Robin being a man who robbed the rich to give to the poor -- so, in this way at least, he wasn't really an outlaw at all.
The ballads do mention a royal forest called Sherwood Forest in Nottingham used by Robin Hood. The forest was 19,000 acres of dense oak trees, including the major oak which is said to be the oak under which Robin and his merry men gathered. Robin was over the years given a more noble start. It was said that he was Robert, Earl of Lochsley, in south Yorkshire.
In the tales of Robin Hood, Robin resists the evil King John to support King Richard, the Lion-Hearted who for the ten years he ruled England was only in that country for six months total.
See "Lion-Heart" for more background information.
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