Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Rogues of Sherwood Forest ( 1950 )

After the box-office success of Warner Brother's The Adventures of Robin Hood in 1938, a number of studios tried to replicate the appeal of the original by creating their own versions of the Robin Hood legends with such films as The Bandit of Sherwood Forest ( 1946 ), The Prince of Thieves ( 1948 ), The Story of Robin Hood ( 1952 ), The Men of Sherwood Forest ( 1954 ), and The Sword of Sherwood Forest ( 1960 ).

Most of these films were just standard fare, but one Columbia Pictures production stood out as a fitting sequel to ( or rather, a replica of ) The Adventures of Robin Hood, it was The Rogues of Sherwood Forest released in 1950. John Derek may not have had the charisma of Errol Flynn but he portrayed the character with a vigor suitable to the son of that knavish hero of yor. 

The Rogues of Sherwood Forest is set in a post-King Richard England. With his brother dead, Prince John ( George MacReady ) - now in his 50s - takes control of the throne once again and he hasn't lost any of his youthful zest for bloodshed and tyranny. Aghast at the injustice of this malicious monarch is Robin, Earl of Huntington, son of the famous Robin Hood, who has also since passed on. He rallies up some of his father's old cronies - including Little John, Friar Tuck and Will Scarlet - and gathers a fresh band of outlaws to wage woodland war on Prince John and his cohorts. 

Alan Hale costars as Little John in his final film role ( and his third outing as the stout comrade ). The lovely Diana Lynn portrays Lady Marianne ( not Marion, but awfully close ) with the now-retired merry men of the greenwood being played by Billy House ( Friar Tuck ), Billy Bevan ( Will Scarlet ), and Lester Matthews ( Allen-a-Dale ). 

Gordon Douglas ( director of the Our Gang shorts ) takes the helm of this rousing Technicolor swashbuckler, which features some stunning cinematography ( by Charles Lawton Jr. ) and beautiful matte-painted backdrops. 

While many of the other Robin Hood remakes/sequels are worth a gander at, we believe The Rogues of Sherwood Forest boasts the best cast, filming, and script, which comes as no surprise since screenwriter George Bruce was no stranger to writing swashbucklers. Some of his previous films included The Man in the Iron Mask ( 1939 ), The Son of Monte Cristo ( 1940 ), and The Corsican Brothers ( 1941 ).

1 comment:

  1. My 3 kids adore the Errol Flynn Robin Hood, so I might have to find this!