Warners revives the legend with Errol Flynn in the role in which Douglas Fairbanks Sr scored his first big success in 1922. It is cinematic pageantry at its best, a highly imaginative telling of folklore in all the hues of Technicolor.
Film is done in the grand manner of silent-day spectacles with sweep and breadth of action, swordplay and hand-to-hand battles between Norman and Saxon barons. Superlative on the production side.
Played with intensity by an excellent company of actors, an illusion of fairy-story quality is retained throughout. Michael Curtiz and William Keighley are credited as co-directors, the former having picked up the story soon after its filming started when Keighley was incapacitated by illness. There is skillful blending of their joint work.
Flynn makes the heroic Robin a somewhat less agile savior of the poor than Fairbanks portrayed him, but the Warner version emphasizes the romance. Teamed with Olivia de Havilland as Marian, Flynn is an ardent suitor and a gallant courtier. There are some convincing histrionics by Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Eugene Palette, Alan Hale and Melville Cooper. Lighter moments are furnished by Una O’Connor and Herbert Mundin.
1938: Best Interior Decoration (Carl Jules Weyl), Original Score, Editing.
Nomination: Best Picture