Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tonight's Movie: Robin Hood (1973)

My latest Disney Screen movie was Disney's animated ROBIN HOOD (1973).

ROBIN HOOD was a particular favorite of our oldest daughter, and while I knew parts of it well (especially the opening tune "Robin Hood and Little John walking through the forest..."), I'm not sure I'd ever seen it all the way through from start to finish. I rectified that today!

ROBIN HOOD was much better attended than the previous Disney Screen movies I've seen. I'm curious whether the specific title pulled people in or if perhaps word is starting to spread about the Disney Screen program and it's catching on.

Something else different at today's screening was that both the cartoon and the movie were preceded by a card with an interesting bit of trivia. For instance, the card preceding the Pluto cartoon had some information about the career of Oliver Wallace, who wrote the musical score. It was a nice touch.

Two decades before ROBIN HOOD, Disney had filmed the story in a live action version, THE STORY OF ROBIN HOOD AND HIS MERRIE MEN (1952), which I'll be reviewing here at some future date. For the animated version, the story was told with anthropomorphic animals.

Disney's animation in this era had a relatively cheap look, compared to the "Golden Ages" which came before and after. The excellent voice cast helps make up for that, however. Phil Harris, Baloo of THE JUNGLE BOOK (1967), voices another bear this time, the congenial Little John.

Andy Devine is the voice of Friar Tuck, who was drawn to look rather like Devine! Pat Buttram and George Lindsey of THE ARISTOCATS (1970) returned to Disney for this film, and Ken Curtis is in the cast as well.

Robin and Maid Marian are voiced by Brian Blessed and Monica Evans, with Peter Ustinov, Terry-Thomas, Carole Shelley, John Fiedler, and J. Pat O'Malley rounding out the cast. Roger Miller sings and narrates as Allan-a-Dale.

The general outlines of the story will be familiar to anyone who's seen another version of ROBIN HOOD. It's a well-plotted, entertaining cartoon, if not a particular personal Disney favorite, and it made a pleasant afternoon at the movies.

ROBIN HOOD was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. It runs 83 minutes.

ROBIN HOOD was preceded by the adorable Pluto cartoon MAIL DOG (1947), in which Pluto must carry a bag of mail to an airport when a plane can't make it through. He's helped and hindered by a cold bunny rabbit, building to a very cute ending. I think I enjoyed seeing this even more than the feature film! MAIL DOG is available on DVD in the Disney Treasures set The Complete Pluto, Vol. 2.

ROBIN HOOD is available on DVD in multiple editions, including a 40th Anniversary Edition, a Gold Collection edition, and the Most Wanted edition. It's had a Blu-ray release and also came out on VHS. It can be streamed on Amazon Instant Video.

Previous Disney Screen reviews: OLIVER & COMPANY (1988), EIGHT BELOW (2006), THE LOVE BUG (1968), and THE ROCKETEER (1991).


Blogger Caftan Woman said...

Today my son picked up a VHS copy of this movie at Goodwill (his "go to" shop for movies). He already has both tape and DVD copies, and occasionally puts it on a never-ending loop. I am not a fan. I loudly proclaim how much I am not a fan every time it goes on that loop. My daughter then reminds me that I do get a kick out of Ustinov and Roger Miller. I affirm that that is not enough and the kid is only watching the movie to bug me. Kids do that sort of thing. Although, I will admit that "Love" is a very pretty song and the Oscar nom was well deserved.

9:33 PM  
Blogger Booksteve said...

Sadly, I've never been able to fully enjoy the Disney Robin Hood because I was actually robbed of $5.00 IN the theater WHILE watching the movie when a bully who knew me from school (I was 14) recognized me. He threatened to hit me, spilled my drink, took my money and then lammed out the emergency exit. Kinda ruined it for me. Oo-De-Lolly-Golly, what a day, indeed!

9:47 PM  
Blogger KC said...

Though the relative shoddiness of the animation on this one can be distracting (all those lines moving around the edges of the characters!), I do enjoy this film. The opening is one of my favorites and it has a playful feel, as if it is hinting that it knows it isn't one of the best Disneys either, but that doesn't mean we can't have a good time! Nice review.

10:49 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Caftan Woman, that's funny. I think one reason I am positively predisposed toward the film is, as I mentioned, it was such a favorite of our daughter's. It takes me back to when she was little.

Steven, oh my, what a memory! Perhaps one day you could rewatch it with someone and replace the bad memory with a good one.

KC, I think you're spot on here! Agree with all you say on it.

Best wishes,

11:03 PM  

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