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Robin Hood 7 Comments

I've watched this film since before I could understand language and even back then it entertained me, enough for my parents to have to play it whenever they wanted to keep me out of trouble. One would expect that anything that can hold the attention of a toddler is not going to have the same effect on an adult. I am glad to comment that it does. I can watch this film today with the same eagerness, the same enjoyment and the same suspension of knowledge of what's going to happen. Who could help doing otherwise? It's first class storytelling. There are the age-old characters, archetypes as well known as the story itself. In a twist of genius, the tale is set in the animal world. Robin Hood, everyone's hero, brought to magnificent life by a fox and given a dashing yet endearing voice (Robin Hood comment: Get the dope with your horoscope). There's Robin Hood ladylove, elegant, eminently lovable, and just as perfectly voiced (Robin Hood comment: Marry her? You don't just walk up to a girl, hand her a bouquet and say, "Hey, remember me? We were kids together. Will you marry me?" No. It just isn't done that way.). One look at Marian and it's easy to understand why Robin is so lost in his dreams of her that he ruins the stew he's been stirring. Prince John, however likable the others, has somehow topped my list. Fittingly chosen to be a mane-less lion (compare his appearance with his brother Richard who has an ample mane); constantly whining for his mother when thwarted and complaining about Richard, he is the best representation of John I've ever seen. One mustn't forget his penchant for alliterating, in especial reference to his much put-upon sidekick adviser Sir Hiss, a snake. Priceless gems like "Procrastinating Python", "Slithering Serpent" and of course the irresistible "You eel in snake's clothing" can all be heard directed at the pitiable Sir Hiss whenever John is frustrated in his plans to capture the elusive Robin. The unfortunate duo plays off each other very well. It must be said that whoever thought of getting Sir Peter Ustinov to voice the role of P.J. should have been promoted instantly. The late, brilliant Ustinov is greatly missed, but he lives on in his wonderful comedic works. His part here is right up there with his best performances. No one could have done greater justice to the younger brother who (rightly) feels that his governance compares unfavorably with Richard's. A few other characters deserve to be mentioned. Little John, a bear very reminiscent of Jungle Book's Baloo, is light-hearted, trustworthy and the perfect companion and friend for our Robin (Little John comment: You know something, Robin? I was just wonderin'. Are we good guys or bad guys? You know. I mean, our robbin' the rich to feed the poor.). On one occasion early on, they have a great outing together as cross-dressers and use their very believable disguise to steal P.J. for everything he has on him. The lady-in-waiting to Marian, Clucky, is a brave lass and Friar Tuck is a kind old fellow. There are also the kids in the family of rabbits who understandably admire and adore Robin and Marian. The script is smashing. What with the comedy, the heroic and witty lines for the good guys and the hysterical silliness of the sour villains of the story, this is a winner. It's always fun and never grows tired. The little ditty about Prince John's incompetence that goes around (Prince John comment: "too late to be known as John the first, he's sure to be known as John the worst") is very in keeping with the rest of this film's tone. And who can forget the sheer madness of such a line as "I sentence you to sudden, instant and even immediate death", courtesy of Prince John of course. It's not only comedy, because to top it all off, this film must have the best confession of love ever filmed. Although it works infinitely better when you watch it, I will attempt to sketch it here. Caught, tied up, sentenced and threatened with execution, Robin looks into Marian's expressive eyes and comment "Marian my darling, I love you more than life itself". Her emotional response is an equally memorable one to behold (Maid Marian comment: Oh, Robin, what a beautiful night. I wish it would never end.). More sweetness inevitably follows in the eventual escape, but I'll leave that for your viewing pleasure. The film wouldn't be complete without a fitting climax, and to satisfy us all, we've been given a good one. Climbing to the top of a turret, Robin has to leap down into the moat to avoid the fires that are close on his heels. His friends down below look on to see where he surfaces and are dismayed to find Robin appearing nowhere yet, to the delight of Prince John and Sir Hiss. It's a nice tug at the heartstrings. Although initially all hope seems lost, we know that the story isn't finished until the deserving Robin gets to be with his Marian and all's right with Nottingham and England. Disney surpassed them with this one. It's much more than the sum of its parts (voice talent and likable characters, witty script, character designs, plotting). Having watched this countless number of times in the past, I look forward to continuing to do so.


 
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Script 7 Nutsy: You betcha. At dawn. And maybe it'll even be a double hangin'. Trigger: Shh, shh. Dummy up, you dummy. Robin Hood: A double hangin', eh? Who'll be the other one who gets the rope? Trigger: Sheriff, he's gettin' too all-fired nosy. Nutsy: Oh, I didn't mean nothin'. But, um, couldn't there be trouble if Robin Hood showed up? Well, wouldn't you know, sheriff, he guessed it. Trigger: Nutsy, button your beak. Robin Hood: Ah, no need to worry. The sheriff be too crafty, too clever and too smart for the likes of him, says I. Ya hear that, Nutsy? Sheriff of Nottingham: For bein' blind, he sure knows a good man when he sees one, says I. Trigger: Sheriff, I still got a feelin' that that snoopy old codger knows too much. Sheriff of Nottingham: Oh, shut up, Trigger. He's just a harmless old blind beggar. Robin Hood: Alms. Alms for the poor. Alms. Alms for the poor. Little John: Rob, we can't let 'em hang Friar Tuck. Robin Hood: A jailbreak tonight is the only chance he's got. Little John: A jailbreak? There ain't no way you can get him. Robin Hood: We've got to, Johnny, or Friar Tuck dies at dawn. Nutsy: One o'clock, and all's well! Sheriff of Nottingham: Nutsy, you'd better set your brains ahead a couple of hours. Nutsy: Yes, sir. Uh, does that there mean addin' or subtractin'? Sheriff of Nottingham: Oh, let's forget it. Nutsy: Yes, sir, sheriff, sir. Sheriff of Nottingham: Nutsy, how can I sleep with you yelling, "All's well!" all the time here? Trigger: Sheriff, everything ain't "all's well." I got a feelin' in my bones there's gonna be a jailbreak any minute. Sheriff of Nottingham: Trigger! Point that peashooter the other way. Trigger: Don't you worry none, sheriff. The safety's on Old Betsy. Sheriff of Nottingham: What in tarnation you tryin' to do, you birdbrain? Trigger: Just doin' my duty, sheriff. Sheriff of Nottingham: You and that itchy trigger finger of yours. Trigger: Hey, did you hear that? Sheriff of Nottingham: Sure did, Trigger. There's something funny going on around here. Come on. You cover me. Sheriff of Nottingham: Wait a minute. Is the safety on Old Betsy? Trigger: You bet it is, sheriff. Sheriff of Nottingham: That's what I'm afraid of. You go first. All right, you in there, come out with your hands up. Trigger: Yeah, reach for the sky. Robin Hood: Just you watch this performance, partner. Little John: Be careful, Rob. Nutsy: Jehoshaphat, Trigger. Put that peashooter down. Sheriff of Nottingham: Aw, shucks, Trigger, it's only Nutsy. And get back to your patrol. On the double. Get! Trigger: I'm a-gettin'! I'm a-gettin'! Sheriff of Nottingham: That Trigger. He's gettin' everybody edgy. Nothing's gonna happen. That fat friar is gonna dangle from the gallows come daybreak. Robin Hood: Sheriff, why don't you just sit yourself down here, kind of cozy-like? Sheriff of Nottingham: Well, thank you, Nutsy. Robin Hood: Just close your sleepy little eyeballs. The sandman's a-comin'. Why don't you, uh, let me loosen that belt? Rock-a-bye, sheriff, Just you relax Sheriff of Nottingham: Oh, Nutsy, that's mighty sweet. Sing it one more time, would you? Robin Hood: Rock-a-bye, sheriff, Just you relax Trigger: Wait a minute! Jailbreak! Jailbreak! I heard it! I heard it, sheriff! The door! The door! Sheriff of Nottingham: Now, for the last time, no more false alarms. Robin Hood: Now, you release Friar Tuck and the others, and I'll drop in on the royal treasury. Friar Tuck: Oh, Little John, it can't be! Little John: Shh, quiet. We're bustin' out of here. Friar Tuck: Thank God. My prayers have been answered. Skippy: I'm ready. Where's the bad guys? Friar Tuck: Take it easy, son. Prince John: Robin Hood! I'll get even. I'll get... It's Robin Hood I... I want. Friar Tuck: Praise the Lord and pass the tax rebate! Little John: Come on. Follow me.

Pictures
Robin Hood part 7
Robin Hood part 7
  He's just a harmless old blind beggar
He's just a harmless old blind beggar
  Little John and Friar Tuck
Little John and Friar Tuck
  Praise the Lord and pass the tax rebate
Praise the Lord and pass the tax rebate