Monday, May 29, 2023

Robin Hood (1922)

Paul Halsall, a benefactor of humanity, has updated the list of medieval movies he long ago posted at the Internet Medieval Sourcebook. The updated version is a lot bigger than the original and very well organized.

One particular listing caught my eye: the one for Douglas Fairbanks' lavish version of Robin Hood. Fairbanks was not only the star, but the producer and the chief scriptwriter:and the full title of the movie is Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood. The movie is out of copyright and this allowed someone to post it on YouTube.

I don't know what I expected I would think of the movie, but I was surprised how easy it was to like it as sheer entertainment. My wife, watching the film out of the corner of her eye, had the same reaction. It was not "good for 1922," but "good."

But regarding it as an artifact of 1922, it was very interesting. The movie had an estimated budget of about a million US dollars (how much would that be to day -- a billion?) which made even Fairbanks consider abandoning it at one point. I have to wonder how long he considered this: fifteen minutes? fifteen seconds? This was his baby!

You can certainly see where the money went. Castles are a visual theme and they are very impressive -- huge -- and probably bigger than any real 12th century castles west of Constantinople. How did they build them, and the interior palace interiors? There are a vast number of courtiers and ladies or maids, all in reasonably authentic or at least evocative and very decorative costumes. I have the feeling that the costume budget might have been enough to break the bank (:-)! Do have a look!

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