When my husband recommended the 1938 version of “The Adventures of Robin Hood” for family movie night last week, I smelled a male conspiracy. The mother of sons and the main caretaker of a male cat, I am completely outnumbered in my home. Which is why I am very attached to one of the main tenets of family movie night: It has to be a movie that we will all enjoy.
Yes,my guys would be into it because of the swordplay, male-bonding, and swinging on things. But what would I get out of it? My question, after I capitulated in a moment of weakness, was quickly answered. I would get Errol Flynn. In tights.It turns out that Flynn is charming and handsome even by today’s cultural standards.
And, seriously, there is enough here to satisfy girls and women. Olivia De Haviland’s “Maid Marian” is a spunky role model who looks gorgeous while helping Robin’s merry band thwart King John and his bumbling henchmen.
The bad guys are satisfyingly evil, with Basil Rathbone, setting an ominous but not-too-scary-for-kids, tone.
Robin Hood is largely a mythologized figure, but King Richard and King John are not. Which gives parents an opportunity to share a little about information about medieval history and even the crusades.
Even if you never get to the historical context (and I admit to being a little over-the-top about these things), the movie is a fast-paced crowd pleaser for everyone.
Especially this mom, who spent the next day googling images of Errol Flynn.