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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Swords > Legends > Comedy > Columbia Pictures Robin Hood Collection (Bandit Of Sherwood Forest (1946)/Prince of Thieves (1948)/Rogues Of Sherwood Forest (1950)/Sword Of Sherwood Forest (1960)/Sony DVDs)

Columbia Pictures Robin Hood Collection (Bandit Of Sherwood Forest (1946)/Prince of Thieves (1948)/Rogues Of Sherwood Forest (1950)/Sword Of Sherwood Forest (1960)/Sony DVDs)


Picture: B-/C+/B-/C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: C-†††† Films: C+



It is taking Ridley Scottís new 2010 Robin Hood film to get the other studios to dig into their archives for similar material and in the case of the four films Sony is releasing from their vintage Columbia Pictures holdings, it is long overdue.Their simply dubbed Robin Hood Collection offers four very interesting, fun, different and must-see films that have not been available as they should be.All are in color, ambitious and offer interesting surprises that many will be pleasantly surprised with.


Originally conceived as a Son Of Robin Hood project, Bandit Of Sherwood Forest (1946) shamelessly wants to be a sequel of sorts to the 1938 Michael Curtiz/Errol Flynn/Warner Bros. Adventures Of Robin Hood (reviewed elsewhere on this site) from the amazing costume design to hiring Director of Photography Tony Gaudio as one of three to lens this film.Made only 8 years later, it was assumed by writers Wilfred H. Petitt and Melvin Levy (based on Paul A. Castletonís work) that everyone has sent he film, but Columbia likely changed the title so Warner would not retaliate.


However, this is the most energetic of the four films with longtime actor Russell Hicks as the new Robin Hood, Anita Louise as Lady Catherine, Edgar Buchanan well cast as Friar Tuck and Cornel Wilde as Robert of Nottingham.Henry Levin and George Sherman co-directed this entertaining production and Hugo Friedhofer offers a really good music score.


Prince of Thieves (1948) offers Jon Hall in an interesting turn as Robin Hood in a film that has little in common with the Kevin Costner film despite the title.He still defends Maid Marian (Patricia Morrison) and her brother (didnít know she had one) from the powers that be until Robinís gang goes into action.This was a lower-budget production with less money on the screen, including using cheaper CineColor, but Columbia knew they could not make a black & white Robin Hood film after 1938, so they settled for this.Director of Photography Fred Jackman, Jr. (see the Earth vs. The Flying Saucers Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) pushes the format as far as he can and co-writers Charles Schnee and Maurice Tombragel offer a semi-memorable script that is only so distinctive.This is one of the last feature films by Director Howard Bretherton before moving on to TV work.


Rogues Of Sherwood Forest (1950) has the late John Derek as the poorest of the Robin Hoodís here, who can move, but cannot even act in this B-movie, but it is still interesting with future Gilliganís Island star Alan Hale, Jr. as Little John, w role he played twice before, including in the 1938 classic.Back to three-strip Technicolor, Columbia had Ralph Gilbert Bettison and George Bruce (the 1939 Man In The Iron Mask) create a good script and capable director Gordon Douglas (Walk A Crooked Mile, Them!, Tony Rome) helm the ambitious project.Robin and company battle King Johnís taxes and the result is as awkward as it is amusing.George Macready shows up as a different character than he played in Bandit Of Sherwood Forest and the rest of the cast is also a plus, including Diana Lynn, Bill Bevan and uncredited John Dehner.Director of Photography Charles Lawton, Jr. (the original 3:10 To Yuma) handles the lensing chores and color very well.


Sword Of Sherwood Forest (1960) is interesting in that it is a big screen version of the hit 1950s British TV series The Adventures Of Robin Hood with Richard Greene.That was in black and white, but this is in both MegaScope and EastmanColor processed by Pathe, so with the Hammer Studios, this was an ambitious attempt to possibly recreate the TV success on the big screen.Terence Fisher directed, Peter Cushing plays the evil Sheriff of Nottingham, Greene is Robin Hood again, Oliver Reed, Sarah Branch, Nigel Green, Niall MacGinnis, Derren Nesbitt and yes, that is Q from the James Bond films Desmond Llewelyn as the man who gets hit with an arrow in the very beginning also star.Alan Hackney from the series wrote the screenplay and did a good restart here.Director of Photography Ken Hodges (Behemoth The Sea Monster, The Ruling Class) also worked on the series, but has no trouble at all with either color or the scope frame.


Along with an Italian production of the same year, this is the first ever widescreen Robin Hood film.



Cover art is usually something I do not discuss, but I have to say that the art for all four DVDs is unfortunately far from representative of the higher quality images the four DVDs offer.All are in three-strip, dye transfer Technicolor, except Thieves in CineColor and Sword in EastmanColor processed by Pathe as already noted.All are also 1.33 X 1 except Sword, here in anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 and a MegaScope shoot.Bandit has the best color and image quality of the four, followed by Sword and the others with Bandit so good it shames many Blu-rays I have seen lately.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is not bad across the four films, cleaned up about as well as can be expected, though a lossless codec might yield even better fidelity.


Extras include a plug for Columbia Classics and Heath Legerís hit A Knightís Tale on all four DVDs, while the Rogues and Sword discs have original theatrical trailers.



For more classic Robin Hood, start with these links:


Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938) Blu-ray



Adventures Of Robin Hood 1950s British TV Series




-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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