Length: 83 min.
Age: 4+ commonsense media sez: 5+
Scary Factor: Much brawling, though very slapsticky. Battle at climax involves fire and threat. At the end it appears for a moment that Robin has been killed, but the suspense doesn’t last long.
Interests: Robin Hood, history, British history, kings, knights, castle, romance
Next: MOVIE: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
An extremely loose retelling of the general Robin Hood legend, with animals taking the human roles. Robin Hood and his friend Little John steal from the rich to give to the oppressed poor. They soon completely humiliate the infantile Prince John, leaving him in a mud puddle in his underwear no less, and John is bent on revenge. Robin wins an archery tournament in disguise, but the royal soldiers move in to arrest him. In the ensuing melée Robin escapes with Maid Marian, the King’s ward and Robin’s childhood sweetheart. John clamps down on the villagers, extracting taxes until most of them are imprisoned for debt. Robin performs a daring rescue, freeing everyone and emptying the King’s coffers once more, but his own escape is not so easy. After much battling and pursuit through a castle in flames, Robin dives into the moat. Little John watches, fearing the worst, but Robin soon surfaces and joins him on shore. King Arthur returns just in time for Robin and Marian’s wedding and Prince John is last seem in chains crushing rocks and whimpering for “Mommy”.
This is not one of Disney’s finest, but it’s an entertaining diversion. I recall it with such precision that I must have watched it many, many times as a child. (I think, too, that an LP permanently imprinted the dialogue on my putty-like brain.) What makes it particularly suitable for younger viewers is that the baddies are not at all threatening, unlike most Disney villains. In fact, preschoolers will giggle at the sight of Prince John sucking his thumb and crying for “Mommy” whenever he is upset. Older, alert viewers will recognize voices, characters, and recycled animation from previous Disney features. This one was obviously done on the cheap. The story, too, is rather loose and doesn’t show much sign of careful editing.
A bit lazy, but not without charm and much buffoonery. Mostly harmless. Songs and voices are weirdly American-hillbilly-ish; I felt like I was watching The Dukes of Hazzard at times. The songs aren’t bad, though they don’t serve the film all that well. There’s quite a lovey dovey romance between Robin and Marian for those who like that kind of thing.
Also (may concern some)… Booze: Sir Hiss the snake is trapped in a wine barrel and emerges quite drunk.