Thursday, March 25, 2010

And what about our young Saxon cockerel here?

Today's segment: spotlight on a scene.
Note: the photos are not necessarily from the scene.

I can't help it. I'm going to write about Errol Flynn.

I'm recently in the midst of a crazy Errol Flynn obsession that is only quieted by my long work hours and long to-do list. If I were in the midst of a summer break, you wouldn't be able to drag me away from that tv! Anyway, the spotlight today will feature one of my favorite scenes (possibly my very favorite) in The Adventures of Robin Hood:

The scene where Robin enters the Baron's Feast at Nottingham. To give you a bit of context, in case you haven't seen the movie (you should!), the various Norman nobles in the shire of Nottingham (how's that for inadvertent alliteration?) have gathered together to gloat about their power over the helpless Saxons and to plan how much more they're going to squeeze out of the Saxons. The conversation turns to a particular Saxon who, according to Sir Guy of Gisbourne, dearly deserves the hangman's rope but has thus evaded it: Sir Robin of Locksley. Prince John has just declared that he won't tolerate this Saxon noble's impudence and he wants these men to see to it that he's taken and hanged... when who should enter but Sir Robin of Locksley! I love this scene! I love the way he enters, with that deer slung over his shoulders; I love all of the dialogue, all of the action. I love it! Several particular things I've enjoyed from this scene:
  • Robin Hood's laugh - really, he has the best laugh ever. He actually doesn't laugh much in this scene (I realized upon rewatching) but he laughs a little bit mid-line and you get a small dose of it.
  • his vulgarity. I'm pretty sure it's used to contrast him with the Norman nobles and I think it works to great effect. I'm not usually one for vulgarity, but the part where he throws the deer on the table, the part where he jumps over the table to get to his seat, and the part where he spits out the meat are all great moments in the scene, I think.
  • the looks. There are several looks that I really enjoy in this scene. I love the reactions to Prince John's statement, "From now on, I am the regent of England." So great! Even his most trusted followers don't trust him. The variety of their reactions is fascinating to me because you get an idea of their characters, just in that short space of time. And speaking of looks, the part where Robin sees them closing the doors and then keeps on eating - that kills me every time! He's so darn cool! Oh, and one final look I have to bring up. When Prince John says, "Here's poor Gisbourne so in love with Marian, he daren't say, 'boo,' to her," Robin looks from Marian, to Prince John, to Gisbourne in a very calculating way and I love it!
  • Prince John's oiliness. I always think of Prince John when I see Claude Rains. He's so perfect in this role, so incredibly villainous. For some reason, I enjoy it when villains are courteous or feign politeness; it just makes them even more villainous, somehow. When Prince John says, "Robin, I like you," he just ups his villain-factor, in my mind. I can't explain it. I just love it.
  • Robin's arrows. The man never runs out of them! Sadly, you don't get the action part in the clip below, but his seemingly bottomless quiver is pretty awesome.

There are a few things I don't like in this scene. They're pretty minor but I have watched this scene a millions times (approximately) and so these minor things really begin to grate. For instance: Prince John's line, "I've kicked Longchamps out!" Really? Prince John would say that sort of thing? That line has always bothered me. Also, when Prince John declares himself the new regent, everyone looks at him in surprise and horror... and the Archbishop looks in the wrong direction. Now, I'm pretty sure he's supposed to be looking around to see everyone else's reaction, but it's always throws me off. One final thing: Gisbourne jumps out of his seat and one point and says, "Let me ram those words down his throat!" Which makes sense, because Robin is pretty insolent. What doesn't make sense is that he says this after Robin states a fact that everyone is pretty much aware of; he's not stating an opinion. He does call them all "cutthroats," but I imagine they knew themselves to be cutthroats. I don't know. It just doesn't make sense to me. Honestly, these things are pretty minor but I thought I'd mention them.

But I really, truly do love this scene. It's a turning point in the movie even though the movie's only just started. It's the introduction of several important characters. It's the first action scene. It's the first time we get to see Robin Hood prove himself to be "the deadliest archerer in England."

Okay, okay. I'll stop! Sorry. I get a tad bit carried away when it comes to my favorites. Now, here is the scene in all of its glory and you can tell me what you think.

I can't help it. I'm going to gush a bit more. Here are some of my favorite lines and bits of dialogue:

Robin: You know, you should really teach Gisbourne hospitality. I no sooner enter his castle doors there with a piece of meat, and his starving servants try to snatch it from me. You should feed them, Gisbourne, they'll work better!

Prince John: By my faith, but you're a bold rascal. Robin, I like you.
Robin: I'm gratified, your highness. I don't think Gisbourne shares that sentiment, however. Mm, he does look sour! What's the matter, Gisbourne, run out of hangings?

Robin: Be seated, gentleman. No need to stand on ceremony on my account.

Marian: Why you speak treason!
Robin: Fluently.

Thank you ever so much for bearing with me while I gush! If you love the movie, and this scene, as much as I do, please feel free to gush too in the comments!


  1. *squeel of excitement* First off, you should know (in case you don't already), that I'm a Robin Hood fan-girl so you're bound to get gushing comments from me if you so much as mention his name!

    This is such an awesome scene! I don't think I can say anything more, though, because you've already mentioned my favorite things about it! Robin Hood is, quite simply, the coolest hero in the history of England - waaaaay better than Sir Lancelot or King Arthur. Errol Flynn played him to perfection, too! Just enough balance between bold, roguish, courtly, and compassionate!

    Are you going to see the new Robin Hood movie? I think I'll give it a try, mostly because I'm willing to try anything that involves Robin o' Locksley, but I'm apprehensive. I mean, Cate Blanchett? Seriously?

    About Prince John and villains in general: I'm in complete agreement! A villain seems so much more evil if he doesn't act completely disgusting and cruel. A veil of civility and charm really makes a difference.

    That quote about the starving servants is one of my favorites! Really, only Robin could pull off a line like that. It's brilliant.

    Fantastic post!

  2. i laughed out loud at the "why you speak treason!" "fluently" bit. how have i still not seen this movie???

  3. Oh my gosh I cannot believe you just posted this, because I JUST watched Robin Hood and Captain Blood LAST WEEK! AND I was planning on doing a post on those films within the next few weeks :) So glad to have read your post on it! I adore Errol Flynn, even if his lifestyle is a bit too mad for me, and I'm a total sucker for his swashbuckling fight scenes! I'm so glad you posted the above scene, it's one of my favorites! My favorite part is right when he comes into the dining hall with the deer around his shoulders and just beats up the guards by swinging it around! So funny! And the dialogue you mentioned is hilarious too! I'm so happy to have found someone who finds these things terribly interesting as I do :)

  4. I agree with everyone that the lines " 'Why you speak treason!' 'Fluently!'" are brilliant! Love Errol Flynn and love this movie! I enjoyed reading your analysis of this fairly short scene. Great commentary! It really added to it.

  5. Oops I forgot to add something else about the film that makes me laugh so much: Claude Rains's hair.

  6. All of these comments have made absolutely, incredibly happy!!

    Amanda - If I'm not mistaken, you seem to be quite the Errol fan too because you commented on Captain Blood post too! That's so exciting!!! I really love Robin Hood as well. And I agree - he's definitely the coolest British legend ever. I wrote a paper on him for a class once, comparing the ballads to a couple of books to the movies. I had to get an extension on the paper length because I couldn't stop talking about it! I haven't heard much about the new movie. I may give it a try because I do love the Robin Hood story. But sometimes people make it too tragic. I don't know. We'll see.

    Meredith - You really need to see it!! You'd love it! That treason line cracks me up every time. It's one of my favorites in the whole movie. If you end up watching it, do tell me what you think!

    Mel - That's so crazy! Please write posts about those movies! I'd love to read them. I'm not sure I'd have been able to keep up with him in real life, either, but I'm such a sucker for his films. By the way, your comment on Claude Rains's hair had me laughing out loud! I can't wait to read what more you have to say on these movies!

    Francy - Thank you so much!! And thank you for calling it an analysis. I was actually pretty worried that everyone would be annoyed with me for talking so much. It's such a relief to see so many fellow Errol Flynn fans!

  7. Sally, I am! But would you believe those two are the only Flynn movies I've seen? I have Dodge City but I haven't gotten around to watching it yet. He's so cool!

  8. P.S. It's your blog. So talk as much as you want. I can't speak for anyone else, but I love all your posts, no matter how long or short. You do a good job of keeping your reader's attention and interest.

  9. Thank you Amanda!! That made me incredibly happy!! By the way, I highly recommend The Sea Hawk. There's a really, really rough middle section but the beginning and ending are terrific and it's all his usual swashbuckling self. I haven't yet seen Dodge City. When you watch it, please let me know how it is!

  10. Sally, yay! I'll look forward to seeing TSH! As for Dodge City, I'll be sure to let you know!


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