Tag Archives: Robin Hood

My Thoughts on: Robin Hood (2018)

Okay, right from the beginning I should clarify that I haven’t actually seen Robin Hood (and I probably won’t until it hits Redbox) but given what I know about this film, I HAVE to talk about it. I first heard about this film months ago when I heard that there was a really bad trailer circulating on the Internet. When I first saw it for myself, I was half convinced it had to be a joke; there’s no way they could have made a Robin Hood film THIS bad…right? Well, actually yes they did and the more previews I saw the worse it got.

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The Middle Ages looked NOTHING like this

First let’s talk about the setting. As most people know, Robin Hood is traditionally set in or around the reign of King Richard the Lionheart (so between 1189 and 1200 CE give or take a few years), which places the story firmly in the Middle Ages. Knowing that, take a look at those previews again and tell me with a straight face that this film even loosely resembles that time period. Nottingham bears no resemblance to a medieval city, in fact in the previews it looks more like something from a post-apocalyptic future (or a generic fantasy film). I’m not saying a Robin Hood film has to be 100% period-authentic, but they’re not even trying with these locations OR the costumes. The machine-stitching is painfully obvious and nothing remotely resembles the era they should be in. I groaned aloud when I saw the footage from a party that Robin attended in his public persona as a nobleman. The costumes the ladies are wearing are totally inappropriate for the era (no woman would be caught dead in anything so revealing). I referenced the location looking post-apocalyptic before, I find myself wondering if they meant to make this a futuristic post-apocalypse retelling of the story and just forgot to tell the audience?

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As cool as it looks, Molotov cocktails were NOT a thing in the Middle Ages

Second, we need to talk about those arrows. It goes without saying that arrows do NOT work like that! They’re not that powerful (not at that size anyway) and you can’t fire them THAT quickly (I don’t care if it is a Robin Hood movie, no one is THAT good). This was another thing that really bothered me about the film, and that’s the pacing, it’s much too fast. A Robin Hood story can be many things, but a fast-paced action thriller is not typically one of them.

Third, where is Prince John in all of this? One of the key components of the Robin Hood legend has always involved the outlaw fighting against the tyranny of Prince John until King Richard can return. The only reason Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves got away with excluding the character is because they had Alan Rickman playing the Sheriff of Nottingham. I’m not saying Ben Mendelsohn isn’t a good actor, it’s just I’ve seen him play this kind of role several times before and no offense but it’s starting to wear thin.

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Lastly, I have to comment on something I heard from reviews of the film. I read that Robin is sent to the Crusades via a “draft notice” pinned to his front gate. Are you KIDDING me?? This is not how the Crusades worked! There was no draft for noblemen in the Middle Ages, either you went on Crusade or you didn’t! It’s like they did no research whatsoever for this film and didn’t think anyone would notice (spoiler alert: we’ve definitely noticed). All reports indicate that Robin Hood is going to be the biggest box office bomb of the year and I’m not surprised in the slightest. I knew this film would bomb the moment I saw the first teaser. Hopefully I’ll get my own turn to eviscerate the film once I can rent it from Redbox sooner rather than later (and as it’s bombing badly that shouldn’t be a long wait). For now, those are my thoughts on Robin Hood but I’m very curious to know what you think about it. Have you gone to see it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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Robin Hood “Not in Nottingham” (1973)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Robin Hood “Double the taxes!” (1973)

Prince John is, not surprisingly, infuriated when he hears what the people of Nottingham are singing about him. So, he decides the town should sing “a new tune.”

“Double the taxes,” he cries “triple the taxes! SQUEEZE every last drop out of those insolent, musical peasants.”

It’s left to Alan-a-Dale to explain what happens next. Whereas before the town was merely oppressed by high taxes, now it’s been completely ruined. Anyone who can’t pay their taxes ends up in a dungeon deep inside Nottingham Castle. And since everyone was destitute to begin with, this means the entire population of Nottingham is imprisoned (even the minstrel rooster, who sadly sings about the woes of the town).

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Robin Hood “Not in Nottingham” (1973)

Every town…
Has its ups and downs…
Sometimes ups…
Outnumber the downs…
But not in Nottingham

I’m inclined to believe,
If we were so down,
We’d up and leave,
We’d up and fly if we had wings for flyin’…
Can’t you see the tears we’re cryin’?
Can’t there be some happiness for me?
Not in Nottingham.

The song is intermixed with various scenes of the townspeople sleeping in the dungeon. There is even a chain gang of raccoons  being led inside, presumably after a long day of hard labor. It seems the only ones not locked up are Friar Tuck and the two church mice. Tuck is ringing the church bell to announce the evening service, but nobody is coming. Nevertheless, the friar is determined to keep hope alive, even though no one has donated to the church’s poor box in ages. This gives Mrs. Church Mouse an idea; there’s one last farthing saved in their little home in the church wall, but she decides the poor need it more than they do. Cue the arrival of the Sheriff of Nottingham to ruin the moment (it’s almost like he has an internal sensor to let him know when there’s any money around).

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Robin Hood “Friar Tuck arrested” (1973)

When the wolf takes the just-donated farthing for “taxes,” Friar Tuck reaches his limit with the fat Sheriff. He forces the wolf outside to give him a good thrashing with a quarterstaff; unfortunately that gives the Sheriff grounds to arrest the badger for high treason and he’s led off to jail to join the rest of the people of Nottingham.

I’ve always liked “Not in Nottingham,” it’s so sad but it also perfectly sums up the desperate situation happening in the town. Roger Miller’s performance is rich, smooth and a joy to listen to. What do you think of the song “Not in Nottingham”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

See also:

Robin Hood “The Phony King of England” (1973)

Disney Soundtracks A-Z

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Robin Hood “The Phony King of England” (1973)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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Robin Hood “The Phony King of England” (1973)

The 30 year period between Disney’s Golden Age (which ended in 1959 with Sleeping Beauty) and the Disney Renaissance (The Little Mermaid (1989)) is often, I feel, unfairly marginalized as a period of sub-par films that aren’t worth remembering compared to what came before and after. Now, I’m not saying every film in this period is a masterpiece, but there are some genuinely good animated films that deserve their just due. And one of these films is Disney’s Robin Hood (1973), an underrated film if ever I saw one.

The story is presented as the “true” version of the Robin Hood story as the residents of the animal kingdom remember it. To that end: Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) and Maid Marian (Monica Evans) are foxes; Little John (Phil Harris) is a bear; Friar Tuck (Andy Devine) is a badger; King Richard and the conniving Prince John (both voiced by Peter Ustinov) are lions; the Sheriff of Nottingham (Pat Buttram) is a wolf; and Alan-a-Dale (Roger Miller) is a singing rooster.

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The film has a great soundtrack with some memorable songs,one of my favorites being “The Phony King of England” (lyrics written by Johnny Mercer and performed by Phil Harris). The song takes place after our heroes have escaped from the archery tournament where Prince John attempted to capture and kill Robin Hood. Practically the entire population of Nottingham is gathered in Sherwood Forest to celebrate humiliating the prince and Little John leads the festivities with a whimsical song describing exactly how the people really feel about their would-be king.

Oh the world will sing of an English King
A thousand years from now
And not because he passed some laws
Or had that lofty brow
While bonny good King Richard leads
The great crusade he’s on
We’ll all have to slave away
For that good-for-nothin’ John

Incredible as he is inept
Whenever the history books are kept
They’ll call him the phony king of England!
A pox on the phony king of England!


To say “a pox on…” somebody means you’re basically cursing that person saying “I hope that person shrivels up with a pox and dies” And for someone to curse their ruler that way, well…you’re doing a pretty bad job if your subjects think THAT about you. While Little John leads the singing, some of the others put on a puppet show in the hollow of a tree, mocking Prince John and his advisor Sir Hiss (Terry-Thomas).

He sits alone on a giant throne
Pretendin’ he’s the king
A little tyke who’s rather like
A puppet on a string
And he throws an angry tantrum
If he cannot have his way
And then he calls for Mum
While he’s suckin’ his thumb
You see, he doesn’t want to play

Too late to be known as John the First
He’s sure to be known as John the worst
A pox on that phony king of England!

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Throughout the film, there’s a running gag of Prince John bursting into childish whining whenever his mother his mentioned (“Ooohhhh, Mommy!!!”). This is a reference to the problems the real Prince John had with his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was no secret that Eleanor favored Richard and John resented it for most of his life. Also, the line “too late to be known as John the first, he’s sure to be known as John the worst” refers to the fact that John is, to this day, regarded as one of the worst (if not the worst) kings that England ever had, so much so that there’s never been a John the Second.

While he taxes us to pieces
And he robs us of our bread
King Richard’s crown keeps slippin’ down
Around that pointed head
Ah! But while there is a merry man
In Robin’s wily pack
We’ll find a way to make him pay
And steal our money back
A minute before he knows we’re there
Ol’ Rob’ll snatch his underwear!

 

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The villagers all dance during this song with animation that is (quite noticeably) reused from The Aristocats (1970), The Jungle Book (1967) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). It’s actually fun to watch and see just how many pieces of animation are borrowed pieces from earlier films (it feels like I find a new example every time I watch).

The breezy and uneasy king of England!
The snivellin’ grovellin’,
Measly weasly,
Blabberin’ jabberin’,
Gibberin’ jabberin’,
Blunderin’ plunderin’,
Wheelin’ dealin’
Prince John, that phony King of England!
Yeah!

I’ve loved this song since I was little. It’s a fun, quirky song that makes you want to smile (and hopefully sing along). I hope you enjoy listening to “The Phony King of England.” Let me know what you think of the song in the comments below and have a great day!

This review was actually posted a day in advance on the blog’s Patreon page. Patrons of the blog will have early access to my newest film and soundtrack reviews. The first tier for becoming a patron is $2/month which grants early access. The second tier is $5/month and gives you the right to commission one written film or soundtrack review from me per month (provided it’s one I haven’t reviewed already) as well as early access. The $10 reward grants the earlier rewards as well as commissioning one YouTube review of a film of your choice.

See also:

Robin Hood “Not in Nottingham” (1973)

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

You can subscribe to my YouTube channel here

For more Disney songs, see also: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

In memory of Brian Bedford: A look at Disney’s Robin Hood

Last night I learned of the passing of Brian Bedford, the voice behind the title character of Disney’s animated film Robin Hood (1973). In his memory, I want to spend some time looking at this film today.

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Image property of Walt Disney Co.

Robin Hood is an often overlooked gem in the Disney collection because it came out after the Golden Age of Animation (which ended around 1959) and well before the Disney Renaissance which began in 1989 with The Little Mermaid.

Disney’s version of the classic tale depicts all the characters as animals, with many of the chosen species’ representing their characters particularly well:

Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) is a fox, as is his love Maid Marian (Monica Evans)

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Little John (Phil Harris) is a bear and Friar Tuck (Andy Devine) is a badger

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Prince John (Peter Ustinov) is a lion and Sir Hiss (Terry-Thomas) is a snake

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And the reprehensible Sheriff of Nottingham (Pat Buttram) is a wolf, among many other characters

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The film features some of my favorite Disney songs, several brought to life by the late Roger Miller (who also stars as Alan-a-Dale, the rooster minstrel who narrates a generous portion of the movie). My favorite by far though, is the song “The Phony King of England,” written by Johnny Mercer and performed by the incomparable Phil Harris. A full performance can be found on Youtube here: The Phony King of England (on a funny note, this song is a cleaned up version of an actual song sung during the time of the real Robin Hood. Only they didn’t call Prince John “phony,” they called him….something else (I’m sure you can take a guess).

Another favorite song is the sad ballad “Not in Nottingham.” Prince John, fed up with being humiliated one time too many, has lowered the hammer on the whole town of Nottingham, taxing the people so ruthlessly that everyone has been placed in jail because they can’t pay the outrageous amounts of money demanded. The full song can be listened to here: Not in Nottingham

Here’s the funny thing about Alan-a-dale by the way: throughout the film he is seen holding a lute, a medieval instrument that is appropriate to the era, however, it is being played (and sounds) exactly like a guitar! These two instruments are not the same thing, so it always cracks me up a little to see that.

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I do give Disney credit for giving him a lute though, E for Effort Disney!!

In closing, Bedford and the entire cast delivered a wonderful performance that makes this movie something truly special. Rest in Peace Brian Bedford, you will always be remembered.