Monday, May 17, 2010

Rating The Robins

It must be list season in the McKinty household because here's another one, also inspired by the new Robin Hood. Strange film BTW. Russell Crowe was pretty decent (apart from the usual accent trouble) but I found the normally great Cate Blanchett to be something of a charisma black hole. There were a few interesting ideas but also a lot of speechifying and the action scenes were that rare Ridley Scott thing - boring. But that's not what I wanted to talk about here. If you want to read a sensible and pitch perfect review of Robin Hood, ignore the fawning Brits and check out Roger Ebert. In my own cheap and cheerful manner all I want to do ici is give you my Top 10 Robin Hoods. I should stress that I've used two criteria: the job the actor does in the role and the quality of the film. Drum roll please, Andre...
10. Cary Elwes: Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993). Ok, I like Cary Elwes, he was terrific in The Princess Bride and that episode of Seinfeld but this movie is weak. Sometime in 1982 Mel Brooks just stopped being funny.
9. Richard Greene: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1950's). Even after 50 years this prime SoCal cheese isn't any tastier.
8. Patrick Bergin: Robin Hood (1991). Bergin actually isn't bad, certainly nowhere near as awful as Uma Thurman, I don't care what anyone says, that lady is not cut out for the acting game.
7. Russell Crowe: Robin Hood (2010). Ok the film wasn't brilliant, but it's got the grunty Mr Crowe in it and it was directed by Ridley frickin Scott.
6. Brian Bedford: Robin Hood (1973). The Disney version. I liked this film very much when I was a kid. I don't remember a whole lot about it except that Robin was a fox and Peter Ustinov was in it.
5. Douglas Fairbanks: Robin Hood (1922). Fairbanks is terrific in this picture and it would have been higher on my list if I wasn't such a Phillistine about silent movies. But my God the guy can buckle a swash. He's awesome.
4. Sean Connery: Robin and Marion (1975). I think this is Connery's best performance in anything. The film is a bit slow in places but that doesn't matter when you're watching two masters (the other is Audrey Hepburn) at work.
3. Kevin Costner: Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves (1991). Kevin's phoning in his performance from Iowa, but the film is pretty decent on the whole. Morgan Freeman plays Morgan Freeman excellently and Alan Rickman, famously, is the real thief here, stealing every scene he's in. (Just like he does in Die Hard and Galaxy Quest.)
2. Michael Praed: Robin of Sherwood (1980's). Does anyone remember this TV series from the early 80's? It was all very ethereal and mystical. The music was by Clannad and the stories were strange and mostly low key explorations of identity and loss. I know this doesn't sound promising, but believe me it was great.
1. Errol Flynn: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). The Tasmanian Devil himself in a delightful romp with his old sparring partners Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains. He's a saucy devil is Errol and he fights and loves and swings from things. The score is brilliant and the whole thing moves along at a rare old clip. It really doesn't get any better than this kids.