Thursday, May 13, 2010

Another Robin Hood Movie

Errol Flynn lived hard and died young. He started making American movies in 1935 and became a star almost immediately. Every movie he made for the next five years was great. Robin Hood is, hands down, his best portrayal. Those movies were my favorites when I was growing up. I always wanted to be like Errol Flynn, on and off stage and always failed miserably. It's harder than it looks and you have to start out with talent and aptitude for it. I ended up being more like Sal Mineo, only more sycophantic and fatter. How embarrassing.

Robin Hood was the best costume drama, action adventure ever made. It should have won the Best Picture Oscar in 1939 instead of Gone With The Wind. When World War II started, Errol was only in his early thirties. A lot of people thought he was some kind of Nazi because he didn't fight in the War. I doubt that's true. The fact is, he was more of a Commie than a Nazi. That's another story. After WWII, Errol was never any good as an actor. The only time he ever got the magic back, was in the terrible 1957 film version of Ernest Hemingway's, The Sun Also Rises.  He absolutely steals the show as Lady Brett's dissolute fiance, Mike Campbell, maybe because the character he plays so closely parallels his own self destructive life experiences. He died two years later, drunk, of a heart attack, in a borrowed Vancouver BC hotel suite, trying to lease out a yacht he could no longer afford to maintain, in the company of a 15 year old girlfriend.

There have been a shitload of Robin Hood movies since Errol's. All of them were crap. They are releasing another big budget one this week. It will almost surely be crap too.  So far, as long as you can still watch Errol in the role, there is no point in having other versions.

You know what? Gone With The Wind would make a great HBO miniseries, in the same vein as Rome. If it was done right, exploring more mature themes and a few contemporary twists in character development, it could easily go on for twenty episodes and make everybody forget all about Clark and Vivian.

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