Judge Adam Arseneau loves Lincoln green.
A swashbuckling Robin Hood adventure.
Part of the newly released Robin Hood Collection from Sony, a series of classic cinema adventures of the notorious hero, Prince of Thieves is the weakest offering of the bunch; an uninspired and unnecessary adventure dulled by weak acting and script.
Two travelers, Maid Marian (Patricia Morison) and her brother are travelling through Sherwood and are rescued from bandits by Robin Hood (John Hall, Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves). Having saved the brother from an attempt on his life, Robin becomes drawn into his tale of love and misfortune. Once betrothed to Lady Christabel, a malicious Baron has sabotaged the engagement and taken the woman for his own political devices. Once learning the Baron is the nephew of hated Prince John, Robin and his men agree to help storm the castle.
Prince of Thieves is saddled with a dull plot, bad acting, and little in the way of identifiable Robin Hood moments. One has a certain expectation of Robin Hood, the man: he wears green, he robs people in the forest, and he generally makes a mess of things for Prince John. Here, hardly any of these things happen. Robin wears gaudy red shoes that require a car battery to be connected to them at all times to light up, he spends all his time sneaking into a castle and none in the forest, and his enemies are nowhere to be found. This time, it's all about risking life and limb for…love? Not even his love, but the love of some random guy he meets in the forest.
Honestly, the whole experience is rather tame and dull. As Robin Hood films go, this is one of the more forgettable entries. It just doesn't feel like a Robin Hood movie. Sure, all the characters are there—Friar Tuck, Little John, and Will Scarlett. Even Maid Marion is in the film, but she serves no purpose but to be the person that Robin ends up married to by the end of the film. Jon Hall looks the part, rakish and athletic, but his delivery of dialogue and on-screen charisma leave much to be desired. The plot feels like a bad setup to get Robin and his men into a crowded dining hall so they can have a 15-minute fight sequence, swing from tapestry ropes, clang swords, and call it a day. How a man can sneak into a castle with neon red feathered hat and bright red slippers on, I'll never know. The dude may as well be wearing a giant target on his back that says "PUT AN ARROW IN ME."
I suppose there's nothing overtly wrong with Prince of Thieves. It just plain isn't very good. The story is pedantic, the acting is stiff, there is a total lack of chemistry from all the male and female protagonists, and the Robin Hood mythology is virtually nonexistent. Save for a few decent choreographed fights at the tail end of the film, there's not much redeeming quality to be found.
Presented in full frame and filmed in Cinecolor, Prince of Thieves shows its age more than the other films released in Sony's Robin Hood Collection. Color is pleasantly saturated, but the film exhibits some serious softness and grain, distracting at times. A film over sixty years old obviously gets some slack in terms of looking pristine, but older films in this same collection look better. The mono soundtrack is acceptable, with clear dialogue and a lovely orchestral score that belies that boringness of the film. There are no extras save for some trailers.
Tepid and uninspired, Prince of Thieves is a lesser entry in the Robin Hood catalog. It never really sells you on the whole Robin Hood angle and mythology; at best, it feels like a forgettable medieval adventure film.
Not really worth the time, to be honest.
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