Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Alternate Best Actor 1938: Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Sir Robin of Locksley the titular character of the Adventures of Robin Hood.

The Adventures of Robin Hood is fun film about Robin Hood and his merry men who fight against the injustices of King John (Claude Rains) and his henchmen.

I last looked at Errol Flynn performance in Captain Blood which was his breakout role. I thought he gave a good performance, but one that had a few weak moments in it. Flynn returns once again to play the lead in an adventure movie this time as Robin Hood which is also Flynn's most famous role. There is a reason for this as Flynn seems to be the perfect person to play Robin Hood, unlike the actor who was originally cast in the role James Cagney who would very miscast unless the film heavily changed in terms of tone and style.

Robin Hood as a character here is not a terribly complex one. Robin is a fun loving man who enjoys his freedoms, and as well likes to fight for freedom against the tyrannical King John. There is not a whole lot more to him, but in the Adventures of Robin Hood there doesn't need to be. This is a performance almost wholly based on charm, and Flynn has plenty of it in this performance. Flynn pushes his charm front and center in just about every scene he is in, and even in more serious situations Flynn still deals with them in a playful fashion.

Flynn makes this approach totally work because he is charismatic enough in his performance, and he does this particularly well in the action scenes. Flynn does not just jump around the room fighting the kings men and shooting arrows all over the place. He turns it almost into a dance and Flynn makes all these scenes very enjoyable because of his style. He doesn't over do it to make it just a parody of itself, but there is such a joy in his performance that he makes these scenes a joy to watch.

Flynn knows how to be lightweight in the right way, and he makes it all work into every scene without being repetitive. He always brings an unbridled enthusiasm into every moment whether it is is one of the big battle scenes, one of the smaller comedic ones where he goes about recruiting a new man to his cause, or even the archery contest. The archery is great example of Flynn's strength in the role as he limits his physicality in the scene as Robin is hiding as a humble tinker, yet in just his quick smiles he still brightens the scene beautifully with his presence.

One major problem I had with Flynn's work in Captain Blood was a few of his scenes Olivia De Havilland Flynn seemed a bit out of his element. De Havilland is once again Flynn's love interest, but the relationship between Robin and Maid Marion is considerably stronger then the one found in Captain Blood. Flynn and De Havilland are very good together here. It is again quite feather weight romance, but a very well handled one. The two have a natural chemistry that sets up the romance quickly, quietly and quite effectively.

There technically are few dramatic moments that mostly involve when Robin makes speeches about how Richard should be King and not John. Honestly these are Flynn weakest scenes. There are not a lot of these moments, they are always short, and to be fair Flynn is not bad in these scenes rather he just is not as good as he is in the rest of the film. Those few moments really do not matter as they are but a splinter in Flynn's work here which is probably the best example of what made him a star. As a whole this is just a very entertaining performance that is the right type of performance to lead this very entertaining film.


Michael Patison said...

I absolutely couldn't love him more here, even though I agree that his speech scenes are his weakest point. Nevertheless, I'd personally be tempted to give him a weak 5, though I think I'd end of sticking with a pretty strong 4.5. He's just so much damn fun.

RatedRStar said...

I liked him and the film, I also liked Basil Rathbone even though I think he is usually a very poor actor who can be very dull at times.

Michael Patison said...

I agree. I definitely thought he was more deserving for an Oscar nomination here than in If I Were King, though I don't think anybody would argue there. He's my personal win this year as I think he is incredibly entertaining while also adding some depth to the part rather than just being a one-dimensional villain. I also thoroughly enjoyed your boy Claude Rains here. It just seems like he had a great deal of fun in the role.

RatedRStar said...

of course I enjoyed my hero Claude =D but then again if he was doing anything remotely interesting such as ironing clothes id probably enjoy it lol =D.