The Best Movie Critic + review

Favorite Movie Series: Harry Knowles on The Adventures of Robin Hood

You know him, you love him. He's the one and only Harry Knowles, founder and self-proclaimed "headgeek" of internet movie-site mammoth Ain't It Cool News. The part Harry has played in shaping the style of modern movie-geekery cannot be overstated. He is the archetypal Renaissance geek. We here at The Movie Advocate are honored that Harry took the time to write this beautiful piece about one of his absolute favorite movies, The Adventures of Robin Hood...

I've spoken so much about the original 1933 KING KONG, that I've decided for the purposes of your column, to write about my other favorite movie of all time, Michael Curtiz's THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD with Errol Flynn, Olivia De Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Alan Hale, Patric Knowles and so many great character actors, I'll give my fingers muscle cramps trying to name them all.

People talk about the camp nature of the film, but I disagree. I don't think it was camp at all. For me, THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD is a film that reveals a way to live one's life. If you watch the film, what is happening is incredibly serious. There's blindings, burning with hot irons, tongues torn from folks' throats... I mean, this is a pretty darn awful time and place to live. Not only was the populace being taxed to death, literally... but here was this nightmare. Yet, people are joyfully revolting. They've got smiles, they're cracking wise... but if you look closely, it is a method to defuse the fear of one's actions. It is a way to throw one's enemies for a loop. Flynn is literally mind fucking his captors, his Royal foe...

Now, I'm not revolting about anything in particular at this point in my life, but it isn't all roses too. I've got exasperating financial issues, yet I still will throw a party and host a feast. Because... this is what we live to do. We make merry in our lives, give others a 'joie de vie!' THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD taught me that in the dark, when there may be very little actual light, that we, through our own wits & empathy, we can be our own light. To give from the rich to the poor, might seem like a liberal policy, but there's truth to it. The rich must care, be made to care for the unfortunate, or else anarchy, crime and revolt will happen. So we each in our own way should spread joy and good cheer. It is why I loved the phrase AIN'T IT COOL so much... because it is a life philosophy. AIN'T IT COOL. Think of things from the point of view of a child... and what life was when you were a child. Sure, you can focus on the rules and freedoms that kids had back in the Seventies, versus now. But my god, the internet? Video games? Film? Ain't it cool? I certainly think so. There may be dark times, but it is best to live with a smile. Like Chaplin sang, "Smile" - it is a way to live. It makes this life a joy, rather than a grind. Living in the forest, sleeping on the ground, killing animals under penalty of death for flesh to survive upon. I mean. Seriously - those were real bad times. And they smiled.

Irony has robbed us of this righteous innocence, now we crack wise about anything and everything. We laugh, so we don't cry. Nothing has changed. The times of this film are the times in which we live. Coming out of a dark time, in which politicians broke this country in two, but wise men prevailed, and they did it while smiling.

I know that's a weird aside to go on, but this film and my absolute love for it has made me weather a great many hardships in life with a joy.

That's what THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD did for me. It is my lifestyle, my friends, my love. I live as Robin Hood in a digital Sherwood Forest. At least, in my head.

-Harry

Join us all week and into the next for more Favorite Movies!

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BETH LINK ON BRINGING UP BABY
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