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Film / Robin Hood (1991)

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The year 1991 saw the release of two films based on the Robin Hood legends: the much better-known Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and this one.
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Simply called Robin Hood, it stars Patrick Bergin as Robin and Uma Thurman as Maid Marian. Other cast members include Jürgen Prochnow and Jeroen Krabbé as the villains, Owen Teale as Will Scarlet, Jeff Nutall as Friar Tuck, and David Morrissey as Little John. Directed by John Irvin and produced by 20th Century Fox, it was relegated to television in the United States but received a theatrical release abroad.

Sir Robert Hode is outlawed after he saves a poacher and makes an enemy of Sir Miles Folcanet (Prochnow) and Baron Roger Daguerre (Krabbé). Calling himself "Robin Hood", he becomes the leader of a band of outlaws called the Merry Men. They take their revenge on the establishment by robbing the rich, while also giving to the poor. Robin also falls for Marian, Baron Daguerre's niece who is promised to Folcanet, and the feeling is mutual. The tensions between Normans and Saxons also play a part.

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Tropes in this work include:

  • Annoying Arrows: Averted, arrows are lethal, especially after Robin acquires a cache of Welsh longbows.
  • Anti-Villain: Baron Daguerre is against Robin due more to the law than to malice, though he does allow acts of cruelty in the course of enforcing the law. At the start, he's Robert's friend and tries to be fair to all sides when Sir Miles Folcanet demands that Robert be tried for aiding a poacher. He orders just one stroke of the lash, but this is too much for Robert who insults them both and gets outlawed.
  • Armour Is Useless: In the climax, outlaws in carnival costumes are beating up fully armoured soldiers with ease.
  • Batman Gambit: Marian's wedding is scheduled for All Fools' Day. The outlaws (except Robin, who sneaks in first) dress up in festive costumes and form a procession to get past the city gates, as merry-makers cannot be refused entry.
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  • Big-Bad Ensemble: Sir Miles and Baron Daguerre with the former taking the role of Guy of Gisborne and the latter the role of the Sheriff of Nottingham, both traditional members of Robin's rogues gallery who have held such a position.
  • Blue Blood: Sir Robert/Robin is a Saxon noble, the Earl of Huntingdon, while Baron Daguerre and Sir Miles are Norman nobles.
  • The Cameo: Edward Fox as Prince John.
  • Convenient Eclipse: The heroes need to gain access to the Big Bad's castle. They use the fact that it is All Fool's Day, and no group observing the festival can be denied admission, to get in and execute their plan. On any other day of the year, presumably, the castle guards would simply reply by riddling the merry men with crossbow bolts.
  • Corrupt Church: The Church is an acceptable target for robbing. Also, Friar Tuck passes off chicken bones as those of saints (holy relics) and sells them.
  • Cue the Sun: The sun doesn't shine until the Norman/Saxon rift begins to heal with the marriage of Robin and Marian.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to the Technicolor-bright Errol Flynn film, the colors are much more drab and muted. The squalor of the common peasants is more keenly felt. The outlaws live in caves instead of the greenwood. Even the weather is always downcast, misty or rainy until the ending, when the sun finally comes out.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Much is about to have his eyes put out for his second offense of poaching (nobody aside from the king and nobles could hunt deer). Robert Hode (future Robin Hood) steps in to stop this, which ends up getting him outlawed for it.
  • Duel to the Death: One half of the climax involves a duel to the death between Robin and Folcanet in the chapel of Nottingham Castle.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Lord John, as he would have been called historically, only appears once. As the superior of Big-Bad Ensemble Folcanet and Daguerre, he is naturally a greater scope villain.
  • Honour Before Reason: Possibly Pride Before Reason would be a better description in this case. Daguerre sentences Robert to recieve one stroke of the lash, administered in private; the minimum punishment he could inflict under the law. If Robert had accepted this, everything would have quickly returned to normal. But Robert feels betrayed, insults Daguerre and, in a rapid escalation of events, ends getting himself outlawed.
  • Important Haircut: Marian cuts her hair when she runs away to Sherwood Forest. This symbolizes the moment when her allegiance shifts from the Normans to Robin and the Saxons.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Robbing the rich is just for revenge at first, but Robin decides to give to the poor to ensure their support despite the big reward for his head.
  • The Lancer: Will Scarlet is Robin's right-hand.
  • Porn Stache: As anyone can tell from the page image this is the kind of mustache that Robin has.
  • Outlaw: Robin Hood and the other bandits who are hiding out in Sherwood Forest. Bonus points for the fact that the film explains what historical outlawry really was too-not the status of being a criminal, but a specific sentence.
  • Religious Bruiser: Friar Tuck, who despite being a portly mendicant, fights back fiercely when gets robbed by the bandits, then later against soldiers after joining them.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: When one of the outlaws rats out to the authorities, he's next seen dead in a gibbet with maggots in his empty eye sockets.
  • Runaway Fiancé: Maid Marian runs away to Sherwood Forest to escape her arranged marriage to Sir Miles Flaconet.
  • Shown Their Work: Viewers aware of noble ranks may not understand why Robert Hode, an earl, answers here to Baron Daguerre. However, Daguerre was a tenant-in-chief of the king, getting land directly which he then gave to lesser nobles, regardless of rank. The ordinary ranks were subordinate to this.
  • Slapstick: There's a colorful fight between the outlaws and the Sheriff's men in a house full of dye vats.
  • Storming the Castle: The climax of the film involves the Merry Men storming Nottingham Castle. Robin is not involved having snuck in prior.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Marian sneaks out of the castle, cuts her hair and dresses as a man to join Robin.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Daguerre attempts to sentence Hode to this. Hode's refusal to accept this punishment and his subsequent insulting of Daguerre result in his being outlawed.
  • Welcome to Hell: Said by Friar Tuck to a fatally wounded Folcanet when he emerges from the chapel to see the Merry Men in their festival costumes. Folcanet's reaction is a horrified scream before falling dead.

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