We only see the last part of what was originally a longer sequence of Robin recruiting Friar Tuck. Originally Robin forces Tuck to carry him across the river, then Tuck overcomes Robin and forces him to carry him back, and finally the part seen in the film where Robin regains the advantage. This results in both of them having inexplicably wet legs before they enter the river.
A scene was filmed that was to have taken place before the scene where Will Scarlet comes riding into the forest clearing with Much the Miller's Son on his saddle. This was the scene where King Richard challenges Friar Tuck to a fistfight and wins, after which Robin himself agrees to fight King Richard. The scene was deleted from the final version of the film, making it appear that King Richard and Robin are about to fight for no reason.
Hostility on the Set: This was one of twelve films Errol Flynn and Michael Curtiz made together despite the fact that they couldn't stand each other.note (Note that Curtiz wasn't the original director; William Keighley was, and actually got on pretty well with Flynn, but was fired midway through production after his version was found to be severely visually unimpressive by the producers) During one fight sequence, Flynn was jabbed by an actor who was using an unprotected sword—he asked him why he didn't have a guard on the point. The other player apologized and explained that Curtiz had instructed him to remove the safety feature in order to make the action "more exciting". Flynn reportedly climbed up a gantry where Curtiz was standing next to the camera, took him by the throat and asked him if he found that "exciting enough".
Missing Trailer Scene: The theatrical trailer contains footage of Robin and Marian kissing on horseback. This footage is from the deleted final scene of the film, immediately following the closing of the great doors, where the film now ends.
Stillborn Franchise: A sequel, Sir Robin of Locksley was announced but never developed. The US government wanted to restrict the amount of money invested in filmmaking at that point in anticipation of joining World War II, so it was delayed. By 1945, when the war was over, the project was scrapped because Olivia de Havilland and Claude Rains were no longer employed at Warner Bros..
Troubled Production: Averted at first, with filming going smoothly (outside of a delay caused by poor weather in the forest location), and notoriously temperamental star Errol Flynn getting on quite well with director William Keighley. At least until the studio saw the daillies, and were horrified to find that Keighley was delivering an unimaginitively-filmed, lethargically-paced film was action sequences that, by all accounts, were simply abysmal. The studio immediately fired Keighley and replaced him with Michael Curtiz, regarded as a much more capable director, but one with a notoriously uncompromising atittude towards actors. As a result, production progressed much more to the studio's satisfaction, but tempers frequently flared between Curtiz and not only Flynn, but co-stars Olivia de Havilland and Claude Rains. It eventually culminated in Flynn coming to blows with Curtiz after the latter failed to tell Flynn that his opponent in a swordfight was using a real sword, nearly getting him injured. In the end, Curtiz was responsible for an estimated 70%+ of the finished film — normally enough that Keighley wouldn't have been entitled to a screen credit, but the studio gave him one anyway, largely to keep Flynn happy — which nonethess ended up being a smash hit at the box-office, and arguably Flynn's most famous role.
Wag the Director: Errol Flynn had some of his own design ideas, notably complaints about the fringed wig designed for his character. After a convincing note from Flynn to Hal B. Wallis back at the studio, the wig was redesigned according to the actor's needs and suggestions. Reshooting was unnecessary since up to that point, the offending hairpiece had only been photographed under a hat.
Flynn enjoyed working with the sophisticated and easy-going William Keighley but despised the temperamental and demanding Curtiz. Problems between the two were reportedly exacerbated by Flynn's casual approach to production schedules and scene preparation, as well as his reputed bad memory for dialogue.
James Cagney was originally cast as Robin Hood, but dropped out due to a contract dispute with the studio. The film was shelved until Jack L. Warner saw Errol Flynn in Captain Blood and the rest is history.
Orson Welles was offered the role of Friar Tuck or King Richard, but he turned them both down.
David Niven turned down the role of Will Scarlett, as he was on holiday at the time.
This film was originally intended as a much closer remake of the silent film.
One of the original story concepts had Robin Hood die at the end of the film.
Two scenes—a jousting tournament and a christening—were cut from the script to save money and were never filmed.
The ending that exists now in the film is not the one that was originally written. In the original ending, King Richard and his forces help battle Prince John's and Guy of Gisburne's forces outside the castle - this ending was scrapped because it was too expensive to film. In the back-up ending, Prince John and Guy of Gisbourne's forces chased Robin Hood's and King Richard's forces into Sherwood forest and the climax took place there. This second ending was really never satisfactory, and was scrapped too. Finally, a third ending was written, in which the climactic battle takes place inside the Castle of Nottingham. Now King Richard's forces could be pared down to a handful of faithful retainers, and the new ending proved to be less expensive to shoot. To prepare the audience for the new ending, the abbot's scenes were given to the Bishop of the Black Canons.
The original script was loaded with ridiculous Purple Prose, which Curtiz thankfully insisted be removed entirely.
Word of Gay: Claude Rains later revealed to his daughter that he'd enjoyed playing Prince John as a homosexual, by using subtle mannerisms.
The TV Series
The Merch: This was one of the first British shows to have a licencing agreement to produce tie-in toys. With its appeal to children, the Airfix model company was allowed to produce two sets of character figures, representing Robin Hood's forces, and a set of the Sheriff of Nottingham's men. While the tie-in Sheriff's Castle is no longer available as a kitnote Examples sell for silly money on Ebay, the model figures are still available today to collectors and wargamers, and are thought of as having lasted well for 1950's designs.
Marian was played by two different actresses over the show's run.
Also Little John: Archie Duncan was replaced for several episodes in the first series after suffering injuries saving some of the child actors from falling scenery.
Prince John was played by a total three different actors.
The Sheriff's lieutenant, Howard, was very prone to this: he was seldom played by the same actor two weeks running.
Ronald Howard played Will Scarlet when the character was an occasional guest; when he was promoted to regular, Paul Eddington took over the role in a striking case of You Look Familiar - Eddington had played dozens of minor parts in earlier seasons, including several appearances as Howard.