the inspiration for this version of Robin Hood isn’t actually Robin Hood
September 20, 2014 8:28 AM   Subscribe

 
It's pretty odd that an historian would write this lengthy article and seem to know basically nothing about the British television series that ran for 4 years during the 1950s and was also shown on CBS in the US. Many of the characters and concepts for the Disney animated film are drawn directly from that.
posted by hippybear at 8:41 AM on September 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


Rediscovering the Disney back catalog with my daughter has been interesting. The use of actors from Green Acres and Andy Griffith was a definite trend when Robin Hood was made. And though I loved it in The Aristocrats, it was little too jarring in Robin Hood.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 9:23 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hippybear, the British Robin Hood was one of my favorite shows when I was a child! My best friend and I watched it every week. Disney's version can't be bad if based on that show. Thanks for reminding me.
posted by mermayd at 9:51 AM on September 20, 2014


Well, I don't think the article was meant to be exhaustive on the subject. I was pretty surprised that it had any medieval roots at all, rather than being cribbed out of Errol Flynn and Alan Ladd films...

Which is nice, because, you know, I have fond memories of watching Disney's Robin Hood ias a child. This is kind of like discovering that The Jungle Book was actually a cunning retelling of The Mahabharata or something.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:06 AM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I loved this movie as a kid. Thinking back, I may have had a bit of a crush on Robin.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:06 AM on September 20, 2014 [8 favorites]


In the interests of full disclosure, I mentioned An Historian Goes to the Movies approvingly in an earlier thread, and I know the author, so I am biased.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:10 AM on September 20, 2014


This is kind of like discovering that The Jungle Book was actually a cunning retelling of The Mahabharata or something.

There was a surprising amount of content plagiarized from Inuits.
posted by maxsparber at 10:20 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Van de Vos Reynarde Alsatian? Zeeuws you mean, Flemish at a pinch.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:37 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


sevenyearlurk: I definitely had a crush on Maid Marion.
posted by jferg at 10:45 AM on September 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


And... the closet furries start to emerge. :P
posted by hippybear at 11:01 AM on September 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


I loved the Disney movie as a kid and rewatched it when it popped up on Netflix instant recently. The screenplay structure leaves a lot to be desired, but the quiet tenderness of the "Not in Nottingham" scene totally works.

(If you go to the youtube page, you'll find that Mumford and Sons apparently did a cover of this song. I cannot bring myself to listen to or link to it.)
posted by HeroZero at 11:08 AM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


The first blog post you linked to is pretty interesting. Great stuff.
posted by Nevin at 11:24 AM on September 20, 2014


Oh man. That whistled tune has been stuck in my head for about 25 years.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:52 AM on September 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


Van de Vos Reynarde Alsatian? Zeeuws you mean, Flemish at a pinch.


Split the difference and say Luxembourger?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:17 PM on September 20, 2014


And... the closet furries start to emerge.

To be fair, Robin is quite the fox. And Marian, hoo boy, what a vixen she can be.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:19 PM on September 20, 2014 [12 favorites]


MetaFilter: Robin Hood if it were staged by furries.
posted by klanawa at 12:31 PM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


Part of that whistled tune was heavily modified and became The Hampster Dance, which was also stuck in people's heads for years.
posted by eye of newt at 12:44 PM on September 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


The Disney film was hacked together out of traced sections from other films, virtually no thought was given to any plot, and it shows pretty badly. This was during the long period when Disney's guiding principle was "how can we issue product at minimum cost?"

It's tragic to hear that someone once put serious thought into it and unsurprising if he burst into tears when he saw the audience-insulting pile of crap it was.
posted by Segundus at 12:50 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know what you're talking about, it's solid gold.
posted by you're a kitty! at 12:57 PM on September 20, 2014 [3 favorites]


This was the first movie I saw in the theatre. I remember liking it, but then again, I was four.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:19 PM on September 20, 2014


Thinking back, I may have had a bit of a crush on Robin

As long as we are admitting things like that: I had a crush on Tinker Bell.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 1:58 PM on September 20, 2014


Mentally importing Disney's Robin Hood's form onto Reynard the Fox just makes that scene from Lev Grossman's The Magician King even more bizarre and horrifying.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 2:00 PM on September 20, 2014 [7 favorites]


My stable had a Halloween show every year; the kids would dress up the horses and play theme songs as we walked them around the ring.When I was 9 another girl and I dressed up Thum as Robin Hood and we won 3rd place. There weren't enough ribbons and the other girl got it.
posted by brujita at 2:45 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


I had a crush on Tinker Bell.
posted by Mr. Yuck

Well, at least you have the color green in common. It's a start!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:39 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I got no shame, I adore Robin Hood. I know that it is a hot mess of accents and anachronisms BUT how often can you comment on your niece's choice of boyfriend, at the time as, "ah, an outlaw for an in-law" and your father snorting in response? It is a child's Robin Hood, and my kids carry on the tradition by liking it too.
posted by jadepearl at 7:07 PM on September 20, 2014 [5 favorites]


You guys mean THIS whistle song?


Click on it. You know you cannot resist. OODELOLLYOODELOLLY
posted by louche mustachio at 7:48 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


When I was in college in the late 70s, the college would run movies every Sunday night for a $1 admission. It was basically anything they could scrounge up, running the gamut from Psycho to Lawrence of Arabia to Andy Warhol's Frankenstein to um, Disney's Robin Hood. I don't remember much of the film (hey, it was the 70s) but there was this part where there's this marching squad of rhinos in armor. One person in the audience started stamping their feet in time with the rhinos. The theater had a wooden floor and it resonated beautifully. In a few seconds about a couple hundred drunk/stoned college kids were ALL stomping their feet. Oh, those were the days.
posted by Ber at 8:33 PM on September 20, 2014 [6 favorites]


I loved this movie as a kid. I refuse to accept that the are any plot holes.
posted by arcticseal at 9:09 PM on September 20, 2014 [4 favorites]


HISS YOU IDIOT
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:03 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


Disney history blog Passport to Dreams Old & New recently ran a retrospective of theatrical Disney films released between January 1967 and December 1973. The final article in the series covers Robin Hood (second half of the post, scroll down).

Topics include the film's character design, how it's structured like a Western, how it influenced Don Bluth's post-Disney works, and how the film may very well mark the point where the anthropomorphic "Furry" artwork style diverged from the "Funny Animal" genre.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:38 PM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


v important gif
posted by poffin boffin at 11:41 PM on September 20, 2014 [1 favorite]


I rewatched it in university recently, its got a very libertarian slant which surprised me, in that taxation of any form is considered immoral and wrong. Its also not terribly good...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:02 AM on September 21, 2014


Mentally importing Disney's Robin Hood's form onto Reynard the Fox just makes that scene from Lev Grossman's The Magician King even more bizarre and horrifying.

Yes, not only is that scene truly ugly but he clearly sees Reynard, antiauthority folk hero, as pure evil...
posted by ennui.bz at 4:49 AM on September 21, 2014


he clearly sees Reynard, antiauthority folk hero, as pure evil...

Oh, me too: I read a translation of the original last year and Reynard reminded me much more of folk sociopaths like Mr Punch than rogues like Robin Hood. But then I've never been oppressed under an unescapable feudal system, so some of Reynard's charm may have gone over my head.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:10 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


If it was a childhood experience I can understand how it would be a cherished memory. But look at it again with adult eyes, and notice how large chunks are just copied from earlier films with 'medieval' hats added. You should be angry about how cynically your younger self was fed the laziest crap they could come up with - everything good about it is ripped off - and the way it's hard to criticise because they made it seem unpatriotic to not love Disney.
posted by Segundus at 6:43 AM on September 21, 2014


I'm pretty comfortable not getting all that fussed about originality vs lazy derivative filmmaking wrt an animated movie with talking foxes that made me happy when I was 5 years old and still has entertainment/nostalgia value to me in the present day.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:37 AM on September 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


like ohnoes a film where a talking villainous snake had his head stuck in a wholly anachronistic transparent pink rubber balloon and used it to fly around angrily until someone popped it might not be true cinematic excellence
posted by poffin boffin at 10:41 AM on September 21, 2014 [2 favorites]


You don't understand how important it is that I get you to despise something from your childhood
posted by shakespeherian at 10:46 AM on September 21, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh my goodness, the original Sir Hiss is SO GOOD
posted by Greg Nog at 11:16 AM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah I agree about the taxes thing - I suppose 'robs from the rich, gives to the poor' was ideologically unacceptable in the context of the Cold War. But making Robin and co be folksy American tax protesters still seems a weird move to me.

On the other hand my daughter, who's 4, told me a few months ago that she was going to marry Robin Hood the fox. When I asked what she was going to do about Maid Marian she thought for a bit and said she didn't matter 'because animals don't really get married'.
posted by Mocata at 12:44 PM on September 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I do love this movie, really.
Partly because when I was pregnant with my 2nd kid, I could lie down on the couch with my first, pop this in the old VCR and snooze while he watched it. The football scene would rouse me in time to lumber into the kitchen to make dinner.
One of the great movie lines of all times is Friar Tuck's "get out of my church!"
posted by Biblio at 2:43 PM on September 21, 2014


Is the background art lifted from earlier films as well? Because, on rewatch, it's one of my favourite things about the movie. It's beautiful, lyrical, detailed and seems really to have the feel of the best children's book illustrations. And watching as an adult in the Pixar Age, there is a certain awe to knowing it was all hand done.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:15 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


HOLY FUCKING SHIT I JUST REALIZED WHISTLE STOP IS HAMPSTERDANCE
posted by Greg Nog at 5:29 PM on September 21, 2014 [4 favorites]


I am watching this now and gods almighty the line work is just so fucking astoundingly good. The idea that this could qualify as lazy crap is hilarious. The writing is broad as hell and clearly aimed at tots, but fucking hell, this animation is gorgeous.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:37 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also I know the FPP link talks about how the focus on animals and a corrupt king tones down the anti-authoritarian message, but I'd forgotten how much of the movie is explicitly about how much crime rules
posted by Greg Nog at 5:47 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


also also also every time Sir Hiss gets discombobulated his lines get fuzzy like he's a furry animal which either

A) means the animators literally dont know what snakes are
or
B) have decided that fuck it, we're making a snake furry as an artistic choice, WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO, ARREST US????
posted by Greg Nog at 6:01 PM on September 21, 2014 [3 favorites]


The part where Marion and her maid play rescue with the children is so well-written I cannot get over it.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:24 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


i am mad that neither of you are posting this in the fanfare thread
posted by poffin boffin at 8:22 PM on September 21, 2014


Greg Nog: there are plenty of reptile furries. Also dragon furries, bird furries, completely imaginary creature furries...

Furry is legion, a big tent that can accept all.

Even the occasional hooman.
posted by hippybear at 9:15 PM on September 21, 2014 [1 favorite]


*favourites this entire thread forever*

sevenyearlurk, you're not the only one. Scroll down. A number of people (self among them!) definitely had babycrushes on Robin Hood, which I think is a testament to the character design and writing. OK so this movie recycles animation and voices and the story is kind of weak but it has bucketloads of charisma. "Seize the fat one!"
posted by Ziggy500 at 8:09 AM on September 22, 2014


Thomas O'Malley, Alleycat was hotter, tho.
posted by Biblio at 9:35 AM on September 22, 2014


WHAT ARE THEY GONNA DO, ARREST US

You're not going to make this another thread about High-Snakes Testing, are you?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:35 PM on September 22, 2014


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