Film Review – THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938)

THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD (1938, USA, 106m, U) *****
Action, Adventure, Romance
dist. Warner Bros.; pr co. First National Pictures / Warner Bros.; d. Michael Curtiz, William Keighley; w. Norman Reilly Raine, Seton I. Miller; pr. Hal B. Wallis, Jack L. Warner (both uncredited); ph. Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito (Technicolor | 1.37:1); m. Erich Wolfgang Korngold; ed. Ralph Dawson; ad. Carl Jules Weyl.
cast: Errol Flynn (Robin Hood), Olivia de Havilland (Maid Marian), Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne), Claude Rains (Prince John), Patric Knowles (Will Scarlett), Eugene Pallette (Friar Tuck), Alan Hale (Little John), Melville Cooper (High Sheriff of Nottingham), Ian Hunter (King Richard the Lion-Heart), Una O’Connor (Bess), Herbert Mundin (Much), Montagu Love (Bishop of the Black Canons), Leonard Willey (Sir Essex), Robert Noble (Sir Ralf), Kenneth Hunter (Sir Mortimer), Robert Warwick (Sir Geoffrey), Colin Kenny (Sir Baldwin), Lester Matthews (Sir Ivor), Harry Cording (Dickon Malbete), Ivan F. Simpson (Proprietor of Kent Road Tavern).
Not only the definitive Robin Hood movie, but one of the all-time great adventure films and highly influential on George Lucas and his STAR WARS saga. When King Richard the Lionheart is captured, his scheming brother Prince John (Rains). aided by Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Rathbone), plots to reach the throne, to the outrage of Sir Robin of Locksley (Flynn), the bandit king of Sherwood Forest. Rounding up his band of men he eventually wins the support of the lovely Maid Marian (de Havilland). Filmed in three-strip Technicolor, this is a sumptuous production full of verve and pomp. Flynn is perfect as the energetic and charismatic Robin. He has the ideal cast in support, from the calculating Raines to the poise of the sadistic Rathbone and the sensitive beauty of de Havilland. The set design and matte work are first-rate for the period, whilst Dawson’s slick editing and Korngold’s boisterous score add significantly to the production. Milo Anderson’s costumes are designed to maximise the use of the Technicolor process. The climactic swordfight between Flynn and Rathbone is inventive and often hailed as one of the best filmed. Curtiz replaced Keighley as director of the film to add vigour to the action scenes. The film won 3 Oscars: Best Soundtrack, Editing and Art Direction (Carl Jules Weyl). The film was entered into the National Film Registry for its culturally, historically, or aesthetically significance in 1995.
AA: Best Art Direction (Carl Jules Weyl), Best Film Editing (Ralph Dawson), Best Music, Original Score (Erich Wolfgang Korngold)
AAN: Best Picture

Film Review – THE COMANCHEROS (1961)

Image result for the comancheros 1961Comancheros, The (1961; USA; DeLuxe; 107m) ***  d. Michael Curtiz; w. James Edward Grant, Clair Huffaker; ph. William H. Clothier; m. Elmer Bernstein.  Cast: John Wayne, Stuart Whitman, Lee Marvin, Bruce Cabot, Nehemiah Persoff, Ina Balin, Michael Ansara, Patrick Wayne, Jack Elam, Edgar Buchanan, Joan O’Brien, Henry Daniell, Richard Devon, Bob Steele, Guinn “Big Boy” Williams. Texas Ranger Jake Cutter arrests gambler Paul Regret, but soon finds himself teamed with his prisoner in an undercover effort to defeat a band of renegade arms merchants and thieves known as Comancheros. Interplay between Wayne and Whitman drives this otherwise routine story. Curtiz adds directorial style and the action scenes are well shot, but other aspects of the story never really get off the ground. Rousing score by Bernstein. The final film directed by Curtiz. On the days when Curtiz was too ill to work, Wayne took over direction of the film. Based on the novel by Paul Wellman. [PG]

Film Review – CASABLANCA (1942)

Image result for casablanca blu-rayCasablanca (1942; USA; B&W; 102m) *****  d. Michael Curtiz; w. Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch; ph. Arthur Edeson; m. Max Steiner.  Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, Madeleine LeBeau, Dooley Wilson, Joy Page, John Qualen, Leonid Kinskey. Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. All-time classic is memorable for so many things. The performances are note perfect, with Bogart at his absolute best as café owner Rick and Bergman superbly conveying her torn emotions as his lost love Ilsa. The screenplay is packed full of quotable dialogue. Steiner’s score is dramatic, romantic and contains the immortal “As Time Goes By” sung at the piano by Wilson. Edeson’s photography captures the smoke-filled atmosphere and chaos of the unoccupied French territory. It is all blended with Curtiz’s direction to become one of the finest achievements of American cinema. Triple Oscar winner, for Best Picture, Director and Screenplay. Based on the play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. Developed as a TV series in 1955 and again in 1983. [U]