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Rogues of Sherwood Forest

John Derek , George MacReady , Gordon Douglas    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Product Description

John Derek (The Ten Commandments) plays the role of Robin Hood's son in this action-packed adventure. With England suffering under the rule of the villainous King John (George Macready, Gilda), Robin and his father's loyal band fight countless battles with the king's tax collectors and henchmen, who have corrupted the kingdom, oppressed the common folk, and brought false charges of treason and murder against the disenfranchised. When the tyrant has been deposed, Robin finally returns to the lovely Lady Marianne (Diana Lynn, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek) and just rule is restored. Briskly directed by Gordon Douglas (Harlow, Them!), this is grand fun for the entire family, and film buffs will especially appreciate the final screen appearance by Alan Hale, again playing Little John-as he did opposite both Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb transfer! May 13 2010
By Keith Ducklin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Despite being the last of the "Old Hollywood" Robin Hood epics, no one is likely to claim that "Rogues" is a classic. Still, it remains good, undemanding fun for swashbuckling aficionados. John Derek makes a good-humoured, agile hero, son of the original outlaw, while George MacCready (as Prince John), Alan Cavanaugh and Lowell Gilmore essay a splendid trio of villains. Alan Hale Sr repeats his Little John from the Errol Flynn version but Diana Lynne can't really do much with an underwritten Maid Marianne. Ringing the changes, the plot centres on Robin's part in forcing Prince John to sign the Magna Carta. The action scenes are a bit slapdash, but there are a fair few, including an opening joust and a final duel that mixes swordplay on horseback and on foot.

The DVD itself is a gem. I can't imagine this film has looked this good since it first hit movie screens back in 1950. The image is incredibly sharp, with deep blacks and vibrant colours. The audio is all that one could wish from a sixty-year-old source.

Congratulations to Columbia on a first-class restoration - a great buy for Robin Hood lovers (Hoodies?) everywhere.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic Robin Hood May 22 2010
By Randy Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First, let me say this is really about Robin's son. OK, this is a great film. Far, and i do mean FAR, better then that crappy new one with Russell Crowe. This has eveything, great acting, exciting action scenes, wonderful romance. It's one of the best Robin Hood films I have ever seen. And has Alan Hale as Little John. That right there puts it above most of the others. I would rank Eroll flynn number 1. This 2 and the Disney version 3.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Everything Has Been Said, Everything Has Been Done!" Nov. 15 2010
By Benjamin J Burgraff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
1950's "Rogues of Sherwood Forest", another of Columbia's contributions to the Chivalry genre, is an okay entry, with a few definite 'pluses'; excellent Technicolor cinematography by Charles Lawton, crisp direction by Gordon Douglas, lush, elaborate (if somewhat generic) sets, and an above-average cast for a 'B' feature, including veteran screen 'villain' George Macready ("Gilda") as King John, beautiful (and very busy) screen ingenue Diana Lynn, as King John's ward, Lady Marianne (no one even mentions 'Maid Marion' in this film), and especially Alan Hale, in his final film, playing Little John for the THIRD time (first, in support of Douglas Fairbanks in 1922's classic, "Robin Hood", then Errol Flynn, in 1938's classic, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", and here, serving John Derek). Hale, at 57, may sound a bit tired, but he still has that twinkle in his eye, and appears to be enjoying himself, immensely!

As for John Derek...it's easy to see why he was cast as the son of Robin Hood; facially, he does resemble the youthful Errol Flynn, particularly when he smiles. However, Derek lacks Flynn's athletic grace (he is obviously doubled in every fight sequence), and he lacks Flynn's charismatic screen presence...and, honestly, he's a lousy actor, at least in costume epics (even ignoring his incongruous American accent).

The plot is pretty straightforward; it's 1215 AD, Richard is dead, John is King, and, bitterly aware of the grumbling of the unhappy British nobility (wanting to continue the basic freedoms Richard had given), plans to import an army from Flanders to 'pacify' the population. Unfortunately, the Count of Flanders (a rather ineffectual Lowell Gilmore) wants a hefty fee (and later, Marianne, thus continuing the 'Guy of Gisbourne' tradition of lusting after Robin's woman). Surprisingly reluctant (for a moment), King John proclaims huge taxes (so the people will pay to bring in the army who will crush them...guess that's why they call these 'Dark Ages'...) Meanwhile, young Sir Robin of Huntington (Derek), son of the late 'Robin Hood' (no explanation given of how he passed away), recently returned with Little John from the Crusades, and having survived one murder attempt by King John (still holding a grudge against his father), declares himself against the injustices of the King. He and Little John are imprisoned, escape (with Marianne's aid), and recruit survivors of his father's old gang (Tuck, Alan-a-Dale...who, by the way, never appeared in the Flynn film...and Will Scarlet), and a band of new 'Merry Men', fighting King John's tyranny, and aiding the Barons in forcing him to accept the Magna Carta.

There is a definite effort made in capturing the 'look' of the 1938 film (some shots are framed exactly the same), and there are fewer glitches than in some 'Robin Hood' productions (although some pretty obvious telephone poles appear in the background, during one riding sequence!) The major problems here are a rather uninvolving plot (Robin isn't really even a major player, in the central 'Magna Carta' plotline), a lack of romantic chemistry between Robin and Marianne (oh, how I miss Errol and Olivia!), the lack of a really impressive opponent (Gilmore's 'Count' simply isn't 'dangerous' enough, and a better villain, King John's crony, Sir Giles, played by Paul Cavanagh, is woefully underused, and never even faces Robin), and, most obviously, the nearly magical sparkle that a truly wonderful adventure film has. That thrill of bigger-than-life heroes, derring-do on a grand scale, romance that makes your heart sing..."Rogues of Sherwood Forest" simply never achieves that kind of magic.

As Alan Hale says, in his very last words on a movie screen, "Everything Has Been Said, Everything Has Been Done..." He might well have been summing up the Flynn film against the Derek one!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "Everything has been said, everything has been done." Dec 29 2010
By Trevor Willsmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
1950's Rogues of Sherwood Forest sees John Derek stepping into Errol Flynn's costume but never managing to fill it: a dull and wooden presence, he sets the tone for a lacklustre and perfunctorily executed hour-and-a-third that only has Alan Hale in his final film playing the role of Little John for the third time going for it. Unfortunately it only reminds you how much better Errol Flynn and even Douglas Fairbanks, for all his prancing and over-emoting, were in Lincoln Green. Not that Derek is actually playing Robin but his son, who finds himself up against King John, who's overtaxing the people once again to pay for an army of Flemish mercenaries to crush them even further before the barons can force him to sign the Magna Carta ("I'll build a gallows. It will be high and it will be strong," spits George Macready's treacherous monarch). While Diane Lynne's bland Maid Marianne sends him information from the castle via carrier pigeon, the newly outlawed Robin of Huntingdon and Little John decide to bring all the original Merry Men back together, which is an idea that has promise that the film never does anything with at all. With the exception of the final swordfight (initially on horseback), the action scenes are especially lazily thrown together with actors and stuntmen just going unenthusiastically through the motions because they know this is the kind of programmer it's not worth getting any bruises over. Even the Technicolor isn't anything to get excited about in a film that has contractual obligation written all over it and which even recycles some footage from the earlier and much more enjoyable The Bandit of Sherwood Forest. As Alan Hale says at the end, "Everything has been said, everything has been done."

The only extra is a trailer for Hammer's Sword of Sherwood Forest.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "I'm afraid Your Majesty's plan to dispose of several of your barons and seize their states... was bungled." May 16 2010
By H. Bala - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Just to show that he's got more to him than a guy with a knack for marrying gorgeous actresses (Ursula Andress, Linda Evans, Bo Derek), John Derek even starred in a few films. So he's one reason to see ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST, this umpteenth film iteration of the Robin Hood mythos. Another is that Alan Hale, in his final screen appearance, assumes the role of Little John for the third time. Alan Hale by this time was already pretty long in the tooth, but dang if he wasn't as lively as ever.

How petty and vindictive is King John? The year is 1215, and no sooner does the son of King John's old nemesis, the Earl of Huntington (who was more famously known as. Robin Hood), return from the Crusades than he is summoned by royal decree to compete in an exhibition of friendly combat. If by "friendly combat" it's intended that his opponent's lance is capped in brittle metal. Robin Hood's son, also named Robin, survives this treachery, leaving the King to fester even deeper in jealous rage.

Even more troubling to the king, the barons refuse to be properly cowed by his royal commands. King John longs to hire Flemish troops to enforce his rule, but the price is high. Ergo, he re-institutes his old policy of imposing crippling taxes on the people. With England teetering under a corrupt reign, young Robin takes up his legendary father's outlaw habits. He enlists his father's old band of merry men. Luckily for him, Little John, Friar Tuck, Alan-a-Dale, and Will Scarlett still make for spry bandits even if they're now "greyer in the thatch." Away they go, vanquishing evil tax collectors and other scoundrels deployed by the King. It's like old times for these aged reprobates.

ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST, released in 1950, doesn't have the timeless pedigree of Errol Flynn's THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, but it's a fairly spirited reimagining and it's briskly paced and shot in crisp Technicolor. It also offers up my preferred (if fictional) account of how the Magna Carta came to be signed. Swashbuckling conventions are observed nicely - one standout is the terrifically staged jousting scene at the start.

John Derek cuts a very handsome and dashing figure and handles himself well in the action sequences, even if the charisma isn't quite there. Guy's pretty athletic, and too bad he didn't do more of this kind of film. George Macready elevates the story with his deliciously malicious turn as King John, with the urbane Lowell Gilmore matching him as the villainous Count of Flanders. Acting wise, a weak link is Diana Lynn, lovely but tame as the King's royal ward, the Lady Marianne de Beaudray. Lynn and Derek aren't really in sync, but what does that matter in the larger scope? ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST, in its humble sensibilities, demonstrates winning doses of skullduggery and derring-do, enough to satisfy a soul craving entertainment on a weekend matinee afternoon. I like that Alan Hale gets to have the last words. It's apropos to the film and maybe even to his career that he closes with: "Everything has been said, and everything has been done." Exit Alan Hale.

This DVD also comes with trailers for ROGUES OF SHERWOOD FOREST and A KNIGHT'S TALE.

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