Everything You Need to Know About Robin Hood... *
* ...but didn't ask. Review of the new movie will be up Saturday. Hopefully.
What’s Robin’s official name/title?
- 1922: The Earl of Huntingdon
- 1938: Sir Robin of Locksley
- 1976: Robin
- 1991 (GB): Sir Robert Hode, Earl of Huntingdon
- 1991 (US): Sir Robin of Locksley
- 2006 (BBC): Robin, Earl of Huntingdon, in the first episode. Sir Robin of Loxley when he marries Marian in the second season.
- 2010: Robin Longstride
Many faces. Fewer hats and feathers.
Who is his right-hand man?
- 1922: John Little
- 1938: Will Scarlett
- 1976: John Little
- 1991 (GB): Will Scarlett
- 1991 (US): Azeem, the Moor
- 2006 (BBC): Much, the Miller’s Son
- 2010: He doesn't really have one
Alan Hale played Little John three times: in ‘22 and ’38 (above),
and in “The Rogues of Sherwood Forest” (1950), his final role.
Who’s Missing? (Or why Alan-a-Dale is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Merry Men)
- 1922: Much, the Miller’s Son
- 1938: Alan-a-Dale
- 1976: Alan-a-Dale; Guy of Gisbourne; and Much, the Miller’s Son
- 1991 (GB): Alan-a-Dale; and King Richard
- 1991 (US): Alan-a-Dale; and Prince John
- 2006 (BBC): No one. Yep, not even Alan-a-Dale.
- 2010: Guy of Gisbourne; and Much, the Miller’s Son. Which means we have our first cinematic Alan-a-Dale in 88 years! Welcome back.
The forgotten merry man, in 1922, 2006 and 2010.
Who's the main villain—Sir Guy of Gisbourne or the Sheriff of Nottingham?
- 1922: Sir Guy of Gisbourne, who tries to kill King Richard in the Holy Land and has his eye on Lady Marian Fitzwalter. The Sheriff of Nottingham is a walk-on.
- 1938: Sir Guy of Gisbourne, who duels memorably with Robin Hood in the end. The Sheriff of Nottingham, in comparison, is fat, cowardly, and used for comic relief.
- 1976: The Sheriff of Nottingham. There is no Sir Guy of Gisbourne in this version.
- 1991 (GB): Sir Miles Folcanet (basically Sir Guy of Gisbourne). Baron Daguerre (basically the Sheriff of Nottingham) helps unite Norman and Saxon in the end.
- 1991 (US): The Sheriff of Nottingham, who has his eye on the throne. His cousin, Guy of Gisbourne, battles Robin early and often but is killed by the Sheriff for a) failing to kill Robin, and b) getting robbed in Sherwood Forest.
- 2006 (BBC): The Sheriff of Nottingham. In the first season Sir Guy takes Robin’s lands, then tries to take Robin’s woman (and eventually kills her), but by the third season he actually joins the Merry Men. The Sheriff is always the bad guy and always the man with the real power.
- 2010: Godfrey. The Sheriff’s a joke. Sir Guy doesn’t exist. Yet.
Six faces of the Sheriff of Nottingham: From walk-on in ‘22
to a man eyeing the throne of England in ’91.
How does Robin demonstrate his archery prowess?
- 1922: A piece of wood is tossed into the air and he shoots two arrows into it. Everyone else, at best, can only shoot one arrow into the wood.
- 1938: In the final round of an archery contest, Philip of Arras shoots a bullseye but Robin splits his arrow. As a child I thought: “Doesn’t that mean they tied?”
- 1976: In the end, posioned, he shoots an arrow out the window from his deathbed. Where it lands is where he’ll be buried.
- 1991 (GB): In a contest to prove his worth to a band of outlaws, their best archer, Harry, comes within inches of a piece of wood at 100 paces. Robin splits the wood.
- 1991 (US): He shoots a weapon out of Will Scarlett’s hand and splits a rope that is hanging one of his men. Also, in a nice touch, he run the feathers through his mouth before doing any shooting.
- 2006 (BBC): What doesn’t he do? He just doesn't kill anyone.
- 2010: He grazes the face of the fleeing Godfrey in France and later kills the fleeing Godfrey on British beaches with a distant, arced shot.
In what way does Robin rob from the rich and give to the poor?
- 1922: A poor boy gets coins. An arrow comes within a whisker of killing “The Rich Man of Wakefield.“ The Merry Men also sing a song (silently) about their feats:”We rob the rich, relieve distressed/ On damned John to score/ We’ll take a life if sorely pressed/ Till Richard reign once more.“ But that’s about it.
- 1938: Robin makes his men swear an oath “to despoil the rich, only to give to the poor,” but we don’t see much despoiling. They memorably rob the caravan, led by Sir Guy and the Sheriff, but that’s guv‘ment money.
- 1976: I’m not sure he does. When he returns to Sherwood 20 years later, he learns people are singing songs about him. “Everywhere we go, they want to hear the things that you did,” Will tells him. To which Robin replies, “We didn’t do them.”
- 1991 (GB): When the Baron raises taxes, Robin and his men steal the taxes. When the Baron raises the reward money on Robin’s head, Robin decides to give the tax money back to the people as a way to keep them on his side. “It’s their money anyway,” he says. Again, though, he’s mostly stealing taxes. The rich, wherever they are, are relatively safe.
- 1991 (US): Ditto. Although one rich man loses his purse and his comely daughter loses her necklace. Insert vice-versa joke here.
- 2006 (BBC): Yes, probably, but it’s mostly a battle between Robin and the Sheriff, with the usual TV fluff.
- 2010: He doesn‘t.
Why do Robin and his men storm the castle at the end?
- 1922: To rescue Marian.
- 1938: To prevent Prince John from declaring himself King of England. Also to rescue Marian.
- 1976: He doesn’t; the final battle takes place in a field next to Sherwood Forest.
- 1991 (GB): To rescue Marian from a forced marriage.
- 1991 (US): To save his men from a hanging and to rescue Marian from marriage/rape.
- 2006 (BBC): They actually storm out of the castle, leave the Sheriff in it, and blow the damned thing up. Nice touch.
- 2010: The castle, French, is stormed at the beginning.
Guy: “Do you know any prayers, my friend?”
Robin: “I’ll say one for you!”
- 1922: Guy of Gisbourne (by Robin Hood)
- 1938: Guy of Gisbourne (by Robin Hood)
- 1976: Robin Hood (by Marian); the Sheriff of Nottingham (by Robin Hood); and King Richard (to madness and disease)
- 1991 (GB): Sir Miles Folcanet (by Robin Hood)
- 1991 (US): The Sheriff of Nottingham (by Robin Hood); and his mother (by Azeem the Moor)
- 2006 (BBC): Robin Hood (by Isabella, Guy’s sister); Maid Marian (by Guy of Gisbourne); Guy of Gisbourne (by the Sheriff of Nottingham); Alan-a-Dale (by the Sheriff of Nottingham); and the Sheriff of Nottingham (by Robin Hood). The thing’s got more deaths than Hamlet.
- 2010: King Richard (to a French arrow).