Robin Hood (1973)

Wolfgang Reitherman and David Hand direct Brian Bedford, Peter Ustinov and Terry-Thomas in this Disney animated classic where a fox with skill at archery steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Natalie has a long-standing crush on the vulpine lead. I can’t argue. Lithe, suave and smart. So the craft is noticeably scrappier than your traditional Disney classics, and the form is very freewheelin’… you still can’t help but like it. It is intentionally lower key – easy going fun, maybe that’s the true secret to its of its charm. When you watch Snow White you don’t want to miss a frame. This is far more leisurely, easier to dip in and out of, while never squandering your attention. Gentle adventure, familiar skits. A rooster is our narrator, a minstrel voiced by Roger Miller who supplies the music honky-tonk-influenced novelty songs. Real mellow. Setting the tone. Suiting the tone. Ustinov and Thomas make fine villains, they ain’t threats, they are goons for the pratfalls. Silver spoon voiced haughty naughties we want to see slapped about rather than plot instigating big bads like Shere Khan, Ursula or Jafar. The Merry Men are pointedly absent as Reitherman wanted a “buddy picture” reminiscent of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Again, something just a bit more lackadaisical, not strictly tied to myth and history. The long haired kids could chill out and chuckle along. Your traditional story highlights like the recruiting of Friar Tuck are edited out, amusingly Little John and Robin are introduced politely allowing each other to cross a log bridge first. Even the romance is put on the backburner, Maid Marian is barely present for three quarters of the run time. The old ground is scoffed at, this is about the ambiance, not fealty to the source. It is after all, at the end of the day, a medieval legend blended into an anthropomorphic fox fest. Disney animated classics weren’t blockbusters in this decade, they were made to be solid little programme fillers, this landed happily in at number 8 in its year’s Top 10 box office earners in the US. Set a new records for foreign profits. Maybe the people of 1973 wanted a soothing, undemanding family flick just as much as it wanted The Exorcist? Maybe everyone secretly fancied those foxes.

7

Perfect Double Bill: The Sword In the Stone (1963)

Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog https://cornsyrup.co.uk

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here https://letterboxd.com/bobbycarroll/list/the-worst-movies-we-own-podcast-ranking-and/

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