Monday, April 9, 2012

Jason watches ROBIN HOOD (1922)

At the Stanford Theatre, with Dennis James rockin' the Mighty Wurlitzer organ with the original score written for the movie. He introduced it as a score that many self-professed scholars claim is lousy. It's repetitive, it sets mood more than matching the actual action. But Dennis didn't care, he's a purist and historian who will play the original music. And for what it's worth, I thought the score worked just fine (with Dennis livening it up a bit so it wasn't quite so repetitive.)

As for the story, Douglas Fairbanks plays Robert, Earl of Huntingdon who later becomes Robin Hood (but not until halfway through the movie.) Wallace Beery plays Richard the Lionhearted. Against them are Prince John (Sam De Grasse) and Sir Guy of Gisbourne (Paul Dickey.) Maid Marian is played by Enid Bennet, who is appropriately in danger quite often, but not given much more to do. The first half is pretty slow, as King Richard and Huntingdon lead their army on a crusade, Gisbourne and Prince John plot against them, and when Huntingdon escapes and finally returns to England, he finds a band of men opposing John's tyranny hiding in Sherwood Forest, just needing a leader to guide them. So he becomes Robin Hood, and the fun really starts. The sets are huge and grand (it was the first movie to cost over $1 million) and while allegedly Fairbanks was afraid he would be overshadowed by the sets, ultimately he has a grand time as an eternal child climbing the walls and sliding down the curtain.

Oh, and as someone who grew up with the Disney animated Robin Hood, I can say that the Merry Men in this version are even merrier with all their dancing, jumping, and pirouetting.

Running Time: 127 minutes
My Total Minutes: 276,570


Brian Darr said...

Hey wish I could have been there for this. Great film. Was it well-attended?

Also, the geek in me wonders if, when tabulating the minutes for your lifetime total, you actually time the movies to your watch, or just use imdb or some other source as a guide.

puppymeat said...

It was pretty well attended, but not a sellout. At least, there were seats available in the front row.

I generally use IMDb or other sources (e.g., festival guides) for the running times. Sometimes I have had to estimate, especially for silent films that don't have a set running time. When that happens, I try to estimate low, so I don't give myself extra unearned minutes.

Brian Darr said...

Damn. Was hoping to be able to use your time log as a source in its own right. As you may know, the imdb is notoriously inaccurate about certain things, and running times for silent films is one of them (it doesn't help that many silents are out there prowling around in multiple versions, and can be projected at varying speeds).

puppymeat said...

Sorry, if I were more on the ball it would make sense for me to time them myself. But I use a combination of IMDb, other sources I can find, and my personal judgement. For ROBIN HOOD, I got 127 minutes from IMDb, but it matched the fact that the show was scheduled for 7:30, there were some opening remarks, and it got out a little after 9:40. So even if timing it would give me a +/- a couple of minutes, 127 is legit enough for me.

A couple of years ago SFSFF played HAXAN: WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES and I know they slowed it down (because it made me miss BART home.) I still used the IMDb running time even though I knew it cheated me out of 10-20 minutes, on the premise that underestimating is okay but overestimating isn't.

Brian Darr said...

I hope you had a place to crash in SF! If not, you may now know of such a place if that happens again in the future.

Dennis James said...

ROBIN HOOD runs 122 minutes when shown at 21.5 frames per second (the film speed that matches the score). The recent Stanford Theatre screening was, by my estimation, shown at between 19 to 19.25 frames per second judging by how many measures I had had to add to each cue throughout. Glad you enjoyed the show, Jason!