The Many Flavors of Robin Hood

JULY / AUG 2015: BY RACHEL KOVACINY

robin

One of the things I like best about Robin Hood is how many flavors he comes in. Sweet Robin Hood. Dark Robin Hood. Zesty Robin Hood. Whatever you’re craving, there’s a Robin Hood for you!

Say you want your Robin Hood sweet and light, but not too sugary. Go for the 1973 Disney animated version. Robin Hood’s quite the foxy fellow here (literally), always one merry step ahead of Prince John and his cohorts. He’s playful, he’s always donning some disguise or other, and nothing ever goes seriously wrong for him, even when he’s being threatened by a wolf brandishing a burning torch. The milk chocolate of Robin Hoods, the 1973 Robin Hood is perfect for satisfying your Robin Hood craving without leaving you feeling too full.

But what if you want something a little more filling? Cake, instead of just a chocolate bar, for instance. Check out the 1952 Disney live-action version, The Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men. Starring Richard Todd as our loveable rogue, this also has a confectionary feel to it, but with more substance than a cartoon can hold. Very nice for a dessert.

Right, but say you’re in the mood for a Robin Hood that’s light, but nourishing. Sample 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood. Beneath Errol Flynn’s happy-go-lucky grin lurks a conscience troubled by the way he must turn outlaw to thwart lawbreakers and protect innocent people. This one’s a nice ham and cheese sandwich—good for a quick lunch, but not too heavy.

If ham and cheese isn’t your thing, you could always go for peanut-butter-and-jelly instead. That’d be Princess of Thieves, a 2001 TV movie that features a teen Keira Knightley as Robin Hood’s headstrong daughter. This one’s got everything you want in a comfort food—adventure, a little sprinkling of romance, and lots of bravery. Like a PB&J, it’s something kids are gonna go nuts over.

And then there’s the dark Robin Hood. Like a 90% cacao bar of chocolate—you can only eat a bite or too, and you’re not entirely sure if you’re enjoying it, but you want some more. Yes, I’m talking about the 2010 movie starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. It’s grim and violent, and spends more time on Robin Hood’s back story than on his merry adventures. At the same time, it’s got some really enjoyable aspects too, so it’s good for a gloomy day when you don’t want something chipper anyway.

I also promised you zesty Robin Hood. For that, look no farther than the BBC’s adaptation that ran from 2006 to 2009. Filled with zingy dialog, handsome men, pretty ladies, and a healthy helping of derring-do, it will keep you thoroughly entertained, but it’s not something you’d share with a little kid. Think a spicy salsa or those pickled peppers I’ve yet to work up the courage to try.

Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves wants to be zesty, but it comes off a little too earnest, so it’s more ketchup than salsa. It mixes Kevin Costner with Christian Slater into something a little sweet and a little salty, but it’s not specifically suited to any one meal. Also, like ketchup, some people want it all the time, and some people think a little bit goes a long way.

As for Robin Hood: Men in Tights, honestly, this is the pickle relish of Robin Hood movies. They took something tasty, chopped it up, and turned it into something I really don’t want too much of. It’s funny for a few minutes, but then I’ve had more than enough of it.

Of course, there are many other Robin Hood flavors. There’s the ’50s TV show starring Richard Greene, the silent Douglas Fairbanks version, Robin and the Seven Hoods (in case you’re craving some Rat Pack gangsters), and the 1976 Robin and Marion (with Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn playing the aging couple). I won’t even delve into all the Ivanhoe adaptations, which also involve dear Robin. And these are just the versions I’ve personally seen! There are dozens more. Like I said, there’s a Robin Hood for every taste—no matter what your mood or preference, you’re sure to find one to satisfy your craving.

julyaug2015

When she’s not writing, Rachel Kovaciny passes the time by reading, baking, watching movies, crocheting, blogging, and homeschooling her three children. Her least favorite activities are house-cleaning and wearing shoes, and she’s been known to go to great lengths to avoid both. She blogs about books, and also has a personal blog that talks about movies and other important things.

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