Thinking about perfection

Robin Hood and his Merrie Men
Robin Hood and his Merrie Men

 

For reasons we don’t have to go into here, I watched the 1938 film The Adventures of Robin Hood last week.  It was sheer joy from start to finish.  Everything about it was perfect: the script, the casting, the music and the costumes.  Sixty years later it was still lots of fun, still made you proud to be a native of Nottingham (unlike Errol) and still made you think you had stumbled into a storybook.  The medieval historian was moved to mutter under his breath about various matters of authenticity, but after a good talking to, did agree that he had missed the point.  What matters here is fantasy, spectacle and enchantment.  What I had forgotten, though, was just how wonderful the costumes were.  This is Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian:

 

Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian
Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian

 

That slinky lurex number is quite something.  I really wanted to find some pictures of the archery contest or the banquet scenes but couldn’t.  But, as this blog is about textiles and understanding them in a context, here is Hollywood at its finest just as technicolor was coming in and rich, saturated colour was everything:

 

Robin Hood baddies in their finery
Robin Hood baddies in their finery

 

Robin Hood baddies dressed for a day at the office
Robin Hood baddies dressed for a day at the office

 

And evidence that the baddies are often almost as dashing and glamorous as the goodies:

 

Basil Rathbone as Guy of Guisbourne
Basil Rathbone as Guy of Gisbourne

 

Certainly Sir Guy allows costume designers to indulge themselves, witness a goth Guy:

 

Latest BBC Guy of Gisborne - Richard Armitage
Latest BBC Guy of Gisborne - Richard Armitage

 

But, to end with, the magnificent Errol Flyn in his full technicolor glory:

 

Nottingham's connection with the hosiery trade started early...
Nottingham's connection with the hosiery trade started early...

 

What I was surprised about with this film, was just how much I enjoyed the gorgeous colours on the screen and the licence that the designer, Milo Anderson, was given to create such camp and over-the-top costuming in the rather grey 1930s.  The perfection was part of the enchantment.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s