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:
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:
And evidence that the baddies are often almost as dashing and glamorous as the goodies:
Certainly Sir Guy allows costume designers to indulge themselves, witness a goth Guy:
But, to end with, the magnificent Errol Flyn in his full technicolor glory:
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.