Olivia at Meanwhile, in Rivendell is hosting a Robin Hood Week. Check out her blog for all kinds of links to various Robin Hood posts. Here are my answers to her opening questions tag:
What was your first exposure to Robin Hood?
Er.... No idea if it was the Disney animated one or the Disney Richard Todd one in book format. One or the other. I also had a Robin Hood kid's book that dates back to the same time frame, so that one's mixed in there too. I know in elementary school, I had a lunchbox for the Disney animated one, and it was my favorite lunchbox ever. My sister wanted to steal it, and we both still talk about it to this day. And meeting Prince John at Disneyland was a highlight of my early visits to the park. There's an old photo of me with Prince John from that Disneyland trip somewhere... need to get it from my parents and scan it to share.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how big a fan are you?
7 or 8. I'd say I'm a pretty big fan of Robin Hood in general.
How many versions and spin-offs of the legend have you experienced?
Oh man... so very very many. I don't think I could count them. Movies, mini-series, tv series, Robin Hood themed episodes of non-Robin Hood television shows (like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Time Tunnel, etc.), Robin Hood in Ivanhoe, books...
What is your favorite version of Robin Hood (can be book, movie, TV series, anything)?
I have different favorites for different things. I'll say up front that I think the 1938 Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn is the best version. It's everything a Robin Hood story should be, and nothing has ever quite touched it. But while I think it's the best version, it's not necessarily my favorite version. My personal favorite Robin Hood character is Stuart Wilson's version in Princess of Thieves (2001). He's older, not necessarily wiser, but embodies all the attributes I want out of a Robin Hood. He's noble and rough, snarky in the face of danger, has a nice combo of protective love and bitterness, and is still capable of changing. Princess of Thieves also has my favorite Will Scarlett, portrayed by Crispin Letts. I'm also quite fond of Cary Elwes in Men in Tights, even though I'm not particularly fond of the movie itself. My favorite Sheriff (to date) was a book version, De Lacy, who I believe is in the Richard Todd Disney Robin Hood, but I haven't actually seen it, only read it, so I don't know that the movie version will measure up to the book, even if it's based of him (if that makes any sense). I'm also fond of Robert Shaw's Sheriff in Robin and Marian, only that movie scarred me when I was young and I'm still haunted by a few moments from it, so I have not seen it since. Favorite Guy of Gisborne would be Richard Armitage's version, naturally, from the BBC series.
The one character I don't think I can pick a favorite of, would be Prince John. Prince John seems to be quite good in all versions. I might just love Peter Ustinov's lion version in the animated movie the best. But Ralph Brown in the 1997 Ivanhoe miniseries, Toby Stephens in the BBC miniseries, and Oscar Isaac in the 2010 Robin Hood are right up there as well.
My favorite scores are Korngold's Adventures of Robin Hood and Michael Kamen's "and the score turns black with notes" Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. (That's one of favorite composer quotes, from a making of video that played back on television when that movie came out. Never forgotten it.)
Are you one of the lads? (Meaning, have you watched/are you a fan of the BBC show?)
Yes, I'm a fan of the show. I'm backwards to most fans, though... the third season is by far my favorite season, followed by the first season, and then the second season.
Who is your favorite Merry Man?
I'm going to have to go with Robin himself. He's the reason I'm a fan of the stories. The other merry men come and go depending on the version. And if I don't like the Robin... I'm probably not going to stick around very long.
Do you have a favorite portrayal of Lady Marian?
Olivia de Havilland from The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). She is perfect.
Do you have any interest in or aptitude at archery?
I used to do a lot of archery in my high school days. My mom had several bows and a whole quiver of practice arrows, so we'd set up hay bales and targets and shoot away. I also got to do archery in high school as a P.E. course. I was pretty good at it.
Fact or fiction -- which do you think?
A bit of both.
Do you think Robin Hood has been "done to death," or are there still
new twists that can be found?
Oh, not overdone. Not at all. Not remotely. Are you kidding? I am anxiously looking forward to the next version, coming out next year, cuz Ben Mendelsohn is the Sheriff. I don't care who else is in it, that's a version I'm sooooo looking forward to. When the Russell Crowe version was announced, he was originally supposed to be the Sheriff in that. And I was super excited. Super duper. And then they changed it and made him Robin Hood, and all my joy evaporated. Now don't get me wrong, he makes a good Robin Hood, but it would have been different and far more interesting if he'd gotten to play the Sheriff instead. Well, guess I just needed to be patient and hang in there, cuz now I'll get a Sheriff I really want to see.