Enid Bennett, Douglas Fairbanks, Robin Hood
Long before Errol Flynn, Russell Crowe, and Kevin Costner – and their Men in Tights – there was Douglas Fairbanks and his Men in Tights. Robin Hood, a.k.a. Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood will be screening tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The Robin Hood screening is part of the Academy’s “Summer of Silents” series, which features winners of the Photoplay Medal of Honor for Best Picture of the year, as chosen by the magazine’s readership. In the case of Robin Hood, the year was 1922.
Financed by Douglas Fairbanks himself, Robin Hood was the actor-producer’s biggest box office hit. Though hardly on a par with the Errol Flynn version of the legend, this Allan Dwan-directed historical romp looks appropriately grandiose; as explained in Jeffrey Vance’s Douglas Fairbanks, the film’s sets were the largest ever built for a Hollywood production. Not one to let huge sets dwarf him, Fairbanks is his usual bouncing self; Enid Bennett, however, is merely a round-faced Lady Marian – a highly capable dramatic actress, Bennett doesn’t have much to do in this one.
Also in the Robin Hood cast: future Oscar winner Wallace Beery as Richard the Lion-hearted; Willard Louis as Friar Tuck; and Alan Hale as Little John, a role he would reprise in Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s The Adventures of Robin Hood sixteen years later.
A newly restored 35mm tinted print from the Museum of Modern Art will be screened with live musical accompaniment by Clark Wilson on an Allen Theatre Organ. Jeffrey Vance will introduce the feature.
Robin Hood will be preceded by Charles Chaplin’s Pay Day (1922) at 7 p.m.
Tickets to individual evenings also are on sale now. Tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with valid ID. They may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.
Photo: Courtesy of AMPAS