Picks and Pans Review: Robin Hood
When Disney animations are good (Fantasia, Snow White), they are very, very good. This 1973 rerelease, however, is not good. To give most of the major Robin Hood characters a rural Southern twang hardly seems to fit the myth of a lapsed British aristocrat who steals from the rich to give to the poor. Roger (Dang Me) Miller plays the rooster narrator, for instance. Andy (Wild Bill Hick-ok) Devine is the badger Friar Tuck, and Pat (Green Acres) Buttram is the wolfish Sheriff of Nottingham. More in keeping with the tale's spirit, the tyrannous Prince John, an insecure lion, is given voice by Peter Ustinov, and his flunky, the serpent Sir Hiss, gets his sibilants from Terry-Thomas. Robin is a fox, with Brian Bedford's voice, and his love for Maid Marian (Monica Evans as a vixen) is merely cloying. The entire effort, down to the too-static animation, is diffident. But the Disney approach is so comforting it can carry even mediocre material, and children too young to have seen this film in its first release may enjoy it in spite of its shortcomings. (G)
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