Robin Hood (again)

Back in the 1960s when I was… well, when I was – my older brother and I would spend every Saturday morning in the local ABC cinema as proud members of the ABC minors’ club. We’d dash eagerly up the high road and queue patiently outside. Each session started with the club’s song, sung to the tune of Abe Holzmann’s Blaze Away, played on the cinema’s organ (every cinema worth its name had one in those days). You can hear the authentic sound of the tune here. The lyrics flashed up on the screen and a red bouncing ball indicated what we should be singing. I can still remember the tune and the words: ‘We are the boys and girls well known as/Minors of the ABC/And every Saturday we line up/To see the films we like/And shout aloud with glee/We love to laugh and have a singsong/Such a happy crowd are we/We’re all pals together/The minors of the ABC!’ Pure, innocent bliss. Then came the movies: The Lone Ranger, Casey Jones, The Alamo, Tarzan, Lassie and, somewhere in there, Robin Hood. This evening we saw the latest version. Mmmm….  What a mish-mash; from references to Shakespeare’s Henry V (the king anonymously out among his troops on the eve of the siege of a French castle) through to 1066 (rainstorms of arrows) and Saving Private Ryan (the mayhem and massacre of landing craft on well protected shallow beaches). Pace what I have written in previous posts, this one is not a lazy way to learn your history. But it’s good enough entertainment, I suppose – including Russell Crowe’s comic accent. There are few highlights in the script (‘My grief has been waiting for this moment’ was the only one I noted), but it chugs along and, with one disastrous exception (a pub joke based on a misunderstanding between ‘one knight’ and ‘one night’) pretty much avoids attempts at humour. With great brass neck it already announces the sequel (‘the legend begins’). But the 1960s boy in me judges all Robin Hood films by my 1960s memories, and so they are all, I suppose, doomed to fail: ‘Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen/Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men/Feared by the bad, loved by the good/Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood…’ If you listen carefully, you might just pick out my voice here.

1 Comment

  1. Nigel Clarke

    Edwin Astley (1922 – 1998) was the composer of the famous Robin Hood theme & song from `The Adventures of Robin Hood’ (75 episodes 1955-1957), he also wrote the music to other iconic tv programmes such as `The Saint’ starring Sir Roger Moore, `Randall and Hopkirk Deceased’ and `The Champoins’. Every episode of `The Adventures of Robin Hood’ had a specially composed score by Astley!!

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