Cartoon Brew points out that Disney's animated Robin Hood will be released on a special edition DVD on November 28.
This was the last animated feature that my background-artist father worked on from start to finish. The first time I saw it was in a third-floor sweat box in the old animation building, watching it back-to-back with "The Rescuers" (on assignment from Woolie Reitherman.)
What struck me back in 1977 was how involving and funny The Rescuers was, and how...well, lacklustre Robin Hood seemed to be. So I was stunned when, sometime later, I asked Ollie Johnston what his favorite animated feature was and he answered "Robin Hood." He explained it was his favorite because, he liked the characters he animated and particularly liked what he accomplished with the animation.
Which just shows to go you that, as story artists are mostly focused on sequences, acts and story arcs, animators are often paying more attention to scenes and moments through which their character is going than anything else. Oh yeah. And does the acting work?
I was working with Ken Anderson when I viewed RH, and remember seeing some of Ken's drawings for Robin and Little John that he still had up in his office. I was particularly intrigued with a long drawing of the leads surrounded by Robin's band of "Merry Men," which in this case was rabbits, squirrels, turtles, and a raccoon or two. Little of this group had found its way into the finished film, and I wondered why. Vance Gerry clued me in:
"Oh yeah, Ken did a lot of development on the outlaw band, drew lots of different animals in different kinds of costumes, nice stuff. But 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' came out while we were developing 'Robin Hood', and Woolie decided to push it in the direction of a 'buddy picture' like 'Butch Cassidy.' Which he did."
So there it is, for better or worse. I know some people who like Robin Hood quite a lot. I'm just not one of them. I recommend the '38 version. Or even the picture that Douglas Fairbanks made. Either will give you Mr. Hood straight up. (Of course, you won't get Andy Devine, but you can't have everything.)