Had he never made another film, Errol Flynn would still be remembered today for his spirited, pitch–perfect performance in Michael Curtiz and William Keighley’s The Adventures of Robin Hood. As critic David Thomson has written, “Flynn does not deal in depth, but he has a freshness, a galvanizing energy, a cheerful gaiety (in the old sense) made to inspire boys.” It was Curtiz who took Flynn and molded him into a swashbuckler; the two worked together on eleven films between 1935 and 1941, virtually all of which cast the star as a suave and fearless action hero. These are the roles for which Flynn is best remembered, and none is as near flawless as his Robin of Locksley. With Olivia de Haviland as Maid Marian (the third of her seven films with Flynn), glorious Technicolor photography by Tony Gaudio, Sol Polito, and W. Howard Green, a stirring musical score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and performances by some of Hollywood’s finest supporting players—including Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Patric Knowles, Alan Hale, Eugene Pallette, and Una O’Connor, The Adventures of Robin Hood survives as one of the finest examples of pure entertainment to emerge from the Hollywood studio system.
Publication excerpt from In Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of the Museum of Modern Art by Steven Higgins, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 172.