HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Last of Robin Hood
HTS Overall Score:66
For once we’re getting a little peak into the lives of the men BEHIND the characters. Errol Flynn is most famous for being the quintessential “Robin Hood” of the 1930s. A dashing fellow of enormous good looks and a brashness that got him into trouble, he was the heart throb of the 30s and 40s and well into the 50s too it seems. Based off of the true story of his and Beverly Aadland’s scandalous romance in the 1950’s, “The Last of Robin Hood” tells the tale of how Errol, Beverly and her mother, Florence got involved and triggered one of the biggest Hollywood scandals of that time.
Beverly Aadland (Dakota Fanning) is a struggling actress trying to make a break in Hollywood. Walking on set one day she spied by Errol Flynn (Kevin Kline), who is instantly smitten with the young lady and invites her over for a private audition. Things progress at a rapid pace, and soon the two (despite a large age difference) form an intimate relationship. All is going smoothly until Errol’s driver recognizes Beverly from his local high school and breaks the news to the start that his girlfriend is under aged. This doesn’t seem to faze the dashing star in the slightest, who lives every day as if it was his last. Thus starts a while wind romance that takes Hollywood by storm.
Beverly’s mother knows of the romance, but doesn’t actively protest as she desperately is trying to push her daughter into the limelight and open her career for her. Errol does his best to put Beverly in the limelight, but the young girl just doesn’t have what it takes to make it in the big time. With Flynn fading from the limelight himself, things don’t look too good for the starlet. Beverly is happy just being with Flynn, even though she herself starts to see her eyes wander towards men of her own age. However, things get pushed to a head when Errol’s drug, alcohol and just plain LIFE abuse finally catches up with him. In 1959, just before their wedding, Errol passes away in her arms and then the truth comes to light. People start digging and it becomes real obvious real fast that Beverly’s age just doesn’t add up.
Florence Aadland (Susan Sarandon) gets Beverly taken away from her and sent away as a ward of the state and subsequently gets sent to jail herself for aiding in the delinquency of a minor. Florence is a piece of work in the film, as she is just OBSESSED with getting her daughter to the top. Her willful ignorance of the age difference as well as her blind eye to Errol’s very famous reputation is disturbing in and of itself, but Susan Sarandon really sells the character. Susan is very adept at playing cold and ruthless people, so watching her as the repugnant Florence Aadland is the high light of the film.
Unfortunately, Susan’s highlight is the most enjoyable piece of the movie. “The Last of Robin Hood” slogs along at a decent clip, but seems to lack any real focus or purpose in the narrative. Taken from Florence’s book “The Big Love” it glosses over much of the details and instead is content to just play the cliff notes version. We see the relationship between Errol and Beverly, but there is no in depth look at the characters. It skips from scene to scene to scene without any heart or wit to it. Errol is played very well by Kevin Kline, as he looks and sounds like the famous rake, eerily so in fact. Dakota Fanning plays the innocent and naïve Beverley Aadland with an almost dull and lifeless take, so that you have a hard time connecting with the poor girl. The film is decidedly tame and except for a few F bombs wouldn’t have received an R rating in the slightest, which surprised me considering the subject matter at hand. The best way of describing the movie is to say that they “played it safe”. Content with just the basic facts we don’t get to delve in deep with the subject and find out what made the couple tick, which is explained and dissected much better in the book. It’s a sad story, one that really pulls the heart strings, but the lack of any real heart to the actual film hampered that tale in a major way.
Rated R for some sexuality and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40706[/img]Holy brightness Batman! “The Last of Robin Hood” comes to DVD with an extremely brightened (artificially so) 1.78:1 MPEG2 encoded DVD that has been heavily stylized to fit in with the 1950’s motif. The brightness is cranked up to 11 and tends to wash out some of the detail of the picture as a side effect. Still, the image is rather well detailed and the washed out whites don’t detract too much. Colors are bright and cheery, giving way to those teals and golds and whites and oranges that most people associate with the 50s. Black levels are very solid and only show minimal washing out from the brightness increase and the disc itself seems to be free of any digital artifacting or compression issues. Facial colors and skin tones look magnificent and even though there appears to be some mild sharpening, it’s not in any way nugatory. A solid looking image from Universal.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40714[/img]The 5.1 Dolby Digital track is what you would expect from a drama. It’s a tad front heavy (although not as front heavy as one would expect) and the dialog is the center of attention. Vocals are crisp and clean with excellent clarity of tone. I never had to adjust the volume dial as the blending was excellent with precision on both the score and the dialog. Surrounds are a bit more active than expected, with the sounds of the set and music coming through with equal aplomb. Back ground sounds like a slamming door, or the ring of a telephone come through with pinpoint precision giving a nice sense of ambiance and immersion for the track. LFE levels are mild, but constant, adding a very nice low end to the experience. It’s not an action track, but it does quite well with the mains oriented mixing that it was given.
“The Last of Robin Hood” is kind of a strange film. Based on a very true story, it sticks close to many of the facts, but somehow doesn't manage to create a compelling story. The meandering pace and the lack of depth gone into the characters hampers it from being a good movie, albeit it was mildly interesting. The true story of Beverly, written from her mother’s point of view, is actually a whole lot more interesting, as is Errol Flynn’s book “My Wicked Wicked Ways”. The disc itself is encoded quite nicely for both audio and video, but the complete lack of extras is a bit disappointing (although the Blu-ray doesn't fare any better in the extras department). It’s not a bad rental if you’re mildly interested in the Errol Flynn scandal, but not one I’d go out and purchase forthwith.
Starring: Kevin Kline, Susan Sarandon, Dakota Fanning
Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Written By: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, Brazilian, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai DD 5.1
Runtime: 94 Minutes
DVD Release Date: February 3rd, 2015
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