#113 The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Errol Flynn is back in yet another swashbuckling role. This role is what defined his Hollywood career as Robin Hood. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is when the brother of the king plans to overthrow the throne in his absence, Robin Hood and his army plan to stop him as well as capture the heart of Lady Marian.

Prince John steals the throne from his brother, King Richard, and nobleman Robin Hood decides to stop him by recruiting an army to steal from the rich to give to the poor. What do you think about that? Do you find doing that right or wrong? This technicolor film involves the dashing, heroic Errol Flynn shooting many arrows, swooning the ladies, and very handy with a sword. We would see many plots like this in the future for films like Star Wars where the lower class outsiders would go against the powerful

Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland (who is 101!) still have the best chemistry with each other. Considering this is their third film together, they better! Just like in Captain Blood, this would be another romance that starts in two people who misunderstand each other to eventually falling into each other’s arms. It’s hard to believe that James Cagney was about to take on the roll. I don’t think I can picture him with an arrow instead of a gun:) This film had a $2 million budget which was the most expensive Warner Brothers film at the time. The Adventures of Robin Hood brought back swashbuckling from the silent film era and helped become one of the best action-adventure films. It won the Academy Award for Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score but lost Best Picture to You Can’t Take it With You. There would be many film adaptations and film series to follow of Robin Hood. Love romance, sword play, good vs. evil, and action/adventure? Here’s the film for you!

Here is a copy of the Errol Flynn classic and please comment what you think:


#112 Jezebel (1938)

Introducing the first Bette Davis feature film on our list and the first big movie for the actress herself! William Wyler’s Jezebel is about a 19th century Southern woman who ruins it with the man she loves and stops at nothing to win him back.

So picture this film as the original black and white version of Gone with the Wind. Bette Davis plays powerhouse woman Julie in love with her boyfriend but ruins it all when she decides to wear a red dress to an elegant ball instead of white like all of the other women. People of today might see this as overdramatic to break up with someone over the disapproval of a dress but see it as a feminist move on her part. She doesn’t want to conform like everyone else at the ball and be resorted to wearing the safe color of white. Red is still considered to be very sexy. Then again, she should have known that he would be PO’d about that. Other than this film taking place in the antebellum South, what this film also has in common with Gone with the Wind is seeing the female lead go to desperate lengths after someone that she can never have.

While there was a lot of drama that took place in the film such as feuds, jealousy, and an epidemic to top it all off, there was plenty of drama off-set too. For example, Bette Davis and director William Wyler had a steamy affair. Bette Davis was still married at the time to Harmon Nelson even though her marriage to him was shattering. She was even pregnant with Wyler’s baby at the end of shooting before she got an abortion. When shooting was over, so was their affair. Davis would always call Wyler the greatest love that she had. It broke her heart when he moved on with Margaret Tallichet. I guess it looks like Davis knew how it felt to be with someone she couldn’t have as well. Have you ever been in that situation before? This film gave Bette Davis her second Academy Award for Best Actress and the film also won Best Supporting Actress for Fay Bainter. A good melodrama to see and important to see for those who are a fan of Gone with the Wind.

Unfortunately, I could not find the film online but here is a trailer and feel free to comment on what you see:

#111 The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

This next film was not only a Best Picture winner of 1937 but the second film of the Biography genre to win Best Picture with the first being The Great Ziegfeld. The Life of Emile Zola is the true story of a French author who decides to defend a Jewish army officer accused of being a spy.

French author Emile Zola lives a comfortable life as a successful author as he teaches readers that life is not 100% beautiful in gay old Paris. As his books become a success, it seems that Zola is living the life. Then a little drama kicks in when the wife of an Army officer asks Zola to help her husband, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, who is facing anti-semitic charges against him. It is interesting how the title of this film is not called “Emile Zola and the Dreyfus Affair” considering when I first think of the title, I think it will start out with Zola as a young boy with a sharp focus on his start in writing. The film considers the most pivotal moment of Emile Zola’s life to be when he defended this man that the police knew was innocent but still wanted him put away. We have seen Paul Muno, who plays Emile Zola himself, in I Am A Fugitive From a Chain Gang and Scarface. We know he can give heart-wrenching performances and it is easily demonstrated in this film; especially during the trial scene in which he gives his testimony towards Dreyfus. Muno kept wanting to do retakes of that scene despite nailing it on the first take. What a perfectionist! What did you think of that scene?

The Life of Emile Zola was the first film to receive ten nominations. It’s unfortunate that Paul Muno did not win Best Actor that year as he gave a tremendous performance. On the bright side, Joseph Schildkraut won Best Supporting Actor for the role of Dreyfus and the movie won Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Oh well! You can’t win ’em all like they say. Schildkraut was convinced that the Academy was not going to pay attention to The Life of Emile Zola so he stayed away from the ceremony. He got woken up to discover by an Academy representative that he was to accept his award and he made it in time! Way to go! This is a great film to see as we witness a man do a life-saving favor to a man without asking for anything in return and just how terribly hard it is to fight for justice. This was a great story to tell.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a link to this film so here is the trailer and please comment what you think: