Disney is celebrating the 40th anniversary of one of its most beloved animated musicals with a gorgeous new Blu-Ray. It is based on the classic Robin Hood story of the man who robbed from the rich to give to the poor in 12th century England. It has cute cartoon animals playing all of the roles, a talented voice cast, and singable songs from down home country singer Roger Miller.
The story is narrated by Moore as Merry Men minstrel Alan-a-Dale, a rooster. Wicked but immature Prince John is trying to steal the crown from his brother, brave King Richard (both lions voiced by Peter Ustinov). He is backed by Sir Hiss (Terry-Thomas as a gap-toothed snake). In this version of the story, Sir Hiss hypnotizes the king to get him to leave England and fight in the Crusades. With Richard gone, John abuses the populace, imposing harsh taxes. Robin (Brian Bedford as a fox) is a nobleman who fights to protect the community, stealing back the money that has been stolen from them by Prince John. Kids will especially enjoy the antics of Prince John, who reverts to babyhood and sucks his thumb when he is under pressure.
The rest of the cast includes the distinctive voices of Phil Harris (Baloo from “The Jungle Book”) as Little John, a bear, Monica Evans as Maid Marion (a vixen), John Fiedler (voice of Pooh) as a mouse innkeeper, and Andy Devine as Friar Tuck (a badger), and in addition to Miller’s songs “Ooo De Lally,” “Whistle Stop,” and “Not in Notingham,” there is a Johnny Mercer tune, “The Phony King of England.”
I have one copy to give away! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Robin” in the subject line and tell me your favorite version of this story. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only) I will pick a winner at random on August 12. Good luck!
Parents should know that there is some mild peril and slapstick in this film.
Family discussion: Why were brothers John and Richard so different? Why is Robin Hood remembered as a hero? Who is most like Robin Hood today?
If you like this, try: “The Adventures of Robin Hood” with Errol Flynn and Disney animation classics like “Pinocchio” and “Peter Pan”