The secrets of Sherwood Forest will be revealed Sunday at the TCM Classic Film Festival's "Academy Conversations: The Adventures of Robin Hood.”
Oscar-winning sound designer, editor and mixer Ben Burtt ( “Star Wars,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”) and Oscar-winning visual-effects supervisor Craig Barron (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) will be presenting newly discovered stills, recordings and outtakes to illustrate how Warner Bros.’ landmark 1938 Technicolor adventure was brought to life.
After the presentation Sunday morning at the Egyptian Theatre, a digitally restored print of “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” directed by William Keighley and Michael Curtiz, and starring Errol Flynn as Robin Hood, Olivia de Havilland as Maid Marian, Claude Rains as Prince John and Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy, will be screened.
“Robin Hood,” which won Oscars for Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s score, as well as for editing and art direction, initially was supposed to star James Cagney. But when Cagney walked out on his contract at Warner Bros. the film was recast with the popular screen team of Flynn and De Havilland. “Robin Hood” was the first Technicolor feature for the studio -- best known for its scrappy, hard-boiled gangster films.
Burtt and Barron have done similar presentations on such classic films as “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) and “Forbidden Planet” (1956).
"So far audiences seem to be coming," said Barron.
Barron noted that he and Burtt “came from the roots of the ‘Star Wars’ generation and worked on films like the ‘Star Wars' and Indiana Jones series. We also have this love for classic movies. Sometimes we get rather obsessed. So we research classic movies that inspired us in our own careers and look to how they were made, who were some of the people in the trenches who contributed artistically to the success of their movies. Their story isn’t often told."
“Since ‘Robin Hood’ is a beloved film and a lot has been published already, we strive to find things that haven’t been talked about or known before,” said Burtt, revealing they’ve located a “good collection” of rare behind-the-scenes stills for the program.
Burtt plans to discuss Oscar-winning film editor Ralph Dawson’s contributions -- especially in the climactic sword fight between Robin and Sir Guy -- and reveal how Burtt's favorite sound effect, “the Robin Hood arrow," was created. “It was a very special sound that inspired me,” said Burtt. “We are going to talk about that story, play recordings and explain how it was done.”
“What’s interesting about this stage of classic Hollywood is that Hollywood is making films that took place all over the world,” said Barron. “But they are making them in Los Angeles. So how do you do that? How do you make a film that takes place in a different era, time and location within the construct of a sound stage?
“'Robin Hood' represents a high point of adventure, screenplay, cinematography and casting. It all came together. This was a big epic adventure film. Warner Bros. pulled out all the stops.”
Added Burtt: “Of course, they went over budget. We’ll talk about that too.”