Plot: Robin (Robert Clarke) has lived in the forest as a wanted man for as long as he can remember, taken there as a child after his father was murdered in cold blood over a tax dispute. Now the land suffers under the oppressive thumb of its rulers, the same men Robin’s father swore to battle against, as they sought to impose heavy taxes, seize land, and mistreat the citizens. While those in power have continued their cruel ways, Robin has launched a small, but effective resistance and managed to make some impact on the situation. He robs the rich and powerful who pass through Sherwood Forest, using the taken loot to help support those in need. As word of his rebellion spread, men began to seek him out to join his ranks and battle against the tyrants. But a plan has been hatched to not only lure Robin out of the woods, but capture him in the process. Will Robin detect the trap or will he finally be brought to justice?
Entertainment Value: This was designed as a television production, so it has a short duration of around an hour and packs a lot into that run time. Tales of Robin Hood tells the story of Robin from the start and guides us through most of the legend’s content, so it wastes little time. The movie looks on the cheap side, but makes use of some existing sets from another production, which helps bolster the atmosphere. Even so, you can tell the resources were quite limited and Tales of Robin Hood isn’t able to deliver the kind of environments the legend deserves. This holds true of most of the production design elements, which look decent, but not great. The pace is brisk, thanks to the short run and while most of the usual narrative beats are hit, there’s not a wealth of action here. I would liked more sword fights or chases, a little extra action to make the story feel more expansive. The movie is never slow and keeps your attention for the most part, but could use a little kick here and there.
The cast here is colorful and most are good matches for the roles, with looks that are close to the usual casting choices for the parts. I don’t think the acting is that great, as it feels very rehearsed and like a stage play more than a movie, but most have good energy levels and that helps. Robert Clarke is a highlight and he does quite well, with solid charm and charisma, which the role requires. Not the best Robin Hood, but a good one and he elevates the entire picture here. I also enjoyed Wade Crosby as Little John, as he had the lovable oaf persona down pat and was fun to watch. He and Clarke had a good banter as well, which is another big positive for this one. After those two, the quality drops somewhat, but I think the performances overall are passable. I think this is an interesting curio for fans of the Robin Hood legend, as it is a little seen television effort that offers some solid entertainment.