Film moments #21: Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)

You watch Ridley Scott’s version of Robin Hood and it turns out to be a gateway drug to Mel Brooks’ Robin Hood: Men in Tights.  It’s a genre spoof, like Blazing Saddles, which gets a nod here. The Producers, it ain’t. What that means in practice is lots of gags that were of the moment, along with the hopelessly anachronistic (the Godfather is hired to arrange Robin’s assasination), but it does hit all of the correct mythical moments.

We get Robin earning his spurs with the merry men, the daring escape from the castle, the archery competition, Marian, King Richard’s return (Patrick Stewart gets to do his Sean Connery impersonation.) In other words, it is a kind of bastard child of the Prince of Thieves, as evinced by Robin’s black sidekick–no, I’m not going to get into that argument here–and also Errol Flynn’s Adventures of Robin Hood.

Anyway, the moment. I’ve talked in one of the other Moments about exposition, and Men in Tights does a neat job of getting people up to speed with the Robin Hood story. First, there’s a musical version, immediately after the credits, telling the tale in a (mostly) hiphop style:

Prince John and the Sherriff, they were running the show

Raising the taxes because they needed the dough…

The second is when the Sherriff of Rottingham has to break the news to Bad King John that Robin is back from the Crusades. The screenwriters’ trick? John only likes to hear good news.


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