April 24, 2009

Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law!

“For the good of all men, and the love of one woman, he fought to uphold justice by breaking the law.” Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, released in 1991, must have one of the clunkiest taglines of all time, striving, with all the subtle artistry of an ABI press release, to combine idealism, romance, adventure and paradox in a single snappy phrase.

Delivering his lines, as one critic put it, as if woken by a phone call at home in LA, Kevin Costner makes a dull and earnest Robin Hood. The film, however, is at least partially redeemed by Alan Rickman’s storming performance as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Morgan Freeman’s turn as Hood’s Moorish sidekick Aseem.

Most of the outdoor scenes were filmed at Burnham Beeches in semi-suburban home county Bucks, conveniently close to Pinewood Studios, but Hood’s quarterstaff combat with Little John was shot at Yorkshire beauty spot Aysgarth Falls, the second stop on Monkey Movie Star’s recently confirmed clockwise tour of Yorkshire’s finest film locations.

Above the tumbling waters of the falls Hood confronts Little John (played by Nick Brimble who recently appeared in 27 episodes of Yorkshire soap Emerdale as Terence Turner, trivia fans) aided and abetted by assorted woodsmen such as “Max the miller’s son” (sic) and Will Scarlet, in which role Christian Slater scooped a Worst Supporting Actor award to go with Costner’s Worst Actor.

Accompanied by much ribald banter, John bests Hood twice over before succumbing to a questionably legal move when surprised by a submerged Hood, landed a thudding staff blow to the tenders and threatened with drowning in the turbid broiling waters. The scene’s final ironic denouement goes as follows:

ROBIN: Do you yield?

The terrified giant sputters. Goes under again, flailing
with arms and legs. Robin holds his head just above the
surface.

ROBIN: Do you yield?

LITTLE JOHN: Yes!

ROBIN: Good. Now put your feet down.

John struggles, then his feet hit bottom… The water
only reaches his chest.

LITTLE JOHN: I’ll be buggered.

Bankstone’s monkeybikers will be re-enacting this immortal scene ‚ so far as is practically possible without leaving the river bank, hitting each other with big sticks, or generally buggering about ‚ before “speeding” off to Thirsk’s “All Creatures Great and Small” Herriot House to the East.



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