The Adventures of Robin Hood: Premium Collection Blu-ray review

When Richard the Lionheart is taken captive on his way back to England from fighting in the Holy Land, his duplicitous brother Prince John (Claude Rains) usurps the throne and begins oppressing the Saxon populace through a combination of high taxes and violence. But Prince John hadn't counted on Saxon nobleman Sir Robin of Locksley (Errol Flynn), who gathers together a band of like-minded outlaws dedicated to opposing the royal rotter.

Helmed by Michael Curtiz (replacing original director William Keighley), this classic adventure movie finds Errol Flynn at his swashbuckling best, leaping into action at the drop of a hat, pausing only to put his hands on his hips while throwing his head back to laugh. The supporting cast is no slouch either: Rains and Basil Rathbone (Sir Guy of Gisbourne) make for deliciously hissable villains, while Olivia de Havilland is a spirited Maid Marian.

Picture: It may be nothing more than a direct port of the Blu-ray that hit the US almost nine years ago(!), but this long-awaited UK outing for The Adventures of Robin Hood still looks terrific. There's a clarity and stability to the 1.37:1 imagery that speaks volumes for the amount of work that Warner Bros. put into restoring the film, while the Technicolor palette has a richness and vibrancy that few other movies can match. Meanwhile, grain is finely resolved and gives the digital image an authentic film-like appearance.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

Audio: There are no fancy surround sound remixes here. Instead Warner Bros. opts for a lossy Dolby Digital presentation of the film's original mono soundtrack. While this does a perfectly serviceable job with the dialogue and music, it ultimately feels a little bright and thin, leaving us wondering how it could have been improved by the added depth and range of a lossless incarnation.
Audio rating: 3.5

Extras: There's a mountain of goodies for film fans to get stuck into. These vary from an audio commentary by film historian Rudy Belmer, to a 'Warner Night at the Movies' viewing mode that harks back to the original cinema release by playing a vintage trailer, newsreel, musical short and Merrie Melodies cartoon alongside the film. Fun.

Other treats include two Robin Hood-themed Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck cartoons (restored in 1080p); home movie footage shot during the production; an audio-only presentation of the entire score; and an hour-long documentary about the history of Technicolor. The Blu-ray also comes bundled with four exclusive art cards.
Extras rating: 5/5

We say: Another cracking catalogue release from Warner Bros. Keep 'em coming...

The Adventures of Robin Hood: Premium Collection, Warner Bros. All-region BD & R2 DVD, £15 (HMV exclusive)