Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: 8 November 1973

As Alan-A-Dale (voiced by country music singer/lyricist Roger Miller) explains at the start of the film, he (a rooster) and his fellow animals had gotten together to portray the story of famous outlaw Robin Hood.

Robin and Maid Marian are foxes, Little John is a bear (Phil Harris, in a very Baloo-ish role), and Prince John is a lion (Peter Ustinov). The parts were well represented by the chosen animals, and the voice acting continued to be excellent.

The story itself is rather straightforward. While King Richard the Lion-hearted is away on the Crusades, Robin Hood robs from the rich and gives to the poor. He does so to counter Richard's brother Prince John's best greedy efforts, and he succeeds through cunning, disguise, and rousing swordplay.

It's a solid, entertaining film -- nothing exceptional, but the comedy and action are more than enough to keep it interesting.

The music is adequate, but not nearly as good as that in The Jungle Book. The aforementioned Roger Miller, along with Johnny Mercer, Floyd Huddeston, and Disney stalwart George Bruns contributed to the soundtrack, with Phil Harris as vocalist on "The Phoney King of England".

Bruns and Huddleston got an Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Song, for the song "Love," a treacly tune that manages to slow the film's pace considerably. Sure, it helps establish the relationship between Robin and Marian, but it seems almost out of place in this film.

Not much else to say about this effort. Disney was in a time of much change -- their long-time animators were beginning to retire, Walt was no longer around, and lots of things remained uncertain. Although they still knew how to turn out an entertaining film, quality and box office receipts were starting to decline... a trend that would continue until 1989.

Information for the Disney Animated Features series of nodes comes from the IMDb (www.imdb.com), Frank's Disney Page (http://www.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~fp/Disney/), and the dark recesses of my own memory.