Is there anything more enervating than a swashbuckler without the swash and a hero more reminiscent of a tax accountant than a legendary crusading archer? A case in point is Barrie Ingham’s dull appearance (equipped with anachronistic 1960’s British mod haircut) as that most rambunctious of English legends, Robin Hood, in a film so wrongheaded that when his united band of men (here appearing more meandering than merry) decide on costuming to blend in with the splendor of Sherwood Forest, Robin continues to wear a red outfit (and not Will Scarlett?) which would be noticeable by Stevie Wonder at a thousand paces. This inattention to the most obvious details was possibly palmed off as revisionism but can be more accurately summed up as sleepwalking through a frustratingly ho-hum assembly line production. There are variables as to past renderings of the Robin Hood mythology- Friar Tuck, Maid Marian, Sheriff of Nottingham, et al. -but rather than building on what has already been enacted ad infinitum, “A Challenge for Robin Hood” grinds along doubly saddled with a stiff-necked parcel of rogues comprised of the most tepidly stilted, uncharismatic and unromantic cast imaginable- the chasteness of the enterprise is such that the characters might have all been sprayed with Lysol before the cameras began rolling -whose lack of dramatic success could only be equaled by a staged reading of the script by the McLaughlin Group.
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