Robin and the 7 Hoods (NTSC) (1964) (NTSC)
Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-What They Did To Robin Hood
|Year Of Production||1964|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (62:29)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,3,4||Directed By||Gordon Douglas|
Warner Home Video
Sammy Davis, Jr.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||480i (NTSC)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Smoking||Yes, lots of cigars|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
The cast is impressive: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Peter Falk were the faces I recognised immediately. The songs are by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, while the music comes from Nelson Riddle - you'd expect something special, and it's not surprising that we recognise some of the songs even today: My Kind of Town was part of Sinatra's repertoire from this movie to the end of his career. The delightful Style (You Either Got or You Haven't Got) is a classic dance number, and when performed by Sinatra, Martin, and Crosby, it takes on a special charm. While talking about that number, I was amused to note that Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby wore double-breasted dinner suits, while Dean Martin's was single-breasted - I wonder why?
The setting is Chicago during the height of the gangster era. The scriptwriter (David R. Schwartz) had fun with his references to "hoods" (gangsters) and Robin Hood, although he never did justify the "7". The old boss of Chicago, Big Jim (a cameo by Edward G. Robinson), has just been killed, and Guy Gisborne (a young Peter Falk) is amalgamating all the gangs into one, with protection being paid to him. The only hold-out is Robbo (Frank Sinatra). Robbo's gang includes some familiar names: Will Scarlet (Sammy Davis, Jr.), Little John (Dean Martin), and eventually Allen A. Dale (Bing Crosby). They missed Friar Tuck, but I suspect they couldn't justify him. Some way into the movie we even get a Marian (Barbara Rush). There's no Sheriff of Nottingham, either, but we do get two sheriffs (called Glick and Potts).
Some of the songs are good, but some just don't work very well - the Bing Crosby number Don't Be A Do-Badder, for example, just doesn't come off. Peter Falk's song is pretty ordinary. The big number Mr Booze is a bit hit-and-miss.
The script has quite a few jokes in it, but not all of them are delivered properly. There are some jokes that aren't - the gangsters explaining Robin Hood to one another and getting it all wrong is not funny. The running gag about Allen A. Dale's overly sophisticated speech isn't funny either. There are other flaws in the script, too - worst of all, the ending is dreadful; seems like they decided to chop it off abruptly, and did as little as possible to tie everything up.
I did like a small in-joke - at one point one of Robbo's hoods offers Bing Crosby a chair, saying "here you are, Pops". That role is played by Phil Crosby, Bing's son...
Like I said: I want to tell you this is a fabulous movie. I can't. It just isn't that good.
|1. All for One|
2. Any Man Who Loves His Mother
3. Bang! Bang!
|5. Charlotte Couldn't Charleston|
6. Mr Booze
7. Don't Be a Do-badder
8. My Kind of Town (Chicago)
This disc is NTSC. If your system can't handle NTSC, then you'll have to skip this one, and that's a shame, because this is a beautiful video transfer.
The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the original theatrical ratio, and it is important that it is presented that way, because there are numerous scenes with actors placed on both sides of the frame.
The image is beautiful - sharp, with a touch of softness, just enough to avoid aliasing, but quite clear. There is no edge enhancement. Shadow detail is excellent and there is no low-level noise. It is hard to believe that the film is 38 years old - I've seen numerous current-day films that don't measure up to this quality.
Colour seems a little warm (skin tones seem a little orange, but perhaps that is a result of poor make-up), but it's perfectly acceptable. A few things seem miscoloured: the cueball on the pool table seems light yellow, for example. There's no over-saturation, and no colour bleed.
There is almost no trace of aliasing, and only a few moments of moire; Bing's striped shirt around 93:00 is the worst, and it isn't bad. The first time through this movie I didn't spot a single film artefact. The second time through, I spotted a few tiny artefacts, but none of them are particularly noticeable - look for the tiny blue fleck on the sofa at 112:13, and the small white blob on Peter Falk's face near his eyebrow at 112:15.
There are subtitles in English and six other languages. I hope the other subtitles are better than the English ones. They are nice and clear in white with black outline, but they are heavily abbreviated almost all of the time - few lines are rendered completely. Some lines are subtly changed in meaning through the abbreviation; other lines are omitted. This is one of the poorer subtitling jobs I've seen.
The disc is single-sided and RSDL-formatted. The layer change is at 62:29. It is in the middle of a scene, but everyone is stationary at the time, making the layer change quite difficult to spot - nice work.
There are two soundtracks, both of them in English Dolby Digital 1.0, indisputably mono. One is the film's soundtrack, the other is an audio commentary track.
Dialogue is easy to understand. Audio sync for the dialogue is fine. Audio sync for the songs, however, is quite variable - clearly lip-synced, but not as well as I'd expect for the calibre of the performers. There are some very unpleasant scratchy popping sounds at 63:41 and 63:44 on the commentary track, they do not appear on the regular soundtrack.
The Nelson Riddle score is excellent. The musical numbers are variable - some are very good, others aren't.
This is a mono soundtrack - your centre channel speaker will be carrying the whole load.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static with music.
A list of the major players - a single page.
This short featurette was made as a promotional piece at the time of the movie's making. Interesting, but unlikely to demand repeated viewing.
This is interesting: Frank Sinatra's son talking about the making of this film. He was present for quite a bit of shooting, and heard about much of the rest from some of the actors. He starts out somewhat apologetically - he seems determined to explain to us why the movie isn't the success it ought to be. There are numerous lengthy gaps in his commentary. He does describe a number of cuts made to the film to speed it up, and explains where a musical number was removed. All in all, this is an interesting commentary, but I've heard many better ones.
The kind of trailer that was more common in 1964: narrator over footage from the film. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
The Region 4 disc is missing:
The Region 1 disc is missing:
It sounds as if the R1 is just as good a transfer, and both discs are in NTSC, so there's really very little to choose between them; I guess it comes down to whether you want a French soundtrack or a particular language of subtitles.
This is a brilliant presentation on DVD of a disappointing movie. It is almost worth buying for the few sparkling moments, though.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is good - surprisingly so for a mono track.
The extras are good.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|