Robin and the 7 Hoods (NTSC) (1964) (NTSC)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 17-Apr-2002

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio
Listing-Cast & Crew
Audio Commentary-Frank Sinatra, Jr.
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-What They Did To Robin Hood
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 122:57
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (62:29) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,3,4 Directed By Gordon Douglas
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Frank Sinatra
Dean Martin
Bing Crosby
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Peter Falk
Barbara Rush
Victor Buono
Hank Henry
Robert Faulk
Allen Jenkins
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Nelson Riddle


Video (NTSC) Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
Portuguese
Japanese
Chinese
Thai
Korean
Smoking Yes, lots of cigars
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I want to tell you that this is a fabulous movie. It has everything going for it - great cast, excellent composer and lyricist, experienced director... The video quality on this DVD is really good, too. But I have a problem - the movie just feels less than it might have been. The commentary explains why this happened - a couple of minor disturbances interfered with the making of this movie: the assassination of JFK, and the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra's son. Given that Sinatra was a lead in the movie, and the movie's producer, that had to distract things more than a little. I guess we can understand the below-normal performances of the stars.

    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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Track Listing

1. All for One
2. Any Man Who Loves His Mother
3. Bang! Bang!
4. Style
5. Charlotte Couldn't Charleston
6. Mr Booze
7. Don't Be a Do-badder
8. My Kind of Town (Chicago)

Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static with music.

Cast and Crew

    A list of the major players - a single page.

Featurette - What They Did To Robin Hood (6:34)

    This short featurette was made as a promotional piece at the time of the movie's making. Interesting, but unlikely to demand repeated viewing.

Audio Commentary - Frank Sinatra, Jr.

    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.

Trailer (3:28)

    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.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Friday, March 08, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE