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To Have And To Hold review

A welcome modern airing for this 1938 buck-swashler, as Errol Flynn steps into the tights of legendary outlaw Robin of Locksley (later the Hood), robbing the rich to give to the poor, wooing beautiful Maid Marian (Olivia De Havilland) with his dashing charm and thwarting greedy throne-grabber Prince John (Claude Rains). Veteran hero Flynn wears the character of the rogue like a second skin, the principal player in a sweeping production that's high on excessive Technicolor pageantry and full of excitement.

The movie was originally slated as a James Cagney project, but he quit the Warner Bros studio and the part passed to taut-trouser expert Flynn. Both Michael Curtiz and William Keighley are credited with directorial duties, despite the former replacing the latter to re-shoot the action sequences. But the seams don't show, and it remains both funny and innovative (for greater realism, padded stuntmen were paid $150 per arrow to be shot by a professional archer). A satisfying, spectacular classic.

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