Sword of Sherwood Forest is directed by Terence Fisher, who made the classic Hammer horror movies The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula, both of which revived the genre in the late Fifties.
Fisher had directed a number of episodes of The Adventures of Robin Hood between 1955 and 1958, took a worthwhile break from fantastique films to make this highly-enjoyable version of the Robin Hood legend which brought Richard Greene, star of the television series, to reprise his swashbuckling leading role on the cinema screen.
Alan Hackney’s breezy screenplay finds Robin rescuing a wounded stranger from a hireling of the Sheriff of Nottingham (Peter Cushing), before being forced to break camp when one of his men is tortured into revealing the location of Hood’s hiding place in Sherwood. Robin goes undercover and is employed by the Earl of Newark (Richard Pasco) whom he discovers is in league with the Sheriff and plans to murder the Archbishop of Canterbury (Jack Gwillim), who is visiting the district. The Archbishop and Maid Marian (Sarah Branch) who is travelling with him, escape an ambush and take refuge in a priory – but are given away by the evil Prioress (Vanda Godsell)…
Fisher’s career as an editor stood him in excellent stead in helping to create and sustain a brisk narrative pace, and he ingeniously used the framework of a period swashbuckler not only as a fast-paced action piece but also, more interestingly perhaps, as a sharp and revealing study of the characters of Hood and his antagonists, thus making their battle of wills at least as interesting as the exciting battle scenes and the vigorously-staged chase which opens the film.
UK / 1961
Director: Terence Fisher
Writer: Alan Hackney
Cast: Richard Greene, Peter Cushing, Richard Pasco, Sarah Branch, Niall McGinnis