Nancy Adams – “Love”
For me, Disney’s animated adaptation of Robin Hood (Wolfgang Reitherman, 1973) is the definitive version of the legend, but it is widely documented that I am immature and impressionable.
If the love story between cartoon fox Robin Hood and cartoon vixen Maid Marian did not absolutely melt your young heart then we have nothing to offer each other and you are furthermore a robot who has not been programmed to know love.
Hoo! The lady would like to double down, Mr. Hood. Dag. This is a vixen with some serious brass balls.
Little John: You’re burning the chow!
Robin Hood: Sorry, Johnny. I guess I was thinking about Maid Marian again. I can’t help it. I love her, Johnny.
Little John: Look, why don’t you stop moaning and moping around? Just marry the girl.
Robin Hood: Marry her? You don’t just walk up to a girl, hand her a bouquet, and say, “Hey, remember me? We were kids together. Will you marry me?” It just isn’t done that way.
Little John: Aw, come on. Climb the castle walls. Sweep her off her feet. Carry her off in style!
Robin Hood: It’s no use, Johnny. I’ve thought it all out, and it just wouldn’t work. Besides, what have I got to offer her?
Little John: Well, for one thing, you can’t cook.
Robin Hood: I’m serious, Johnny. She’s a highborn lady of quality.
Little John: So she’s got class. So what?
Robin Hood: I’m an outlaw, that’s what. That’s no life for a lovely lady, always on the run. What kind of a future is that?
Friar Tuck: Oh, for heaven’s sake, son. You’re no outlaw. Why, someday, you’ll be called a great hero.
When ABC used to have that Disney Sunday Night movies segment, I recorded this on to a VHS. Around a year later, one of the other networks ran Sixteen Candles, which, being a dutifully Molly Ringwald-worshiping young woman of the 1980’s, I naturally recorded, carefully fast-forwarding through Robin Hood to the blank remainder of the tape. Some time later that Spring were the televised Grammy awards, which I also recorded, on to that same tape, at the request of my mother because she had some kind of a PTA meeting/Tupperware presentation/murky, boring grown-up shenanigan to attend and my mom is a big Grammy guy from Way Back. She is a fan of Awards Shows in general. My mother approves of an industry’s recognition of those within it who have displayed special talents. She is a kind lady like that.
I rewatched the videotape a few years ago, beginning with Robin Hood for my kidlet, then Sixteen Candles while she napped, then all the way through to the Grammys, mainly on fast-forward with a nostalgic half-smile at the 80’s fashions, and then suddenly I stopped in awe — as a-ha performed “Take On Me” in cramazing outfits of formal ruffled tuxes and the keyboardist in mad rad white gloves.
So, to recap this little anecdote: 1. Robin Hood. 2. Sixteen Candles. 3. a-ha dressed to kill and doing “Take On Me” live at the 1986 Grammy Awards.
Best VHS I own? I think so.
Prince John: My dear, emotional lady, why should I?
Marian: Because I love him, Your Highness.
Prince John: Love him? And does this prisoner return your love?
Robin Hood: Marian, my darling, I love you more than life itself.
Oh, Robin, you’re so brave and impetuous.
There really was a King Richard the Lionheart and a younger brother named Prince John with his eye on the throne. In fact, John staged a rebellion when his older brother ascended to the throne in 1189 but it was unsuccessful and resulted in him being generally unpopular in his brother’s court, where he was called “Lackland” (because he was not the inheritor) and “Softsword” (I hope this is only a reference to being shitty at rebellions and not a veiled mockery of impotence. that happens to lots of guys and it’s nobody’s fault).
Richard and John (along with their brothers Henry and Geoffrey, all of whom attempted at one time or another to take the throne from their father) were Plantagenets, the sons of Henry II and the infamously strong-willed Eleanor of Aquitaine. This is probably why the mere mention of his mother makes John go on a thumbsucking frenzy in the animated film. Her husband Henry had her imprisoned beginning in 1173 until his death. He basically said something like, “You can’t come out ’til you stop helping our sons try to depose me,” and, indeedy, she was not released until Henry II died in 1189. (cf: The Lion in Winter.)
Eleanor was the most powerful woman in the High Middle Ages, a real force to be reckoned with, and, unusually, all sources contemporaneous to her life agree that she was not only outstandingly beautiful, but not voluptuous or blonde as was the ideal at the time — she was able to pass herself off in drag as a man even in her fifties, at a time when ladies had some pretty serious hams. (I love that the words “hams” and “cans” can mean any body part on a woman and work.)
In reality, when Richard inherited the throne in 1189 and went gallivanting off to the Third Crusade, it was Eleanor, not bonny Prince Johnny, who stood in for him. She even went to Germany and negotiated Richard’s ransom. Following his brother’s death without an heir, John ruled from 1199 to 1216 and was supposedly so dreadful as a king that the English swore never again to have a king named John.
True to their word, they haven’t.
(However, I’d like to point out that John signed the Magna Carta, a document which was in many ways the forerunner of democratic rule, while Richard started an abominable straight-up pogrom in London that killed thousands. I’m just sayin’.)
Wes Anderson recently featured this song on the soundtrack to Fantastic Mr. Fox, which is probably an homage, because he probably really liked this movie when he was a kid, too, because I did, and we’re probably going to get married someday and bang, like, all the time. Just all kinds of places, even, too. All over the house and the neighborhood, so much that they will rechristen our town Bang City. Bangsville. Bang Island. St. Bang’s Township, the jewel of Bangburg County, in sunny Bangland. Swing by and visit us at Banglots Village, elevation: banging.
People will call us all like, “What are you doing next weekend?” and we will be like, “Banging. We are emphatically not free for dinner,” and my mother will email me to sadly say in all caps, “E— WHY DO I NEVER HEAR FROM YOU ANYMORE,” to which I will reply, “It is because I am very busy doing all this banging of my husband, Wes Anderson.”
Not really. I’m not that interested in Mr. Anderson anymore. He is still a great director, but I no longer see myself banging him, certainly not all the time and definitely not while we are both married. I’d just been sitting on that little “banging” diatribe for awhile and wanted to use it.
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