Movie Night: Robin Hood: Men in Tights

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***

Year: 1993

Director: Mel Brooks

Production Company: Brooksfilms

Leads: Cary Elwes, Richard Lewis, Roger Rees, Amy Yasbeck

1Welcome back to Movie Night, after a very long hiatus! I can’t pretend I’ll be able to update this with a new movie each week as I used to; my new work schedule doesn’t always allow for a weekly movie with Little Satis as it once did.

Nonetheless, we did manage to sit down this week for a viewing of an old favorite of mine, Robin Hood: Men in Tights. I had some reservations about letting Little Satis watch it (and not for the raciness); he isn’t terribly familiar with the Robin Hood story in general, and I had kind of wanted to let him see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves or the supposedly excellent BBC adaptation. I had to quiz him on the lore of Robin Hood first, and having decided that he passed (with a D, most likely), started it up on Netflix.

The Everlast™ chastity belt.

The Everlast™ chastity belt.

It had been a long time since I had seen Men in Tights, and I’ll admit to having forgotten much of it; mostly things like the blind Blinkin and the Everlast™ chastity belt are what stuck in my head. I forgot that it opens with a brilliant scene with the late great Isaac Hayes; I forgot the wonderful cameo by Patrick Stewart at the end; I forgot the utter ridiculousness of Mel Brooks’ humor. (This was Little Satis’ first Mel Brooks movie, incidentally; Spaceballs might be next.) I also forgot how utterly Jewish it all is.

A lot of the humor was lost on Little Satis, and whilst some of it I explained (for example, the brilliant Robin of Loxley and Marian of Bahgel quip), some of it I left well alone (such as the key to the greatest treasure in the kingdom being the one to Maid Marian’s chastity belt). Also the bit about circumcisions. And the pantomime sword erection. And Tracey Ullman‘s “I touched it” line. And…well, most of the movie, come to think of it.

 

“I knew her parents before they were taken in the plague, Lord and Lady Bahgel. You know, you two were made for each other. I mean, what a combination. Loxley and Bahgel! It can’t miss!”

 

Is that a sword in your pocket, or…?

Is that a sword in your pocket, or…?

Ah, well…there was more than enough slapstick to amuse a ten-year-old, such as the overweight handmaiden jumping to her horse and cracking the pavement, or the repossession of Robin’s entire castle (carted away on wheels), or just about every scene with Blinkin (played marvelously by Mark Blankfield). Mel Brooks has an amazing knack for producing comedy that can appeal to all ages – the raciness just above the heads of the younger crowd, and the slapstick not quite too goofy to bring a smile to the most hardened of adults. Ultimately, though, it’s the sly references to contemporary pop culture that make the movie (or at least, made it at the time), and I will admit that it serves only to date it now; nonetheless, my favorite quote from the whole film is Cary Elwes’ dig at Kevin Costner‘s inability to put on a British accent:

 

“And why should the people listen to you?”

“Because unlike some other Robin Hoods, I can speak with an English accent.”

 

If you haven’t seen it, it’s well-worth the watch; if you have, watch it again. It’s just as funny now as it was twenty years ago.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Featured image from http://www.filmcaptures.com/robin-hood-men-in-tights/.

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