Douglas Fairbanks As Robin Hood, 1922

June 21, 2021

This picture, colorized by Duriez, was taken from the silent film Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood. This was not the first Robin Hood film, as the story first appeared on screen in 1908, in Robin Hood and his Merry Men. The Fairbanks film, which has the full title of Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood (the title is copyrighted, incidentally), was first full-length Robin Hood film. It was also the first movie to have a Hollywood premiere, which happened on October 18, 1922 at Grauman’s Egyptian Theater. It introduced elements of the story which would become familiar as it was told time and time again. 

Colorized by Duriez.

This early film had a budget of approximately one million dollars, which made it one of the most expensive movies of the 1920s. Part of that expense was incurred by the set: a huge castle which was, according to some, the largest structure built for a silent film, as well as the entire village of 12th century Nottingham. The structures were constructed at the Pickford-Fairbanks Studio.

A Playground For Robin Hood

An aerial shot of the castle on the set. Source: (Wikimedia).

Fairbanks bought the old Jesse Hampton lot to construct his studio, which was in a deserted area with hundreds of empty acres which would serve for the film’s outdoor settings, including Sherwood Forest. The studio served as a fitting backdrop for Fairbanks’ leaps, dives, climbs, handsprings, pole vaulting, and, of course, sword fights. The director worked to ensure that the set included elements to make Fairbanks’ stunts even more impressive. He had trampolines, a long, hidden slide for an escape scene, secret passageways, and acrobat perches.

Fairbanks’ production company, Douglas Fairbanks Picture Corporation, produced the film, and it was distributed by United Artists (the company he had helped to form). Fairbanks was also responsible for adapting the story for the screen, as “"Elton Thomas" along with Kenneth Davenport, Edward Knoblock, Allan Dwan, and Lotta Woods.