On CBS's Sunday Morning, correspondent Mark Phillips described the latest adaptation of the Robin Hood legend by director Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe: "And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes....And here is Robin. Not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the King's power. Robin Hood meets Che Guevara." [Audio available here]
Protesting high taxes and wanting to limit government power is the equivalent of a Communist revolution? Sounds more like the Tea Party movement.
After making that bizarre comparison, Phillips further explained the plot of the new film: "This Robin joins the fight to get the English king to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215, the document establishing the first rights on which modern democracies are based." Guevara, of course, was the ruthless henchman of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, hardly an advocate for democracy.
Here is a transcript of a portion of Phillips's report:
MARK PHILLIPS: Prepare for Russell Crowe's fight scenes. The new version directed by Ridley Scott is a kind of Robin Hood meets Gladiator meets Saving Private Ryan. And it makes some claim to being, if not historically accurate, at least set in a proper historic context.
RUSSELL CROWE: Robin isn't a super hero. He's not – he doesn't have a cape. And he's – he isn't a cartoon. What we tried to do was find out who the real person was, you know? And sift through history and see which ground was fertile for a rebel leader like Robin Hood.
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR [KING JOHN]: Taxation.
PHILLIPS: And so here is an evil King John, squeezing his subjects for more taxes.
ACTOR [AS JOHN]: The crown is owed money at home.
PHILLIPS: And here is Robin.
RUSSELL CROWE [ROBIN HOOD]: We're trying to build for the future.
PHILLIPS: Not as a thief, but as a revolutionary figure trying to limit the King's power. Robin Hood meets Che Guevara.
CROWE [AS HOOD]: Empower every man and you will gain strength.
PHILLIPS: This Robin joins the fight to get the English king to sign the Magna Carta in the year 1215, the document establishing the first rights on which modern democracies are based.
CROWE: And when we spread history in front of us on a table, we found that the very first time the Magna Carta was signed, and the Magna Carta, obviously, is directly related to the Declaration of Independence, and it seeks to redress the balance of rights and privileges. We started thinking, well, you count back from when that was signed and why did this particular monarch – why was he brought to the table? And it may well have been because he had somebody like a Robin Hood breathing down his neck.
PHILLIPS: It's a preposterous idea, of course, but preposterous in a good way, thinks our modern Robin of today's Sherwood Forest, Aide Andrews.
AIDE ANDREWS: And so now in the 21st century, Robin Hood is being reinterpreted. And that's the beauty of folklore, isn't it? That's the magic of folklore, because here's the-
PHILLIPS: It's still alive today, you're saying.
ANDREWS: Very much so. It's living, breathing tradition. And that's where the magic is. That's what's important about Robin Hood.
PHILLIPS: The forest has changed. Notingham has changed, presumably the sheriff now works here. And if Robin Hood is still a living legend here, he's also an industry. Every time a new Robin shows up on the screen, people show up here. And what's wrong with that?
ANDREWS: The legends are all about escape into the wild wood, aren't they? They're all about freedom, you know, away from this modern world as such. So we too can escape through those stories into the ancient wild wood. And that's got to be – that's got to be good. Isn't it?