Robin Hood. Ah, yes. Who doesn’t know the tale? Steal from the rich, give to the poor. Marian, Little John and all that. We all know the entire story off by heart, don’t we? Over the years Hollywood also hasn’t skimped on giving us lot’s of different versions of Robin Hood, sure, provided, some were better than others and some entirely slipped from memory (Russel Crowe, 2010, Robin Hood). In fact in my mind there only ever were 3 versions of Robin Hood I could tolerate, these being Disney’s 1973 animated Robin Hood, the 1991 classic starring Kevin Costner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves…and then there was Mel Brooks and his 1993 version, Robin Hood: Men In Tights.
Mel Brooks stuck close to the chest on this one and replaced key elements in select areas while still trying to keep true to the core legend. The film itself is an almost direct ripoff of Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood from two years earlier and as a result, Mel Brooks had to change some things just in case anyone had any ideas of suing him. He replaced Robin’s companion Azeem with Ahchoo, replaced Duncan with Blinkin and so on and so forth. The result turned out to be, the now legendary in its own right, Robin Hood: Men In Tights.
The story follows Robin, who finds himself in prison in Jerusalem. After some swift assistance from a new friend and a fake beard later, he swims his way back to England to discover his family estate has been confiscated by the evil Prince John and his constantly relocating mole. Robin then goes on a quest to restore his family’s honor and makes some more new friends along the way in the form of Little John, Will Scarlett O’Hara and of course Rabbi Tuckman. – See what I mean about the select areas where characters were renamed/altered?
Along the way, Robin also meets Marian as it is, after all a Robin Hood movie and has to somehow get past her chastity belt which will present a problem as he’s to discover near the end of the film.
What makes this film great
While Robin Hood: Men In Tights isn’t considered a musical, it contains a series of surprisingly strong musical numbers, one of which even went on to appear on the official soundtrack album sung to some acclaim by Debbie James, named ‘Marian’. The production quality and instrumental value of the album version of this song could very well fool you into thinking you’re listening to a song that has absolutely nothing to do with this film at all. If you care to, you may listen to it by clicking here.
The titular song, ‘Men In Tights’ is surprisingly catchy too and accompanies the overall tone of the film excellently seeing as most of the film, in general, is presented by Sherwood themed rappers named ‘The Merry Men Singers’. I would suppose the end result of all this is that Men In Tights is at least partially considered or was intended as a musical or at very least a theater production but I think it all managed to translate very well to film.
The sheer lightheartedness of the film, the brilliantly thought through comedy and cleverly placed bits of hilarity mixed with superb casting choices make this film a treat for all ages of any era. Robin Hood: Men In Tights might not appeal to everyone but if you’re among those like me who consider it a cult classic will forever value it for what it is.
Where are they now?
Robin Hood, Cary Elwes
Cary Elwes went on to enjoy minor success after Robin Hood: Men In Tights and after 1997’s Liar Liar where he portrayed the insignificant role of ‘Jerry’ across Jim Carrey, he did appear regularly in other minor roles across the years. The only other blip on his career radar was SAW in 2004 where he memorably took on the role of Dr.Lawrence Gordon. The same role which was revived in 2010 for SAW 3D. After 2010 though the only other highlights include his voicing of Aquaman in 2013’s Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox. Currently, his career is on a high note though as he’s slotted for no less than 3 films in 2017, one of which he will again be providing voice work for.
Ahchoo, Dave Chapelle
After Men In Tights, Dave Chapelle quickly moved on to several other projects which ranged from television to film and appeared in several hits such as The Nutty Professor, Con Air, Half Baked, Blue Streak and You’ve Got Mail. In 2015 his film career went silent in favor of his television and stand-up career and he recently churned out no less than 2 stand-up comedy specials.
Sherrif Of Rottingham, Roger Rees
Roger Rees enjoyed a long career, both in film and on television. Most notably in 2002 as King Pherom in Dwayne Johnsons breakout film, The Scorpion King. In later years he took on roles in films such as Garfield, The Prestige, The Invasion and Happy Tears. Sadly though Roger Rees passed away in 2015 after a lengthy fight with brain cancer.
King John, Richard Lewis
Richard Lewis went on to appear in so many television series that it was hard to find one where he wasn’t making an appearance in some form or other. His post 93′ hits include Tales From The Crypt, Leaving Las Vegas, 7th Heaven, Two And A Half Men, The Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm and he had several dabblings in stand-up comedy.
Blinkin, Mark Blankfield
Mark Blankfield all but vanished after Men In Tights and is currently best known for his role as Martin in another Mel Brooks production, Dracula: Dead & Loving It. The only other notable appearance he’s made since 93′ is The Jamie Foxx Show and Saved By The Bell.
Marian, Amy Yasbeck
Amy Yasbeck briefly made an appearance in Dracula: Dead & Loving it as Mina Seward and then all but vanished from the screen in 1998, shifting her career to focus more on television. Her current resume includes appearances on The Cosby Show, Just Shoot Me, That’s So Raven and Modern Family.
Rabbi Tuckman, Mel Brooks
After Men In Tights, Mel Brooks went on to direct Dracula: Dead And Loving it, then hanging up the director’s hat in favor of his acting and producer career. He’s since had a hand in The Silence Of The Hams, The Little Rascals, The Prince Of Egypt, Get Smart and Hotel Transylvania 2. He’s currently working as Executive Producer on a new film called Blazing Samurai.
Robin Hood: Men In Tights will forever be memorable, not only for being one of the absolute best Mel Brooks films ever but for showing us just what exactly a ‘spoof’ film should be. It doesn’t take itself seriously at all and contains just the right amount comedy without having to turn vulgar like most spoof films we’ve gotten accustomed to in the modern age.
A true classic. Robin Hood: Men In Tights is that sort of film that will forever hold a special place in the hearts of all movie lovers and if you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor, go see it now!