The Last Of Robin Hood is a toothless, sexless, shockless, docudrama about the scandalous relationship between the fifty year-old swashbuckling Hollywood matinee idol Errol Flynn and fifteen year-old aspiring actress Beverly Aadland. Flynn, who starred in countless classic adventure films like Captain Blood (1935), Robin Hood (1938), and The Sea Hawk (1940), was a notorious boozer and ladies man who flaunted his eccentricities and defied national moral standards all his life--his latter-day persona was the inspiration for Peter O'Toole’s memorable performance as the washed up has-been Alan Swann in My Favorite Year (1982). Flynn’s final affair became one of the biggest scandals in Hollywood tabloid history, in part because of Aadland’s mother’s desire for the spotlight.
Writer/directors Rich Glatzer and Wash West employ every lame TV movie cliché in bringing this story to the big screen. It looks and feels like an HBO movie from 25 years ago, except with better casting. But the presence of Kevin Kline as Flynn, Dakota Fanning as Aadland, and Susan Sarandon as her mother Florence, only pours salt in the wound. How could such a good cast be squandered on such a lousy script, and why would anyone want to make a movie on this subject that didn’t dig deep and explore its juicy themes? Everyone involved in this picture seems content to just skim the surface details and avoid the darker aspects, which, of course, are the only ones that are of any real interest. The filmmakers do a terrible job of creating the world of late ‘50s LA and NYC. And, for any audience members out there who don’t know anything about Flynn, the picture does a disgraceful job of establishing the legendary movie star, relying entirely on Kline’s skill as a thespian and his Flynnlike image from films earlier in his career--like the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (1980) and Douglas Fairbanks in Chaplin (1992), which won’t be remembered by younger viewers any more than Flynn’s movies. Fanning does her best as Aadland, but lingering memories of some of her earlier sexually charged performances--such as Hounddog (2007) and The Runaways (2010) actually make her seem too old and experienced to play this naïve girl.