Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Robin Hood

I have no plans to see the current “Robin Hood” movie. Dour Russell Crowe; ultra-violent CGI battle scenes—not in the spirit really of the legendary tale. Ridley Scott made one movie masterpiece-- “Blade Runner”—because it fit his brooding artistic personality. The subject of Robin Hood is his opposite.

I’ll take the 1938 Errol Flynn version; a storybook legend come to life. The spirit of anarchy and rebellion portrayed there (like the free spirit of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” which itself was inspired by the same ballad-and-broadside legends) was an influence on the creation of the Underground Literary Alliance. I wanted the same mix of playfulness and commitment, comedy and seriousness, as found in the film. We were as much a different class as the Saxons confronting the overdog Normans. We faced our opponents, bursting into their camps, with a similar attitude.

We also were a kind of outcast—literary outlaws, in a way—and came, many of us, from the untamed “forest” of the zine scene. Those writers of passion and energy wanted nowhere else found a home in our ranks. Our kind of writer WAS different—the aforementioned James Nowlan only one example. (I’m thinking of the scene in Nowlan’s “Security” when his character is hired to guard a prestigious French cultural institute. He asks who to watch for—who not to allow in. “Well, someone like you,” comes the reply.)

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