the Olivia de Haviland blogathon: maid marian in ‘the adventures of robin hood’ (1938)

go here for all the entries as they show up!

Guys. Olivia de Haviland turns 104 today!!! Isn’t that amazing? My first introduction to Olivia de Haviland was probably The Adventures of Robin Hood and it’s remained my favorite role of hers. I’m super excited to talk about it today. (Also, this will be the third blogathon post in which I focus on a Robin Hood character, from this specific film. I guess it’s Robin’s turn next!)

The main thing I appreciate about Olivia de Haviland’s Maid Marian is how fierce, yet feminine she is. And also how she doesn’t immediately swoon at Robin’s feet. In fact, she has a pretty strong disliking for Robin at first—and that doesn’t change until she sees why he fights and why his cause is so important. When their paths first cross, she sees him as a law-breaking troublemaker who isn’t worth the time of day. She isn’t one to be turned by a charming smile and some witty conversation. Instead, she sticks to her beliefs and doesn’t budge until she discovers the true facts for herself (that the Normans really do treat the Saxons awfully, for no good reason).

And that fierceness I talked about? Marian is absolutely stunning as she singlehandedly sets Robin’s rescue in motion, spies on Prince John and his cronies, and boldly defies Prince John as she stands before him in chains. I can’t praise her enough! She’s so brave and loyal and true. Yes, she ends up waiting for Robin to rescue her at the end—which some would probably see as a regression of her character—but come on, guys! She’s been amazing and resourceful all along and just because she’s locked up doesn’t mean that changes. Robin wouldn’t even be around to put King Richard back on the throne if Marian hadn’t gone to that tavern (BY HERSELF, as a NORMAN WOMAN, into the ENEMY CAMP [basically]) and shared her plan to save him.

Marian is an incredibly inspiring heroine all around. I love her so much.

But I haven’t even touched on the absolutely most important thing about her.


Ladies With Titles

Okay. I’m kidding. They’re not the most important aspect of her character—by far—but they are gorgeous. The glowing Technicolor lends an extra dimension to both Olivia de Haviland’s beauty and the costumes’ magical glamour.

All in all, The Adventures of Robin Hood is a top-notch film with several great characters/performances, but Olivia de Haviland as Maid Marian is my favorite. And not just in this specific film either! She’s one of my favorite cinematic heroines all around, and I know so, so much of that is because of the wonderful actress who portrayed her.

Have you seen this movie? What’s your favorite Olivia de Haviland role? Who’s your favorite Maid Marian? Let me know in the comments!


10 thoughts on “the Olivia de Haviland blogathon: maid marian in ‘the adventures of robin hood’ (1938)

  1. Yes!! Definitely my favourite Marian ever 😀 She’s a beautiful, lovely woman with a head on her shoulders and no nonsense about her. I approve haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To quote Olivia: “Playing good girls in the 30s was difficult, when the fad was to play bad girls. Actually I think playing bad girls is a bore; I have always had more luck with good girl roles because they require more from an actress.”

    I think that the casting for this movie was perfect – especially for Marian. She fit her character so well! I just cannot express how dear this movie is to my heart…

    This is definitely my favorite movie starring Olivia de Havilland. Although I must admit that the Santa Fe Trail is another one in which she stars as Kit Carson Holliday.

    Thank you for keeping these classics alive to remind us what real entertainment should be!


  3. Love this! I adore this movie and I love Marian here. Like you said, she is fierce and feminine and plays a pivotal role in the story. AND HER DRESSES! I was obsessed with her clothes haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah, Olivia de Havilland’s Marian is amazing!! Few can top her. I absolutely love how so many of the characters that played were so gentle and kind while being incredible! Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So beautiful and so talented. Maid Marion is perhaps my favorite role as well. But Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte impacted me is a big way when I saw that years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love her clothes so, so much — especially that striped gown she’s wearing in the scene with Sir Guy. (Even as a child I was like I WANT!!! and as a grown up woman, I still want it!) But yes, overall I like her character a lot in this adaptation — she is fierce but also feminine, not afraid to challenge Robin or anybody else, willing to ask questions, and admit when she is wrong. Plus, that was just plain gutsy — walking into enemy territory and when they confront her as a spy, she just stands up to them. *applauds* You go girl!


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