Friday, May 10, 2013

Robin Hood & Little John in Drag

Milt Kahl sure likes a good challenge.
When Robin Hood and Little John are running to catch up with Prince John's coach, they also put on gipsy clothes at the same time to disguise themselves. The characters are having fun doing this, so the acting needs to reflect their attitude, combined with a run that keeps changing pace.
Milt tried to get as much comedy out of this situation as possible, especially in Little John's animation.
This kind of work requires an enormous amount of concentration and planning. 
Of course the end result looks flawless, natural and very entertaining. These scenes are great for frame by frame study. There is so much going on here, but everything reads clearly. The character weight, the clothes' overlapping action, the overall staging, just beautifully analyzed.

These are a couple of Milt's thumbnail pages, he is trying to figure out how Little John might put his hat away and replace it with a wig.

A model sheet made up of key drawings from a couple of scenes. I marked one drawing NG, it is out of order and belongs elsewhere in the scene.

Four original roughs that Milt discarded (followed by a few copies). This is what his first pass looked like.
As you can see the character remains in the center of the pages, running in place. 

Robin stops for a moment to take time to pull down his dress.
These drawings reflect a slightly older design version. Before the scene was sent over to be xeroxed, his neck was widened according to the final model's look.

The film Robin Hood might not be one of your favorites, but still…it is full of animation gems that are worth taking a closer look at.


  1. Thanks for this post. I like this movie better than many other Disney movies.
    Especially because of the Background paintings and the athmosphere!
    I also enjoyed the voice of Peter Ustinov in both the german and the english version.

  2. Definitely one of the more memorable scenes of the movie!

  3. Not one of the favorites ? I looooove this movie ! The acting is amazing. I love the scene when the children have to get the arrow the most.

  4. You know, I watched as a child until the tape could no longer work! And the more I see it today the more I admire all the people involved making the movie. One question, was this the first take on the character by Milt Kahl after they decided to change John Lounsbery take on Robin Hood? Thank you for the post!

    1. I still dig Lounsberry's take on the character before the revision I've noticed looking back on these.

  5. This is one of my favorite post Walt films. The animation is just wonderful to look at frame by frame or just for entertainment. I enjoy your posts and hope you keep them coming. Thanks again!!!!! for all your efforts with the blog site.

  6. The little one-footed hops and shimmies, great! :D You're blog really helps me appreciate these animated scenes much more.

  7. Thanks Andreas for all this great material! Robin Hood is one of my favorites. I love the Character Designs.

  8. Thanks so much Andreas!! I've been personally looking at the storyboards and then the final animation for Milt's scenes and it's been very insightful to his thinking process~ The staging, movement, and acting are very planned! what a talent!!!

  9. You knew I was waiting for this one!! Thank you so much for taking the extra time to do such a great post about such a cool scene. Sometimes you can tell when they had fun doing a scene.. This looks like one of those times.. Great Great Great!!

  10. True mastery shown in these examples.