Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)

Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)Robin and the 7 Hoods is a musical film released in 1964 by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film is an adaptation of the legend of Robin Hood, set in Chicago in the 1930s, complete with gangsters. The film centers around the story of a Chicago gangster who accidentally gets involved in philanthropic work in the midst of a gang war.

Robin and the 7 Hoods was promoted with the amusing tagline "Like we’ve taken the Robin Hood legend and changed the bows and arrows to machine guns! …Like with songs yet! …Like WILD!"

Cast and Crew of Robin and the 7 Hoods

Robin and the 7 Hoods was directed by Gordon Douglas and produced by Frank Sinatra. David R. Schwartz wrote the original screenplay. Nelson Riddle composed the musical score and supervised the music, along with Gil Grau (orchestration), Sammy Cahn, and James Van Heusen. William H. Daniels provided cinematography, and Sam O’Steen edited the picture.

Gene Kelly was slated to produce Robin and the 7 Hoods, but decided to leave before filming started. Rumor has it that his decision was based on disagreements with Sinatra regarding how many dance numbers would be included in the film.

Robin and the 7 Hoods stars the "Rat Pack," including Frank Sinatra (Robbo), Dean Martin (Little John), Sammy Davis, Jr. (Will), and Bing Crosby (Allen A. Dale). The supporting cast includes Peter Falk, Barbara Rush, Victor Buono, Robert Foulk, Edward G. Robinson (as "Big" Jim Stevens), and Chet Allen.

Robin and the 7 Hoods was released on June 24, 1964, and has a running length of 123 minutes.

Plot Synopsis of Robin and the 7 Hoods

Robin and the 7 Hoods is set in Chicago, during prohibition. "Big" Jim Stevens, the leader and boss of underworld crime in Chicago, receives a surprise birthday present from Guy Gisborne, his lieutenant, when all of his party guests shoot and kill him. Gisborne takes over as the new boss. Jim’s friend Robbo hears of the news, is obviously upset, and begins a gang war.

Robbo recruits seven "hoods" to help him in his quest for revenge, including Little John, a pool hustler, Will, a quick-draw shooter, and five other henchmen. Despite his accomplices, Robbo is severely outnumbered by Gisborne and his gang. Even the Sheriff of the city, Octavius Glick, is corrupt and paid by Gisborne.

Jim’s daughter Marian, a high-class society woman, seeks Robbo and asks him to avenge the death of her father, which has been wrongfully placed on the sheriff. Marian awards Robbo $50,000 when she hears that the sheriff has been killed and thinks that Robbo is responsible. Little does she know that Gisborne actually killed the sheriff.

Robbo isn’t comfortable accepting money that he didn’t rightfully earn, and decides to donate the cash to an orphanage. Alan A. Dale, the director of the orphanage, is greatly pleased by the donation, and alerts the media. As such, the newspapers run with the story, and create a legend of a gangster who steals from the rich and donates to the less fortunate, just as in the tale of Robin Hood. Robbo is delighted to have the public backing him, and invites Dale to join with his gang.

Marian has her own agenda however, and is displeased to find that Robbo hadn’t actually killed her father’s murderer. She attempts to join Robbo’s gang, and he refuses, At this point, she tries to seduce Little John and make him turn on Robbo, but he refuses as well. Gisborne is willing to join forces with her, but Robbo quickly kills Gisborne. Potts, the new Sheriff, is also unwilling to join with Marian. Finally, she convinces Alan A. Dale to be her accomplice.

Alan and Marian outsmart Robbo and frame him, ruining his public image. The pair take control of the city, and Robbo and his men are relegated to dressing as Santa Claus and making charitable donations around the city.

Music in Robin and the 7 Hoods

Robin and the 7 Hoods is a musical, and as such, many of the stars engage in musical performances throughout the film. Crosby and Sinatra both sing several numbers, with Crosby singing slightly more. Crosby, Martin, and Sinatra perform a memorable version of the song "Style."

The song "My Kind of Town" serves as the featured number in the movie. Orchestral renditions of the song are used in both the closing and opening credits, and the song is heard in Robbo’s tavern. In addition, Sinatra himself sings the song to the citizens of Chicago after he is acquitted of the sheriff’s murder.

The other songs in Robin and the 7 Hoods include "Mr. Booze" (sung by Crosby), "All for One and One for All" (sung by Peter Falk), "Don’t Be a Do-Badder" (Crosby), "Any Man Who Loves His Mother" (sung by Dean Martin), and "Bang! Bang!" (sung by Sammy Davis, Jr.).

Additional Information about Robin and the 7 Hoods

The film includes a memorable quote related to gambling: "When your opponent is holding all the aces, there’s only one thing to do. Kick over the table."

Originally, Peter Lawford was cast to play the part of Alan A. Dale. However, John and Robert Kennedy, brothers-in-law to Lawford, decided to stay at Lawford’s house instead of Sinatra’s during a trip through the West Coast. Sinatra had constructed a helipad and made several other arrangements in preparation of the president’s arrival. Sinatra was furious, and booted Lawford out of the Rat Pack. Crosby was Lawford’s replacement. Sadly, John F. Kennedy was assassinated on the same day that a funeral scene was filmed for the Robin and the 7 Hoods.

Robin and the 7 Hoods was nominated for several awards, including two Oscars for Best Music (Original Song) and Best Music (Scoring of Music). The film was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Original Score. Robin and the 7 Hoods was nominated for two Golden Laurel awards for Best Song and Best Musical, as well as a WGA award from the Writers Guild of America for Best Written American Musical.