Trudging along the post-Walt Disney era of the Disney canon,
we find that Walt still hasn’t really left us! Released in 1973, “Robin Hood” was the Disney Studios’ 21st animated feature. It was based on the legend of Robin Hood, the outcast who “stole from the rich to feed the poor”. The studios had originally wanted to make a film about Reynard the Fox,
but after Walt deemed the hero a bad role model, they ended up using elements of Reynard the Fox in “Robin Hood”. So this film still shares some connection to the deceased Walt Disney.
I’ve mentioned this many times before, but this is one of my favorite Disney films and one of the most underrated ones. It features your usual “Robin Hood” cast:
Robin Hood and Maid Marian,
and the Sheriff of Nottingham amongst others.
They’re all quite memorable and enjoyable. But the forgotten/minor character of today is found during an archery tournament. You see, Prince John actually has the mental capacity to devise a trap for Robin Hood!
He plans an archery tournament and makes Maid Marian’s kiss the main prize!
Seeing as Robin Hood is a sucker for both archery and Maid Marian’s kiss, he goes…in disguise, of course! His mental capacity is quite large as well!
Regardless of the disguise, Prince John shows unbelievable intellect, recognizes Robin Hood, and has him arrested.
He then calls upon our forgotten/minor character to take care of Robin Hood for good: THE RHINO EXECUTIONER!
I don’t mean that he executes rhinos, I merely mean to say that he is an executioner who is indeed a rhino himself! It’s similar to the “20000 Leagues Under the Sea” misunderstanding. It doesn’t mean they dive to depths of 20000 leagues; it means they traverse for a distance of 20000 leagues while being submerged underwater!
Sorry! Anyway, the rhino executioner is summoned and the animation only allows us to see him from the chest up and that too for only about a few seconds. In the end, Prince John (due to Little John threatening him from behind) orders the executioner to stop and for the guards to release the prisoner. After Little John is caught, Prince John orders for Robin Hood to be recaptured and a fun fight scene ensues.
Now, the rhino executioner isn’t seen during this fight! Heck, he isn’t even seen when Prince John tells him to stop! Heck, he doesn’t even say a word! Heck, he doesn’t even open his mouth!
One of the most deadliest characters in the Disney canon, and we don’t know much about him (maybe that’s a good thing)
nor do we see much of him. He should have at least been part of the fight! Being a professional killer (albeit by only one particular method of killing), he would have created a bit of a challenge for Robin Hood and his friends! But nope, the rhino executioner is never seen nor mentioned again (probably due to the strict budget)!
And that’s why I must present this character with the forgotten/minor character title for this highly underrated film!