Dwan's control of crowds and imaginative use of the sets give an effect of epic pageant that's better than many a later blockbuster. The extras do at least look as if they're in on the action, and not just there to fill up the screen. However, the acting of the central characters disarms criticism. Fairbanks possesses all the skill and enthusiasm of an 11-year-old in a school play, and behaves like one too, usually backslapping and tussling with the lads. His other characteristic expression, exaggerated surprise, reminds you of the Bisto Kids. In Sherwood, he skips everywhere, flapping his arms: merriness at all costs in the face of the darkest the Dark Ages can offer. The fact that Sam De Grasse turns in a very good performance as Prince John hardly matters.