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Robin and Marian
Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Dennis O'Dell
Richard Shepherd
Ray Stark
Written by James Goldman
Starring Sean Connery
Audrey Hepburn
Robert Shaw
Nicol Williamson
and
Ronnie Barker
Music by John Barry
Cinematography David Watkin
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) 11 March 1976
Running time 106 min.
Country UK/
USA
Language English
Budget £5,000,000

Robin and Marian is a 1976 British and American co-produced romantic adventure period film starring Sean Connery as Robin Hood, Audrey Hepburn as Maid Marian, Nicol Williamson as Little John, Robert Shaw as the Sheriff of Nottingham and Richard Harris as King Richard. It also features comedian Ronnie Barker in a rare film role as Friar Tuck.

Director Richard Lester made Robin and Marian amid a series of period pieces, including The Three Musketeers. The screenplay was written by James Goldman. The original music score was composed by John Barry.

Contents

Plot

An aging Robin Hood (Connery) is a trusted captain fighting for Richard the Lion-Heart (Harris) in France, the Crusades long over. Richard orders him to take a castle that is rumoured to hold a gold statue. Discovering that it is defended by a solitary, one-eyed old man (Esmond Knight) who is sheltering harmless women and children and convinced that there is no statue, Robin and his right-hand man, Little John (Williamson), refuse to attack. King Richard, angry at their insubordination, orders the pair's execution, but before his orders can be carried out, he is fatally wounded by an arrow thrown by the old man. Richard has the helpless residents massacred, with the exception the old man, because Richard likes his eye. The King asks Robin to pray for mercy for him. When Robin refuses, Richard draws his sword, but lacks the strength to strike him and falls to the floor. Robin helps him, and moved by his loyalty, with his last words, Richard frees Robin and Little John.

Robin and Marian

After Richard's death, Robin and Little John return to England and are reunited with old friends Will Scarlet (Denholm Elliott) and Friar Tuck (Barker) in Sherwood Forest. When Robin casually inquires about Maid Marian (Hepburn), they tell him she has become a nun. When he goes to see her, she finds him as impossible as ever.

He learns that his old nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham (Shaw), has ordered her arrest in response to the King's order to expel the Roman Catholic Church from England. Marian wants no trouble, but Robin rescues her against her will, injuring Sir Rundolph (Kenneth Haigh), the Sheriff's arrogant guest, in the process. Ignoring the Sheriff's warnings, Sir Rundolph pursues Robin into the forest. His men are ambushed and decimated by arrows; Sir Rundolph is left unharmed only because Robin orders him spared. When the news of Robin's return spreads, old comrades and new recruits rally once more to him. Sir Rundolph asks King John for 200 soldiers to deal with Robin.

Robin's band is caught in an open field by the Sheriff and Sir Rundolph's forces. The Sheriff and Robin agree on a personal duel to settle the issue, despite the protests of Sir Rundolph. After a long fight, the Sheriff has the wounded Robin at his mercy and demands his surrender. Refusing, Robin manages to kill the Sheriff with the last of his strength. Led by Sir Rundolph, the soldiers attack and scatter Robin's ragtag band. Little John swiftly kills Sir Rundolph. Then he and Marian take Robin to a nunnery.

Robin believes he will recover to win future battles. Little John stands guard outside while Marian tends to Robin's wounds. Marian prepares a draft and takes a drink of it herself before giving it to Robin. He drinks the medicine and notes that the pain has gone away and his legs have gone numb. Then, realising that she has poisoned them both, he cries out for Little John. However, he comes to understand that Marian has acted out of love because he would never be the same man again. She tells him:

I love you. More than all you know. I love you more than children. More than fields I've planted with my hands. I love you more than morning prayers or peace or food to eat. I love you more than sunlight, more than flesh or joy, or one more day. I love you...more than God.

Little John crashes through the door and weeps at Robin's bedside. Robin shoots an arrow from his deathbed through the open window and tells Little John to bury them both where it lands.

Cast

Reception

The film was generally given a positive review by critics. Roger Ebert on reviewing the film was positive towards Connery and Hepurn as Robin and Marian although he was uncertain about "history repeating itself" in regards to the plot. According the Ebert, "What prevents the movie from really losing its way, though, are the performances of Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn in the title roles. No matter what the director and the writer may think, Connery and Hepburn seem to have arrived at a tacit understanding between themselves about their characters. They glow. They really do seem in love. And they project as marvelously complex, fond, tender people; the passage of 20 years has given them grace and wisdom."[1] He also approved of the cinematography of the film in comparison to early films of the genre noting that, "Lester photographs them with more restraint than he might have used 10 years ago. His active camera is replaced here by a visual tempo more suited to bittersweet nostalgia. He photographs Sherwood Forest and its characters with a nice off-hand realism that's better than the pretentious solemnity we sometimes get in historical pictures."[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Chicago Sun-Times review by Roger Ebert , April 21, 1976, Retrieved on July 7, 2008

External links








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