Sunday, April 2, 2017

So Long, Marian

As I've mentioned, I'm a Richard Lester fan. So we wanted to see Robin and Marian (1976), and since Witchfinder General got us psyched for some ye olde romance, we queued it up.

It starts with Robin (Sean Connery) and Little John (Nicol Williamson) in France, laying siege to a castle defended by a solitary old man. When King Richard (Richard Harris) comes along, he insists on laying the castle to waste. The old man throws an arrow at him in disgust, and in the next few scenes, the Lion-Hearted One dies of blood poisoning. Oh well, he was getting to be a jerk, and Robin is getting tired of France. So they return to Sherwood Forest, which they left some twenty years ago.

They find that the poor are still oppressed by the Sheriff (Robert Shaw) and the Will Scarlet (Denholm Elliott) and Friar Tuck (Ronnie Barker) are still around. But what of Maid Marian, wonders Robin, as if he hadn't thought of her in years? She's become a nun in the nearby convent. Also, she is Audrey Hepburn, now 40-ish, but still radiantly beautiful.

And so, for a while, they live once again as they did, in Sherwood Forest. This is a very reticent love affair - she's married to Jesus, he is too much of a warrior to show his true feelings. As for a happy ending, well, that depends on your definitions.

This can be a very thoughtful and simple movie, which isn't very Lester-like - he's known more for his frenetic energy. There are a few touches, like King Richard's dwarf jester, but there isn't a lot of grotesquerie or the little background bits of Three Musketeers. But still a lovely, sad movie.

In conclusion, Audrey Hepburn's a mervel, isn't she?

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