Robin and Marian (1976)

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Released 12-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Adventure Theatrical Trailer-3:02
Trailer-The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Rating ?
Year Of Production 1976
Running Time 102:35
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Richard Lester
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Sean Connery
Audrey Hepburn
Robert Shaw
Nicol Williamson
Richard Harris
Denholm Elliott
Kenneth Haigh
Ronnie Barker
Ian Holm
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Barry


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
German
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Arabic
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Norwegian
Polish
Portuguese
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I was young and at university when I first saw this film. I didn't think much of it then. Watching it now, when I'm about the age of the main characters, it means so much more, and I'm a lot more impressed with it.

    Robin and Marian is not your typical Robin Hood film, full of youthful exuberance. It's set twenty years after Robin (Sean Connery) took Little John (Nicol Williamson), and followed his king, Richard the Lionheart (Richard Harris) to the Crusades. Now Richard has gone mad, and dies in a futile way. Robin and Little John are free to return home for the first time in twenty years. They find things have changed. They happen across Friar Tuck (Ronnie Barker) and Will Scarlet (Denholm Elliott), and learn that almost everyone they knew is dead or gone. Robin is in two minds about Marian (Audrey Hepburn) — he isn't sure he wants to see her. He's rather surprised when he does.

    One person who hasn't changed is the Sheriff of Nottingham (Robert Shaw). Robin manages to fall afoul of him almost immediately. It's interesting to see how much affection they have for one another. There's no affection, however, between Robin and Sir Ranulf (Kenneth Haigh), who represents King John (Ian Holm) — Sir Ranulf rapidly learns about Robin's lack of respect for authority. Sir Ranulf doesn't understand, and won't listen. He is very much the kind of man who was in mind when it was said that those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    There are some risible moments, particularly in the realisations that they are not as young as they used to be — fighting doesn't come as easily, and they get puffed. And the classic "rescue from the castle" escapade doesn't go quite as planned...

    There are moments when they dwell on the past, on what-if. This is beautifully judged by the director, not maudlin, but natural.

    This film, it is said in the trailer, was the film to lure Audrey Hepburn back to the big screen — she'd been absent for nine years. She does a marvellous job in this role, and was the perfect age for it (47) at the time. Connery was a year younger, but he could play the role even now (how does this man defy getting old?). There's chemistry between these two, and it's part of what makes this film work. The note that rings a little untrue is some of the language she uses.

    Nicol Williamson displays his typical wry humour. Robert Shaw is the other big stand-out — his Sheriff is a clever man, quite credible as a man who has held his position for twenty years by dint of being smarter than the knights and nobility he serves.

    Watch out at 50:08 — an extra is thrown against the castle wall, and it wobbles.

    This is a film about regret, about nostalgia, and about not being able to recapture one's youth. It's also about love and acceptance. If you are in your twenties, or younger, you may well enjoy this film. If you are in your forties, or older, you'll understand it. It's really quite a lovely film — recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced. The intended aspect ratio was 1.85:1, but we see this slight adjustment made very often; it doesn't upset the framing of anything but the opening title — unless your DVD player shows the entire image (few do), you may see some cropping of the opening title on the right.

    The image is a little soft, but clear — close-ups look nice, but long shots are somewhat fuzzy; at around 82:00, the shots of Marion are out of focus. Shadow detail is quite good. There's no low-level noise, but there is some light film grain visible at times.

    Colour is good enough — what colour variation there is could well be in the source material. There's no over-saturation or colour bleed, but at 44:59 the sky outside the window comes out white because it's too bright, and there are coloured outlines around the Sheriff.

    There are lots of film artefacts, but they are all tiny.

    There is aliasing on an assortment of objects, including swords. There's some moiré and quite a bit of light shimmer which manifests like mosquito noise. There are no other MPEG artefacts. There is haloing around foreground objects at times, but it's not overly annoying.

    There are subtitles in 19 languages, including English. I only watched the English subtitles. They are abbreviated in places, leaving out the occasional entire line, but they're timed accurately to the dialogue, and easy to read.

    The disc is single-sided and single layered. There is no layer change, but I'd say this disc could have benefited from a second layer — I'd say the feature is a bit over-compressed, and that's the reason for the background shimmer and mosquito noise.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are soundtracks in five languages, including the original English, which is the only one I listened to. The English track is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, not surround-encoded, at 192 kbps.

    The dialogue is mostly clear, but a few words get blurred under the music. There are no signs of audio sync issues.

    The score is a John Barry effort. It is beautifully old-fashioned adventure story stuff, and perfect for the story.

    The straight stereo soundtrack makes no use of the surrounds or the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu is static and silent, with a fuzzy picture of Connery and Hepburn.

Theatrical Trailer (3:02)

    This is a long trailer, and an interesting one — unsurprisingly, there are a few spoilers.

Trailer (1:48)

    A trailer for The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. Probably more notable for its Harryhausen special effects than for any other qualities.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film was released on DVD in Region 1 nearly a year ago, but as far as I can ascertain, the discs offer the same (lack of) features. Both discs are single layered efforts, with nothing significant in the way of extras. The Region 4 disc has more soundtracks, and more subtitles, but that's of no consequence unless you need those languages. I'd put the comparison at pretty much equal.

Summary

    Robin and Marian is a marvellous film about aging, regret, nostalgia, and love. I just wish it were a better quality DVD.

    The video quality is reasonable, but this film deserves better.

    The audio quality is perfectly adequate, but is nothing special.

    The extras are next to non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Sunday, June 01, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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