ROMEO AND JULIET for senior citizens. What might have been a wonderful movie is only so-so due to Lester's typically (but here unnecessarily) busy direction and a ponderous script by James Goldman, who had so much success with THE LION IN WINTER that some of his lines for this seem like
bon mots he may have cut from that screenplay. Twenty years have passed since the bandit who robbed from the rich to give to the poor ran off to fight in the Crusades with his beloved king. He's now back, in the form of wizened Connery, and in the two decades since he left much has transpired. His
love, Marian, is still a maid; she's become a nun, in fact. The king (Harris), meanwhile, has become a madman dedicated to amassing a fortune. The one thing remaining constant in Robin's life is that the sheriff of Nottingham (Shaw) is still eager to see him hang. Robin hooks up with some of the
old gang (including Nicol Williamson, all wrong as Little John), kidnaps Marian and gets involved in some spirited adventures, climaxing with a long, cruel duel with the nasty sheriff.
The film's greatest asset is the teaming of Connery and Hepburn. Their more quiet and amusing moments together are as luminous as one would expect, and the coda is very touching indeed. Taken as a whole, ROBIN AND MARIAN is a spotty picture that's sometimes satirical, a trifle pretentious,
occasionally exciting. If the powers that be had decided to shoot an all-out comedy that showed Connery creakily trying to recapture his old derring-do, it might have made more sense. Hepburn came back to movies after a nine-year absence to accept this role and had nothing but praise for Lester's
quick direction. The trouble is that it's either too quick or too slow, and neither he nor the screenwriter achieve a supple balance between the rueful laughter of maturity and the depressing horrors of medieval bloodshed and old age. You just don't know where you stand with this one.
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- Released: 1976
- Rating: PG
- Review: ROMEO AND JULIET for senior citizens. What might have been a wonderful movie is only so-so due to Lester's typically (but here unnecessarily) busy direction and a ponderous script by James Goldman, who had so much success with THE LION IN WINTER that some… (more)