It seems evident that John Barry did not have an entirely happy time on Richard Lester's slightly different take on the Robin Hood legend. To start with, Barry's score was a last minute replacement for a rejected effort by Michel Legrand. On top of that, Lester had Richard Shores re-arrange two of Barry's cues when he wasn't happy with what Barry had written. The one noticeable thing about these two arranged cues is that, apart from not sounding like Barry originals, they also date the score. The timelessness of Barry's music seemingly usurped by some obviously 70's arrangements.
Less of an action film than any of the better known takes on Robin Hood, this took up the story later in the life of Robin and Marian and starred Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn in what turned out to be one of the least successful of multitude of productions. Having said that, there are still some notable action cues, although Barry's are a lot less athletic than Richard Shore's efforts. Compare Over the Wall with Trapped and the different approaches are obvious. Rather than underline each movement, Barry takes a broader, more suspenseful approach. Whether this would have worked well in the film in this case is difficult to say, but given that one of Barry's greatest skills is as a note perfect dramatist, I'm inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. Then again, Nuns is a surprisingly strident cue for people usually accorded as being some of the most humble people around.
The love theme is played in several incarnations and while it's quite lovely, doesn't quite stick in the mind as clearly as some of Barry's better known works. Along with the recently re-recorded The Last Valley, this has been a much sought after Barry score and while not perhaps as good as that effort (that being truly one of Barry's greatest scores), Robin and Marian is a must for any Barry fan and beautifully performed by the City of Prague Philharmonic. The action is very precise and the romantic sections are exquisite. Special praise must go to Geoff Leonard and everyone else at Play it Again records who helped this album see the light of day. The liner notes by Jon Burlingame are typically excellent and insightful. Another excellent album.