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Robin and Marian - John Barry

Saturday, 02 February 2002 14:30

Review by Stephen Woolston

The troubled musical history of this film is famous. And understandable. The movie is an enjoyable affair but a narrative mess. Is it a sincere study of the sadness of old age? Is it making a nonesense of the construction of myths? Is it a good old British period comic romp? Or is it a love story? At different times it is each of these, but it doesn't know in which of these themes to rest it's final moral. It seems the creative forces involved - director Lester, writer Goldman, and producer Stark - all wanted to pull the film in different directions. Stark, in hiring John Barry to replace Michel Legrand's score, plays his ace card to finally win.

Ordinarily, a producer bringing in a composer to write a good old fashioned Hollywood romance score against the director's more profound conceptions would smack of the low brow. Barry himself is unlikely to have approached this any more profoundly than as a job of work. After all, his life was in a hurry, he had only two weeks and a producer's brief that said little more than 'don't get smart, just give me a love theme they'll remember'. Yet Barry pulls it off tremendously. His theme is one of the greatest love themes in cinema history. And the score has much more. Militaristic marches, pastorals for the country, and some dark study of the internal angers that drive the main characters. He successfully ignores the tug-of-war going on in the film to bring it the only unity the film has. This is one of those examples where, through a coherent music score, Barry most definitely improves an otherwise messy film.

The score was originally issued in short supply on a promotional LP, containing the two Barry cues that were replaced in the final film. It was, however, mono. A more recent bootleg CD was lifted from the isolated score track of the American laser disc, but this did not include the two unused tracks and presented the music with varying sound levels and crude cuts. This is a complete recording in stereo (Dolby Surround, in fact), and having the unusual advantage of being recorded from the original manuscripts, the score is captured in almost perfect form. Only in a very few places can you feel the difference. It clearly becomes the new champion for authenticity in Silva's repertoire. Jon Burlingame's notes reveal interesting facts about the score and Richard Shore's previously little known involvement. Another must-have for lovers of Barry, and for lovers of romantic film music in general.

Stephen Woolston

Read 6901 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 April 2015 14:32
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PIA website

Have a look at our old "Play It Again" label website here.

Play It Again Records CD catalogue offered the discerning listener a wide choice of digitally re-mastered recordings from film and television, and rare collections of work from the likes of Don Black and Ron Grainer.

Contact the JB site

If you wish to send an email, for example with content for the website, please contact Geoff Leonard:

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Bristol, UK

Geoff (owner) and Ruud (webmaster) have been running the John Barry website since June 18, 2001.

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John Barry related Events or Concerts

Submit your Event or Concert, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. We will not be responsible for any errors or inaccuracies.

A lot more James Bond concerts collected on the link below, I have put them all in this news item. So check it out from there!

The Best of John Barry: Bond and Beyond
Thursday 16 Nov 2017
Royal Festival Hall,
Address: Belvedere Road,
London, SE1 8XX

Nicholas Dodd conductor

Barry Goldfinger (1964)
Barry Main Theme, Zulu
Barry On her Majesty's Secret Service (1969) We Have All the Time in the World
Barry Somewhere in Time
Barry Moviola
Barry The Persuaders
Barry Mary, Queen of Scots
Barry Midnight Cowboy
Barry Suite, Dances with Wolves


Barry Born Free
Barry All Time High, Octopussy (1983)
Barry Theme, Out of Africa (1985)
Barry Body Heat
Barry Chaplin
Barry Space March (Capsule in Space), You Only Live Twice
Barry The Knack
Barry Suite, James Bond

Legendary Hollywood composer John Barry won five Oscars throughout a career creating some of the most memorable music in the history of cinema. Enjoy an evening of his greatest hits – Bond themes from Goldfinger to We Have All the Time in the World, music from Zulu, Midnight Cowboy, Dances with Wolves and more.

19 Nov 2017

   Canada   Thunder Bay Shaken Not Stirred – The Music of James Bond


James Bond Spectacular
December 1, 2017
Time: 19:30

Camberley Theatre,
Knoll Road,
Surrey, GU15 3SY,


The popular James Bond Concert Spectacular by Q The Music Show is coming to Camberley Theatre.

They will be bringing the fabulous and iconic music of James Bond to you in a stunning concert. 

This show has been a huge success all around the World with its energetic and exciting performance by some of the UK’s leading musicians.
Featuring all the songs from the 007 movies...


Wiener Konzerthaus
Lothringerstraße 20, 1030 WIEN
(that's Vienna!)

Samstag 2 Dezember 2017
19:30 Uhr
Großer Saal

Sonntag 3 Dezember 2017
19:30 Uhr
Großer Saal

Dieses Galakonzert lässt 53 Jahre Bond-Movies live und auf großer Kinoleinwand Revue passieren. Von John Barrys «Goldfinger», «Thunderball» und «Diamonds Are Forever» über «Licence To Kill», «A View To A Kill» und «Goldeneye» bis hin zu «Skyfall» und dem Song des bislang letzten Bond-Streifens, «Writings On The Wall». Spezielle Arrangements für großes Symphonieorchester garantieren neben den Star-Interpreten einen unvergesslichen Abend.

Am 2. und 3. Dezember 2017 werden die legendären Songs und Scores aus den Bond-Movies von den Star-Interpreten Maya Hakvoort, Nazide Aylin und Sandra Pires im Wiener Konzerthaus präsentiert. Dabei werden sie von einem großen Symphonieorchester, ergänzt durch Top-Instrumentalsolisten für den speziellen Bond-Sound, begleitet, während die berühmten Filmszenen auf eine Leinwand projiziert werden. Die Arrangements stammen vom musikalischen Leiter der Galakonzerte, Alex Johansson. Als besonderes Highlight wird Stargast Conchita ihre Lieblings-Bondsongs interpretieren.