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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 13340 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.

This website is not endorsed by the composer's family.
Use of copyrighted materials and logos are for promotional purposes only.

All files on this website are for personal use only and cannot be bought or sold.


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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 Music of BondThe Music of Bond
Royal Albert Hall
Wednesday 19 September 2018
Starts: 7:30pm


Presented by Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace). Over fifty years of timeless James Bond themes from all your favourite 007 films.

Hits from Goldfinger, Licence to Kill, Casino Royale, Skyfall, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, Spectre, From Russia with Love to name just a few, all sung by outstanding vocalists Alison Jiear and Matthew Ford.

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Gareth Hudson Conductor
Alison Jiear Vocalist
Matthew Ford Vocalist

James Bond fans are in for a treat in January 2019, as renowned Band, the popular Q The Music Show, are putting on a special concert - performing all the music from Moonraker on

26th January 2019

at the

Wycombe Swan Concert Hall,
High Wycombe,
United Kingdom.

You can back the project and buy tickets here

They are drafting in professional musicians from London to create a 100-piece Orchestra and Choir to recreate all of John Barry’s iconic cues from the 1979 film. As there is only around 50 minutes of music in the film, they will perform the best of the James Bond songs in the second half in true Q The Music style, but with full orchestra.

Because of the nature of this concert, and the huge costs involved, they are crowd funding it, so tickets have to be purchased by 6th May this year for the concert to go ahead on Saturday 26th January 2019.

Q The Music Show are popular with James Bond fans all around the World thanks to their dedicated and authentic versions of the music and were chosen to perform at Sir Roger Moore’s Memorial Event at Pinewood Studios in October last year. The concert will be compered by Bond girls Madeline Smith and Caroline Munro, who have been working with Q The Music this year on their theatre tour of the UK.

The concert will not be available to buy on recording after the show, and the Moonraker score has never been performed live, so this is a unique opportunity for fans to see it. If the project is a success, Q The Music plan to go on a do a different Barry/Bond score each year.

You can back the project and buy tickets here

*Please note, this is a music only performance – no images or footage from the film will be shown, and Q The Music are not associated with EON, Danjaq LLC, or the James Bond Films in any way.

Warren Ringham
Q The Music Show - James Bond Tribute Band
The London Showband - Party & Covers Band