Robin and Marian is what you’d get if you gene-spliced ”Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” with ”Rooster Cogburn”: Screenwriter James Goldman, author of ”The Lion in Winter” (and brother of ”Butch” scripter William), takes a late-life look at Robin Hood. The old populist (here played by Sean Connery), disillusioned by the Crusades – decrying, among other atrocities, a Muslim massacre in Jerusalem – reunites with Maid Marian (Audrey Hepburn), now a nun, and tangles one last time with the Sheriff of Nottingham (Robert Shaw).
It’s literally and figuratively a tale of twilight years, wrapped in images of lingering sunsets, circling buzzards, and rotting apples, with elegiacally paced shots beautifully articulated by cinematographer David Watkin and smartly assembled by director Richard Lester (the lovely transfer is the best thing about this virtually extras-free disc). The man who put the Beatles through their feature-film paces and made twin hits out of the Musketeer tales was unfortunate in his timing here, since the tragicomic ”Robin and Marian” arrived in theaters a year after ”Monty Python and the Holy Grail” made medieval mockery a hot ticket. The social satire gets precious at times, but Connery (sans hairpiece!) and Hepburn (swathed for the first hour in a nun’s wimple) bring a fervid depth of feeling to their characters’ rekindled courtship.