Over to The Movie Channel for a showing of Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.
It opens with a nice Bayeux Tapestry-inspired title sequence, and a lovely main theme from Michael Kamen – that’s two Kamen scores in the last three days.
Kevin Costner has obviously used the same stylist as Arnie Becker from yesterday.
He escapes from Jerusalem and the Crusades with the help of Moor Morgan Freeman. I remember at the time, some people criticising the idea that Robin Hood would have a black sidekick. “It’s political correctness gone mad” the idiots would say. How nice that we’ve moved on so far from such things.
Of course, the villainous Sheriff of Nottingham is played by the peerless Alan Rickman (see blogs passim for mentions much closer to his deeply untimely death). At the time, there was a lot of talk of Rickman’s part being cut down considerably by star Kevin Costner, because he felt it was overshadowing his own part. I’d love to see the full Rickman version. Indeed, this script was originally entitled ‘Nottingham’ and told the story from the Sheriff’s point of view. Or perhaps I just imagined that bit.
The Sheriff is deeply into black magic, and consults with witchy Geraldine McEwan, who gives good prophecy.
As well as a black sidekick, Maid Marion also had to be a badass – as played by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, we first meet her in full armour, masquerading as her own protector.
I’m amused by the Sheriff recruiting an army from Scotland. “The celts? They drink the blood of their dead.”
I’m not convinced by Christian Slater’s Will Scarlett as Robin’s half brother, jealous and suspicious that Robin is just a spoilt rich boy.
Director Kevin Reynolds likes his wide angles, though. The whole film looks like it’s been shot with a 10mm prime. I guess that’s unusual in action films, because it often looks quite odd.
I also forget how rapey the Sheriff is. There’s at least two scenes with him and semi-naked, frightened looking women, and he does literally try to rape Marian at the end.
And it’s a shame, after she’s so well introduced, that Marian ends up as a damsel in distress, kidnapped by the Sheriff and forced to marry him because, apparently, that would make the Sheriff king, or something.
But it all ends happily ever after, Robin and Marian get married, with the returning King Richard giving her away – a cameo from Sean Connery, who’s played Robin Hood at the end of his life in Robin and Marian.
There’s an interesting, telltale credit at the end – a very prominent credit for Project Consultant Stuart Baird. Veteran credit watchers will notice a credit like that and suspect there’s a story behind it. Stuart Baird is a renowned film editor, also now a director, who has edited a lot of classic action movies. This movie, famously, had a tumultuous editing process, with original director Kevin Reynolds being locked out of the editing room by Costner, then coming off his Oscar win for directing Dances with Wolves, so I suspect Baird was brought in, possibly by Costner, to help with the editing process, hence the rather meaningless Project Consultant credit. It’s the kind of credit you give when you can’t credit people for the actual job they did because of union rules.
The film is the only thing on this tape.