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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A relatively light weight production of Goldman's drama
It is impossible for me to watch this Showtime remake of "The Lion in Winter" starring Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart without constantly comparing it to the 1968 theatrical film with Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. That was the first Hepburn film I ever saw and the way she delivers James Goldman's great lines (my favorite would be "I could peel you like a pear and...
Published on 18 Jun 2005 by Amazon Customer

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pale imitation of the original
Being a great fan of the original version of this film starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn, I was quite excited about this remake - especially as I like a lot of Patrick Stewart's other work.

I have to say though that it's not a patch on the original, despite following the identical script. Stewart's and Close's acting is disappointingly wooden; this...
Published on 10 April 2011 by Hip of a Zep


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A pale imitation of the original, 10 April 2011
Being a great fan of the original version of this film starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn, I was quite excited about this remake - especially as I like a lot of Patrick Stewart's other work.

I have to say though that it's not a patch on the original, despite following the identical script. Stewart's and Close's acting is disappointingly wooden; this version lacks the verve and heart of the original.

It was always going to be a tough order to follow O'Toole and Hepburn (as well as their strong supporting cast that included Timothy Dalton and Anthony Hopkins) but, to be honest, I expected better from this remake.

For those who have never seen any version of this film I would strongly advise you to buy the original. To those who have seen the original I would sadly advise you to not waste your hard-earned money on this version.

2 stars for a half-hearted effort, which is what it seemed like.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a con!, 23 Oct 2012
This review is from: Lionheart [DVD] (DVD)
I'm confused. It says on the cover "With stunning battle scenes and an incredible cast this is the must see historical film of 2012". Within minutes of watching the film, I realised this was a televised version of a play called "The Lion in Winter". Went onto IMDb to investigate and sure enough, it is "The Lion in Winter"...and it was made in 2003 under the same title.

Why is it now being called "Lionheart"? Where are the battle scenes? And why does it clearly state on the cover that "Run time 257 mins approx" when the film only lasts 75 minutes? That's VERY "approx"!

Has there been some mistake in production or is this a direct con?
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Of course he has a knife, he always has a knife, we all have knives! It's 1183 and we're barbarians!", 18 Jun 2009
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
The genius of James Goldman's perfect script for The Lion in Winter is the way it takes great historical figures and not only makes them all-too-recognisably human but also makes their faults serve as the world in microcosm. And it does it with wit, drama and genuine emotion as its two titans battle each other with a great hatred born of a once great love while their unlovely brood jockey for position and the crown of England in an ever escalating web of one-upmanship and betrayal. As such, it's foolproof and virtually idiot proof, the kind of thing that not even a talented director could ruin. Unfortunately one of the reasons the play has been so rarely revived is because it also managed to spawn a film version so close to perfection for all its budgetary limitations and technical faults that it must seem pointless to anyone to attempt to match it. So it's no great surprise that Andrei Konchalovsky's 2003 TV version leaves you feeling a bit like you've brought a ticket to the hottest show on Broadway only to find that the entire cast has gone down with food poisoning and the rep company from Des Moines will be taking their roles for tonight's performance.

The biggest problem is that all these people have all too obviously seen the 1968 movie and fail to make the parts their own. Patrick Stewart fares best, but he lacks Peter O'Toole's delivery or comic timing although, to his credit, he doesn't try an impersonation. Unwisely, Glenn Close DOES slip into the odd spot of mimicry of Hepburn inbetween the odd half-hearted bout of Norma Desmond, but she makes surprisingly little impact until the second half of the game. Jonathan Rhys Myers' King Philip is especially weak, alternating between appearing stoned out of his skull (anytime he is required to stand or cross the room) or an unpopular school prefect in a school play. Indeed, there's too much of the Sixth Form Drama Society in Henry and Eleanor's loathsome litter. John Light takes what honors are available in that field as the unloved and unloving Geoffrey, but his competition is beyond merely light: Andrew Howard growls with more gravel than gravitas as Richard while a painfully incompetent Rafe Spall manages the impossible to turn in an even worse performance as an infantile John than Nigel Terry. Yuliya Vysotskaya's Alais is a somewhat better actress than Jane Merrow but far too East European to convince as a French girl and far too limited to make the part more than a cipher (but then, as Mrs Konchalovsky, her casting would appear to have been a deal breaker here).

It's not bad - the superb writing carries it through even when the performances falter - but despite the bigger budget you get that distinct Saturday Matinee Dinner Theater feeling.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A relatively light weight production of Goldman's drama, 18 Jun 2005
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
It is impossible for me to watch this Showtime remake of "The Lion in Winter" starring Glenn Close and Patrick Stewart without constantly comparing it to the 1968 theatrical film with Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. That was the first Hepburn film I ever saw and the way she delivers James Goldman's great lines (my favorite would be "I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!") is forever etched in my brain.

However, I also think that it is clear that the specter of the original film hangs over the entire cast of this production. By that I mean that it seems like every single memorable line from the play (and there are literally dozens) is delivered in a decidedly different way. Specifically, Close plays Eleanor of Aquitaine as being much more emotional, which is rather ironic given that her ex-husband, the late King of France, is described as being a weeper. This means that when Eleanor has what should be her final emotional collapse at the end of the film, it is really just another in what has been a series of emotional moments. As for Stewart, his Henry II tends to underplay all of the key moments. It certainly seems that every time O'Toole engages in bluster and bombast, Stewart goes quiet, bordering on a whisper. Again, I can only conclude that these were conscious choices because they stand out so boldly against the original film version.

This is not to say that I am against new productions of the play. I would have loved to have seen Robert Preston and Rosemary Harris on Broadway or the Roundabout Theater production starring Laurence Fishburne and Stockard Channing. But Stewart and Close make choices, obviously endorsed by director Andrei Konchalovsky, that remove much of the fire from Goldman's brilliant dialogue. For those who have never seen a production of "The Lion in Winter" they may get a sense of the high quality of the drama, but I do not believe they get the complete picture, even if Close's performance is endorsed by her Emmy Award.

"The Lion in Winter" takes place during Christmas 1183, when Henry II, King of England, summons family to his castle in Chinon, France. At issue is the question of who will be Henry's successor to the English throne. Henry wants his youngest son, John (Rafe Spall), while Eleanor supports their eldest surviving son, Richard the Lionheart (Andrew Howard), which leaves middle son Geoffrey (John Light, in what I think is the best performance because I like his spin on the character). Also along for the ride are Henry's mistress, Alais Capet (Yuliya Vysotskaya), who is supposed to marry the heir, and her brother, Philip (Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), the young King of France.

The chief attraction here is that while Henry and the rest play out their power games through a series of confrontations, feints, compromises, and sudden reversals they are delivering their lines with an extraordinary level of insight, wit, and irony. That is, of course, provided they are delivered so as not to undercut the power of the lines. The confrontations between Henry and Eleanor are supposed to be a clash of heavyweights and the cast here is dropping down in weight class.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Now, now children. No squabbling., 20 Oct 2012
By 
S. Finlay "sgscf" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lionheart [DVD] (DVD)
A review - in two parts.
Lionheart - I agree completely with every one star review, this is a total rip off. It's happening more and more. You take an old, made for TV, direct to DVD, miniseries and repackage it to look like some epic new film. Look at Thrones and Empires [DVD] (no, on second thoughts, don't, you'll go blind, if you're lucky before the end of the film). There are no "stunning battles scenes", as it suggests on the back of the packaging and this is not "the must see historical film of 2012", it was made in 2003. Most importantly it is not about Richard the Lionheart, it's about Henry II, although to be fair, Richard is in it.
The Lion in Winter - This is a 2 hours 57 mins (not 257 mins as stated on the packaging), two part, made for TV, miniseries based on both the play and the older film version, The Lion In Winter [DVD] [1968]. It's actually quite good. Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close are excellent. The supporting actors support, some better than others, Jonathan Rhys Meyers is good, Rafe Spall is not. It takes place, almost exclusively, in one location, the Christmas Court at Chinon in 1183 and involves the squabbling over who will succeed Henry - Richard, John or Geoffrey. I give you a hint, it's not Geoff. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this but then I knew what I was getting.
So, in conclusion, never judge a DVD by its cover. Or title. Or by what it says on the back.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Embarrassing that this has happened again, 23 Sep 2012
By 
Gavmundo (Much Hoole, Preston, Lancashire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lionheart [DVD] (DVD)
I've seen this before in 2003 and although it's packaged like a new movie (the same happened with the Empire tv series being repackaged as Rome Blood and Sand) it's a lie. This is the remake of A Lion in Winter and was released in 2003. It's nowhere near as good as the original with Peter O'Toole but to repackage something in the hope you trick the public into buying a film you've already seen under a different name is pathetic.

It box makes it look like it's a new action film about Richard the Lionheart but the film is about Henry II and his relationship with Eleanor of Aquitaine and his children (the Devil's Brood) and is based on a 1966 play so there is little action. Although a young Prince Richard does feature in the movie he is a minor character and far away from his Lionheart title. If you haven't seen the movie you may like it but it is poor compared to the original (which is a fantastic movie) but if you have had the misfortune the see this remake don't be tricked into buying it again under a new title.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE LION IN WINTER Second outing not so good, 19 May 2011
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THE LION IN WINTER Second outing not so good

I was fortunate to be in NY in 1966 and was taken by friends to the Colonial Theatre to see the stage production of James Goldman's play starring the incomparable Robert Preston. I must admit that I was not terribly impressed with the play although Robert Preston's performance was marvellous.
The Lion in Winter is a fictional account set during Christmas 1183, at Henry 's court in France. Henry wants his favoured younger son John to inherit his throne, whilst Richard is suported in his claim by Queen Eleanor who has been temporarily released from captivity by the King, and the third brother Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany conspires with Philip of France and John to declare war against their father. In fact there was no Christmas court at Chinon in 1183 and there is no historical record confirming that Henry, Eleanor, their sons and Philip of France were ever gathered together at this time, and some characters such as Henry's mistress are a merging of more than one real life persons; but the events and issues are historically correct.

The 1968 film with Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn is one of my all time favourite movies and it was with some reserve that I purchased this made for TV remake, mostly because I am a great fan of Patrick Stewart who is one of Britain's finest actors.
I was disappointed, both Stewart and Glenn Close are fine actors and gave good performances but the special magic of the 1968 version was missing and I found the production somewhat lacklustre.

I believe that it is almost always a mistake to attempt a remake of a classic film, which is what the 1968 version has become, even using the best of actors.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the box, 14 Oct 2012
This review is from: Lionheart [DVD] (DVD)
"with stunning battle scenes and an incredible cast this is the must see historical film of 2012" Whoever wrote that obviously has not seen the film. Not a battle scene to be seen Prince John is portrayed as a Muppet. Richard the Lionheart which I thought the film was about is portrayed in a less than favorable light to put it politely. Thankfully the running time of 257 mins was a misprint. Please do not waste your hard earned cash on this.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Rubbish, 7 Nov 2012
This review is from: Lionheart [DVD] (DVD)
I sat through this film waiting for the battle scenes as described as "stunning" on the cover, only to find there weren't any! The film is a complete con and is not what it says it is. It is a pity I didn't read the reviews before I bought it.
DON'T BUY IT!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Conned to the max, 30 Sep 2012
This review is from: Lionheart [DVD] (DVD)
Having purchased this on the basis of what was written on the box - "with stunning battle scenes and an incredible cast this is the must see historical film of 2012" i got set up ready for a saturday night full of history, battles & intrigue - what i got was Patrick Stewart & Glenn Close put on a couple of good performances - they actually saved the film (actually not a film as was obviously made for tv as was in x2 installments) from being turned off. The cover of the box instigates some kind of battles will be seen, the fact that the quotation states stunning battle scenes were the only two things which kept me watching until the end - as there were no battle scenes at all this is what i was waiting for. Also, the box states run time of 257 minutes - the run time was actually 160 minutes therefore i was under the impression that an episode had been missed - thus my reason to read the reviews!
As can be seen by other reviews i am not the only one who feels cheated.
Dont get me wrong, this film will appeal to some, especially followers of Patrick Stewart as he gives a good portrayal of Henry much as i imagine he would have done treading the boards. If you are looking for anything other than this then watch the tudors or the borgias - at least they contain a good mix of what is required to entertain across the board.
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Lionheart [DVD]
Lionheart [DVD] by Andrei Konchalovsky (DVD - 2012)
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