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The Lion In Winter [VHS]
In the south of France, 1183, Henry II (Peter O'Toole) summons his family to a Christmas conference. His sons all have designs on his crown, whilst the presence of the King's mistress (Jane Merrow) adds spice to his exchanges with his wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn). Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance, and the film also gained statuettes for Best Screenplay and Music.
In this 12th-century version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Henry II of England (Peter O'Toole) and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), meet on Christmas Eve to discuss the future of the throne. These two are having slight marital problems, as she is kept in captivity most of the year for raising a rebellion against him, and he flaunts his young mistress. Then there are the problems raised by their three treacherous and traitorous sons. James Goldman won an Oscar for the brilliant screenplay, based on his Broadway play. It is a tad wordy, as the action is kept to a minimum, but those words are sharp as daggers. The humour is wicked and black and delivered with very dry, dead-on precision. Sparks fly and the screen sizzles whenever Hepburn and O'Toole tango, which is often. Both were nominated for Academy Awards for their vigorous performances. (She won, he didn't.) There is also an infamous homoerotic exchange between Philip of France (Timothy Dalton) and Richard the Lionhearted (Anthony Hopkins). Both actors were making their feature film debuts. --Rochelle O'Gorman, Amazon.com
Top Customer Reviews
Here, Henry and Eleanor are in their golden years. Henry is fifty and his wife, whom he has had imprisoned for the last ten years, is quite a number of years older. He brings her out of captivity for Christmas, and she joins him and their three sons, Richard, Geoffrey, and John.
Peter O'Toole gives a fine portrayal of the aging, but still robust and virile Henry, who is in a seeming quandary as he debates a burning issue. To whom of his three sons shall he leave his hard won kingdom? He professes to want to leave it to his youngest, John, as that is the son whom he claims to love the most. One has to wonder, however, what kingly qualities he sees in John, played as a pimply faced, sixteen year old fool by Nigel Terry, who does what he can with this unsympathetic role.
Eleanor, however, tartly played by the always glorious Katherine Hepburn, prefers her oldest, Richard, who is the son whom she has loved the most, though he, too, has his issues. Richard is played as a blood thirsty homosexual by a somewhat wooden Anthony Hopkins in his screen debut.
No one seems to love the middle son, Geoffrey, and he knows it, though he seems to be the one son whose behavior is the most within the bounds of what one might consider acceptable, as he is neither a killer nor a fool. He is merely unloved by his parents. John Castle gives a strong performance in this role.
Eleanore manipulates each of her three sons, as if they were pawns in a game of chess, in her quest for personal power.Read more ›
Thus shouts Queen Eleanor of Acquitaine to King Henry II, in a shouting match that never ends during the course of the fabulous film. An inventive historical drama recounting the lives of several of medieval Europe's most colourful characters, I can scarce begin to list the number of lines that stand out from the banter.
'The Lion in Winter' has long been one of my favourite films. I never tire of watching it, and love to find opportunities to incorporate lines from the film into my own 'witty banter' as appropriate. Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn, in performances nearly unequalled by either in other works, provide the main action, while the very young actors Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton help fill out the cast in their debut roles (Nigel Terry, later to play King Arthur in 'Excalibur', also plays one of the king's sons). Done in period costume and set (the King emerging from his castle, not on a red carpet, but rather striding among the chickens scrambling to escape the regal steps), there is an air of realism to the visual production that is rarely achieved in more stately presentations of 'lofty' history. There are interesting asides, not the least of which is that King Henry seems make reference to being a bisexual -- a very daring thing in the 1960s, as well as the rumoured love affair between Richard (Richard the Lionhearted) and the King of France. Nominated for seven Academy Awards, it won three, including best screenplay -- no wonder so many delightfully witty, pithy lines come from this film.
The real history of Henry and Eleanor provides the backdrop here.Read more ›
Despite Henry's efforts to keep his wife and offspring at arms' length (and away from the throne), Eleanor successfully reunites the brood, assuring that her power will not only be restored, but will last long after her death.
Barbed tongues wound to the quick in this James Goldman screenplay about England's King Henry II (1133-1189) and his dysfunctional family. Peter O'Toole dominates the film with his forceful portrayal of the legendary Henry. As ruler of a vast Anglo-Norman kingdom, the 50-year-old monarch holds sway over all that he sees, except his wife and three sons. Shrewd wit and elegant quality season the dialogue throughout the film, allowing the actors to wring brilliance from their tongues. During the film, the choral music of John Barry sets an appropriately ominous mood. And director Anthony Harvey occasionally mixes in action sequences, featuring poised lances and gleaming daggers, to pick up the pace.
This masterpiece is not without fault.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really into this period of history and Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn bring the feuding couple alive. Read morePublished 4 months ago by TAFFY
Katherine Hepburn is terrific. A must for history lovers..Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Arrived in good condition. Not impressed with this version of history.Published 4 months ago by Vivienne
Good image quality on the film;no pops or scratches.Sound was clear and dynamic.Well acted and made,for me the story felt a bit empty.
Enjoyed it though not as much as Becket.
A excellent film very pleased that I was able to get my hands on it
One of Peter o tooles best I think
Delivered well on time