David Knights' Weblog

February 21, 2020

Movie review: The Lion in Winter (1968)

Filed under: General — dknights @ 10:00 am
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The Turner Classic Movie channel is one of the best channels on DirectTV.  The only bad thing about it is watching the movies on that channel will quickly make you realize what crap movies and crap actors we have in Hollywood today. The Lion in Winter is the story of an aging King Henry II in 1183. He has 3 sons. He has imprisoned his wife, the queen (who is also the former queen of France) and is having an affair with his ward, a French princess, who was sent over as a child to be the wife of his eldest surviving son Richard. Henry wants to bypass his eldest Richard for the title of the next King in favor of his youngest son, John. (BTW, in actual history Richard is later to become Richard the Lionhearted and John is evil King John of Robin Hood fame.) The queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, favors her eldest son Richard.  Eleanor and Henry are locked in a love/hate relationship and use every weapon at hand to hurt each other.  In fact, in many ways the question of who gets to be the next King doesn’t much seem to matter to either except in the fact that each chooses in opposition to the other out of spite.

The movie is phenomenal.  Peter O’Toole is amazing as Henry and Katharine Hepburn is great as Eleanor.  I did not realize that at the time of the movie, Hepburn was 25 years older than O’Toole. Anthony Hopkins plays Richard in one of his first movie roles. The dialogue is sharp and the interplay between Henry and Eleanor, switching between spite and love and back again is fantastic.  The film was nominated for 8 academy awards and won 3.  If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely add it to your must watch list. 5 stars.

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