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13 September, 2007 / Erik

Favorite Film: The Lion in Winter

Taking place over the Christmas Holiday, the film revolves around King Henry II’s plans for his successor. Added to this tale are the machinations of his entire family. Katherine Hepburn appears as the cold Eleanor of Aquitaine, who plots Henry’s downfall and the ascension of her favorite son Richard (Anthony Hopkins). Henry’s plans would see youngest son John (Nigel Terry, who later plays King Arthur in Excalibur) on the throne. Each son has there own plans. Richard is very gay and wants nothing of Henry’s live-in mistress, Alais (Jane Merrow), who also comes with the throne. John Castle is noteworthy as middle son Geoffrey. Knowing that he will never be king and, at best, be Chancellor and, at worst, be killed, plays all sides against each other for his amusement. In the midst of all of this plotting is a special Christmas guest King Phillip II of France (Timothy Dalton!?) who has plans of his own for the troublesome Duke of Normandy (Henry). The film is so amazingly written and dialog driven, it is almost an action movie with words. Peter O’Toole’s bluster filled performance as Henry II (his second time in the role, he appeared as the King in Beckett) is full of the excess and spoiled brat nature you would expect from an absolute monarch.

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One Comment

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  1. Barak / Sep 25 2007 5:25 am

    Hear Hear! Amazing movie.

    And it was done as a throw-off. Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole had one more film each in their contracts, MGM had bought rights to the script (it was originally a play), they tossed it all together on a low budget and quick schedule, and came up with a classic, as well as an Oscar for Hepburn.

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