14 March 2013

Lion in Winter

Lion in Winter (1968)
  • Director: Anthony Harvey
  • Based on Book: no
  • Cast: Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • They’re all so well known that no “oh yeah” reactions were necessary
  • Why bought: Had heard it was good
  • Seen: October 19, 2012

They shout a lot in this film and run up and down old worn-down stone castle stairs that were brand new when the story takes place in the 12th century.  The pace is very fast, the dialog is hard to follow and alertness is required to keep track of all the lies and mind-changing.  If I hadn’t read Shakespeare’s King John a couple of times I probably wouldn’t have had a clue but I did figure out that the gang is:
Eleanor of Aquitaine (she’s famous), her husband Henry II (not so famous), and their three sons: Geoffrey (totally not famous but mentioned in Shakespeare), Richard (the future Lionhearted), and John (future bad king of Robin Hood and Magna Carta fame).
Eleanor and Henry have a love-hate relationship. They fight all the time, very much like Martha and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? (made two years earlier) and battle viciously over which son should be king after Henry dies.
And that’s about it.  The movie got top ratings in Maltin. Not with me.  It was good, it was dramatic, quite exciting and visually beautiful.  There was some homosexuality and some sexuality between old people (in their 50’s, wow!) which may have been startling to audiences of the 60’s.  It was fun to see Anthony Hopkins in an early film role but his beard was obviously fake and he looked almost as old as his father O’Toole. In fact Hopkins is just a few years younger.  O’Toole was so much like Richard Burton that I almost thought he was. Katherine Hepburn is always Katherine Hepburn.  Henry’s young girlfriend was anonymously pretty and only interesting now and then.
So all in all not the gripping experience I had hoped for and expected but not too bad.

3* of 5.

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