1183 AD: King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him. An aging and conniving King Henry II of England and Ireland plans a reunion where he hopes to name his successor. He summons the following people for the holiday at his chateau and primary residence in Chinon, Anjou, within the Angevin Empire of medieval France: his scheming but imprisoned wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine; his mistress, Princess Alais, whom he wishes to marry; his three sons, gay Richard the Lionheart , Geoffrey, and John, all of whom desire the throne; and the young, but crafty King Philip II of France, who is also Alais' half-brother.
I marvel at you after all these years. Still like a democratic drawbridge: going down for everybody.
The Lion in Winter is directed by Anthony Harvey and adapted to screenplay from his own play by James Goldman. It stars Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Jane Merrow, John Castle, Anthony Hopkins, Timothy Dalton, Nigel Stock and Nigel Terry. Music is by John Barry and cinematography by Douglas Slocombe.
1183 A.D.: King Henry II's (Toole) three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. His sons and his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Hepburn), variously plot to force him into a choice - but he himself has is own agendas as well.
An utter lesson in theatrical tropes shifted to the screen with brilliant results. Set over the Christmas period, Henry II has called all the family together to the family castle in France, for what proves to be a blindingly sharp game of human chess.
Essentially it's one giant family squabble of huge political importance, a conniving dynasty war that could shape history. The script sizzles with literate smarts and firey dialogue, with performances from the top draw, while costuming, set design and Barry's melancholy score seal the deal for what is a true genre classic. 9/10
AVCO Embassy Pictures, Haworth Productions by Anthony Harvey, James Goldman.
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins.
Genres: Biography, Drama, History
Keywords: france england infidelity famous score queen richard the lionheart castle based on play or musical henry ii unfaithfulness mistress king spear homoeroticism christmas 12th century eleanor of aquitaine
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