The Lion in Winter


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I brought this up in the "Obama Name" thread and this is where the discussion belongs.

Read about the 1968 original here on IMDB.

Katherine Hepburn, Peter O'Toole, and Anthony Hopkins.

Henry II of England has released his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, from prison, for Christmas, so that she can be present when he announces which of his three sons will inherit the kingdom -- an empire, really, as vast as that of Charlemagne: all of England and half of France. His sons are Richard Lionheart, John (of Robin Hood infamy), and Geoffrey. John is Henry's favorite. Eleanor favors Richard. Also at the castle for the holidays is King Philip of France. Young Philip is pressing the terms of the dowry of Alais who was to be a wife of Henry, a deal that was consumated in Henry's bed, but never on paper.

That is the context for a grand family squabble of imperial proportions. Double-dealing, intrigue, betrayal, one-upsmanship, dares (and dreaded triple-dog double dares), are tossed out as easily as the daggers that Eleanor smuggles to her sons when they are imprisoned by Henry. Alais knows the score: Henry can never release his sons now, lest they kill her and the new heir -- should she marry Henry at all, which is far from likely. Meanwhile John and Richard vie for the crown, betraying each other, allied with their common enemy against their father, and then not...

Hepburn is brilliant as Eleanor of Aquitaine. It is impossible to read too much about Eleanor.

This website does mention her female retinue armored like Amazons, but does not mention

their being barebreasted on their entry, though Hepburn qua Eleanor does say that.

Eleanor is credited with changing music

(In one scene Hepburn says that Alais is as boring as plainsong.)

Were the Arthurian legends invented for her?

or for her daughter, Marie of Champagne?

This is easily the best dysfunctional family home for the holidays drama. It will make your own family seem tame.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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It is a movie that is a lot of fun. Anthony Hopkins plays Richard the Lion-Heart. Timothy Dalton is the King of France. Kate and Peter are wonderful as Katherine and Henry. Watch Lion in Winter instead of A Wonderful Life.

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Henry: Would you give me a moment's peace?

Katherine: How about eternal peace, my love?

-> We watched it through again last night, in part, because it is a drama carried by great lines.

Last scene. In the wine cellar, the three princes have been arrested and they hear the door open, expecting Henry.

Prince Richard: He'll get no satisfaction from me. He'll not see me beg.

Prince Geoffrey: Why you chivalric fool! As if it matters how a man falls.

Prince Richard: When the fall is all that's left, it matters a great deal.

Edited by Michael E. Marotta
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