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The Lion in Winter
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- Making-of featurette
Top Customer Reviews
First, a concise history lesson in the context of the film.
King Henry II of England is also overlord of Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and half of France. Henry keeps his wife Eleanor, the Duchess of Aquitaine and the former first wife of King Louis VII of France, under house arrest in Salisbury Castle for revolting against him. In better times, Henry and Eleanor had, in addition to three daughters, five sons: (in order of birth) William, Henry, Richard, Geoffrey, and John. William died at age three. Henry, the anointed heir, died aged 28 in the summer of 1183. It's now the Yuletide season of that year, and Henry II is holding Christmas court at his French stronghold, Castle Chinon. (To be accurate, there's no record of a Christmas court at Chinon in 1183, but that's irrelevant to the essential theme and tone of the story.) Joining him are his surviving sons and, released from confinement for the festive occasion, Queen Eleanor. An aging Henry wishes to cement his succession. His favorite is John. Eleanor's is Richard. Geoffrey, nobody's favorite, maneuvers to get what he can. Complicating the gathering is the presence of Princess Alais and King Phillip II of France. Alais, Louis VII's daughter by his second wife, was betrothed to Richard by treaty between Henry and Louis when she was but a child. Alais has been living at the English court for years, and is Henry's mistress.Read more ›
BUT. I had a problem with Patrick Stewart's performance. It's good enough, as far as performances go. I kept trying not to compare it with Peter O'Toole's, but I missed that triumphant bellowing, that presence, the "oomph". I thought Patrick Stewart was a little too down-key - perhaps too reserved. He has such a marvelous voice, I would have liked him to use it to its best effect. In the quiet scenes, he's OK, but he really needed to turn on the juice for the anger, the hurt at John's betrayal, etc.
Unfortunately, I didn't care for the actors who played Richard, Geoffrey and John. None of these performances stood out, except perhaps the Geoffrey character was successful in showing the hurt he suffered from his parents' ignoring him all his life. He was twisted (as he's referred to in the teleplay) by this neglect, and at least a viewer has a sense of that from this performance. But on a whole, the actors who played the sons in the 1968 film gave much better performances.
All in all, I liked this teleplay, but I love the 1968 version. That's the one I have to wholeheartedly recommend.
The photography of France (as viewed through Slovakia and Hungary settings) in the late 12th century is magnificent, both in exteriors ( Eleanor's entrance on the barge is as grand as Cleopatra's any day!) and in the dank and dark interiors that serve the plot so well. Glenn Close is radiant and in pitch perfect form as Eleanor of Aquitane, the Queen of England to Henry II's King (Patrick Stewart is fine fettle) and who has been imprisoned for 10 years for 'treason'. The couple has three sons and one must be named Henry's successor, but which one - Richard (historically to be known as The Lionhearted), the wily Jeffrey, or the buffoon but beloved of Henry, John? (All three of these roles are in capable hands). Eleanor is released from her prison castle for a Christmas Celebration and the entire play takes place during these two stormy days. The struggle of equally powerful wills of Eleanor and Henry are superimposed on the greed of the three sons, and made more pointed by the arrival of the King of France, Philip (played with complete credibility by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers). Intrigue abounds, secrets long held are made known, and treachery is omnipresent.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The movie is magnificent. The mailing of the DVD is difficult, because the disc may get out of place from its center: it gets scratched. However, the movie itself is very good. Read morePublished 3 months ago by irma dickinson
My favorite historical drama of all time. Not 100% accurate because it compresses several things into a few days.... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I own both versions and really enjoyed them both, even though they were somewhat different. After many years of geneology research by my father, I found out that I am a descendant... Read morePublished 9 months ago by adrienne hicks
Well, it's my fault I hated it. It was in Spanish and would not play on my BluRay player, because . . . it's Spanish. Read morePublished 10 months ago by jimnany
I got this movie on time and it is working just fine. Thank youPublished 10 months ago by Mary Johnston
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