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The Lion in Winter (Penguin Plays) Paperback – March 31, 1983

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[A]" "classic tale of deep family dysfunction and Machiavelli-level intrigue . . . witty and wrenching, full of dagger-sharp quips and veiled motives.”–"The" "Boston Globe" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

James Goldman's brilliant historical drama pits King Henry II of England against the strong-willed Eleanor of Aquitaine. Back stabbing, spying, double crossing, and rampant infidelity a typical family Christmas. Typical, that is, for the Plantagenets. Kathleen Chalfant and Alfred Molina bring to life the witty, eloquent battle of the sexes that was immortalized in the Academy Award-winning film of the same name starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.

An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Lars Carlson, Kathleen Chalfant, Kevin Daniels, Spencer Garrett, Laurel Moglen, Alfred Molina and Steven Sutcliffe. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (March 31, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140481745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140481747
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.2 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,994,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This play about the famously disfunctional family of England's Henry II is perhaps the most devestating family drama this side of "Long Day's Journey into Night".
For those who want a real epic, it can - but doesn't have to - be read as a sequel to Jean Anoilh's "Becket". Personally I found that this adds to the tragedy.
It opens during a fictional family Christmas get together that is combined with a historical meeting between Henry and France's young King Phillip. Henry's persistent humiliation of his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, through his string of mistresses has prompted her to hurt him in the only way available to her - by systematically destroying his relationships with their sons. Now Henry - although not old yet - is no longer a young man. The fact that a potentially dangerous Phillip - who has a legitimate axe to grind with Henry - is no longer a child forces them to realize that their familial intrigues have set their boys up for both internal and external disaster upon Henry's death. They make a real effort to save both their shattered marriage and their shattered children, but it may already be too late ...
The main tragedy, of course, is what Henry and Eleanor have done to their children. Richard is admirably brave but has had much of his compassion beaten out of him and replaced with brutality.
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Format: Hardcover
King Henry the Second releashes his jailed wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine, for the Xmas holidays. The two come together with their three sons, the King's mistress and her brother, Philip of France, to discuss the succession to the throne, the marriage of the mistress to the King's successor and the annexation of a rich French province to the English Crown. The thrill of the play is entirely in the words - marvellous in their scope and cutting in their execution. Scenes of sex or violence would have been superfluous - the verbal assassinations, particularly between the King and his estranged queen, take you to the grit of life itself. Do yourself a favour and rent the video - Katherine Hepburn and Peter O"Toole, and a very young Anthony Hopkins as the sexually confused Richard the Lion Heart, make for incredibly fine viewing. My all-time favourite play.
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Format: Paperback
I just bought a new copy of this play and I am so very, very happy that I did. I dashed through it and then reread my favorite parts. I hadn't read it in many years, but my respect has really grown for the playwright's wit and imagination. What an absolutely wonderful play. Of course, I love the film, but it was great fun to see how the play moves rapidly and the dialog is so biting and bitter at times. I agree with all the reviewers. Buy this play because it is a classic play with ripping dialog.
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Format: Paperback
I very much enjoy Lion in Winter and wanted to read the play for myself; I found it to be a complex delight, telling a tale of family strife, of love lost and sought, of relationships sundered, fixed, and sundered again - all in the late-12th century England of Henry Plantagenet. At only 103 pages, it is a brisk read (I read it in about 90 minutes) but in those pages is a host of wonderfully wrought language, excellent quips and postmodern fun; the play is a classic, by turns witty, humorous, and heartbreaking.

The reason I gave Lion in Winter three stars, therefore, is not because there is anything wrong with the play, but because of this particular edition of it. Random House, unfortunately, saw fit to print this book on very flimsy paper stock (flimsier than the run-of-the-mill paperback stock you see), and the cover is little better. I'm rather concerned that this book is going to deteriorate long before its time - it is very flimsy and floppy, and not quite worth the price I paid for it. If you have a desire to read Lion in Winter, I recommend you seek out a sturdier edition of the play to enjoy.
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Format: Paperback
The Lion in Winter is by far my favorite play. It is jammed packed full of dry humor and funny lines. Every person that I have introduced to the Lion in Winter has also loved it, so buy your copy today! "I know, I know you know, I know you know I know, we know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family."
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Format: Paperback
I just spent my 9th year seeing plays at the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City and we saw this play there. It was WONDERFUL! It was extremely funny and also a little sad. It gave new meaning to the phrase "disfunctional family". I can't wait to rent the movie...I love Hepburn.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good impression of the book with a TERRIBLE cover -- at no point in this play is there ever a younger man and a younger woman in the throes of passion -- it is seriously the worst cover I have ever seen on a script -- so bad that I have plastered it all over Facebook as exactly what you don't do with a script....BUT...the typeface and the impression is very good -- far superior to the poor typeface of the Samuel French acting edition...but still that cover, whoa...
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