The Lion in Winter (4 stars)

The Lion in Winter

(12) 129min (Optimum DVD retail)


Still looking good 40 years on, this bawdy, witty chamber piece confined within a medieval French chateau revolves around King Henry II’s obsession with choosing an heir to his throne, and the efforts of his scheming wife Eleanor of Aquitaine and their three loveless sons to usurp the old man’s rule. Peter O’Toole was nominated for an Oscar for his blustery performance as the irascible monarch, Katherine Hepburn got her third playing a part she was herself a descendant of, and Welshmen Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton made their film debuts. Anthony Harvey, previously Stanley Kubrick’s editor, directed from a screenplay by James Goldman, brother of William, who won an Oscar for adapting his own play. John Barry provided the Oscar-winning score, and the marvellous widescreen, deep-focus photography is by the veteran Douglas Slocombe, who went on to shoot the original Indiana Jones trilogy. No extras.