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Monday, July 18, 2016

The Lion In Winter (2003)

It's Christmastime and King Henry II (Patrick Stewart) is having court at Chignon in France. He trots out his Queen (Glenn Close) who he keeps locked up for the rest of the time to attend. But political intrigue is the order of the day as the Queen and her son Richard (Andrew Howard) plot to wrest away the power from Henry and his designated heir, his youngest son John (Rafe Spall). First produced on Broadway in 1966, James Goldman's play is best known for its 1968 film version. That film was thought of as some sort of high Art by some when it opened when it was anything but! Goldman's rather bloated self important 1968 screenplay is replicated here intact as if it were Shakespeare. What made the 1968 film so entertaining were the two leading performances by Katharine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole who seemed to be having a great old time acting away and performing with gusto! One couldn't help but be caught up in the fun. Alas, Close and Stewart lack their predecessors' brio and their heavy handed performances lack any spark. Only Andrew Howard as Richard brings any dimension to his character. Directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy (RUNAWAY TRAIN). With Jonathan Rhys Meyers, John Light and Yuliya Vysotskaya. 

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