E-mail this image
Lion In Winter
"The Lion in Winter"
Anthony Harvey became the first director to win the Directors Guild of America's top award who didn't go on to win the Oscar for best director. The academy bestowed the Oscar to Carol Reed for "Olivier!," which in retrospect was one of his weakest films.
Harvey, though, did a spectacular job with this tart, sophisticated historical drama penned by James Goldman, starring Peter O'Toole as the aging Henry II (a role he first played in 1964's "Becket") who reunites with his estranged wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine (Hepburn), on Christmas to pick an heir to the throne. And what a group of ninnies they have for sons -- Richard the Lion-Hearted (Anthony Hopkins in his first film), Prince Geoffrey (John Castle) and Prince John (Nigel Terry). The film is remarkably free of the pomp and circumstance typically seen in such period pieces. The castles are dirty and dank. The royals eat like pigs and are far less clean than boars.