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Final Day - Tuesday, December 27

Starring Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn




(1968, Anthony Harvey) Henry II: “Well, what shall we hang... the holly, or each other?” 1183, and it’s Christmas at the Plantagenets: Peter O’Toole’s heavily bearded king has sprung his wife, Katharine Hepburn’s Eleanor of Aquitaine, from ten years of imposed-by-him imprisonment to negotiate the succession among his sons, Geoffrey (John Castle), Richard, later the Lion-Hearted (Anthony Hopkins in his feature debut), and John (Nigel Terry: Excalibur, Caravaggio), with King Philippe of France (future 007 Timothy Dalton in his first film) on hand to kibitz – and then the scheming, backstabbing, turn-coating, shocking revelations, and nonstop barbed quips ensue. Adapted by James Goldman from his own play, Lion won three Oscars, for Hepburn (her third, and back-to-back with Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner), Goldman, and the music by James Bond composer John Barry, with nominations for Best Picture, Director, Costumes, and for O’Toole, four years after his nomination as Henry in Becket – two of his eight non-winning nominations). Eleanor: “What family doesn't have its ups and downs?” DCP. Approx. 135 mins.



“[Director Anthony Harvey] has an eye for framing and clearly knew how to inspire his cast… But we’re ultimately here for Eleanor and Henry and the mighty duo playing them, the likes of whom we’ll never see again. When Henry calls out to Eleanor, ‘You know, I hope we never die! Do you think there’s any chance of it?’ it’s impossible not to hear it as a question Peter O’Toole is posing to Katharine Hepburn. Movie stars, like kings and queens, worry over such matters, just as movie lovers, back in the day and forever on, know that for these two celluloid gods, immortality is a given.”
– Chuck Wilson, The Village Voice

“Katharine Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance as Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Peter O’Toole unleashes his angriest, most regal growl as Henry II… [The] lavish production values can be seen in full flourish in this new restoration.”
– Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

“STILL FRESH AFTER 50 YEARS. The period piece has rarely been less stuffy, less constrained. 4 (OUT OF 5) GLOBES.”
– Matt Prigge, Metro

“A towering, regal monument to the healing power of sarcasm and sniping, the things that keep us sane, from which life, dreams, are made. Intelligence curdles into bitterness and every smile is a box of knives in this most voluptuous Christmas film... Centers on a never-better Katharine Hepburn, winsome in her venom, doting over a brood of actors she helped foster, the ones she ‘raised but didn’t bear.’ There’s her husband Peter O’Toole (‘I could have made a career playing Henry II’), who greets her calm maneuvering with sweeping boisterousness and lovable volume… There’s sweaty Anthony Hopkins, learning his craft and hanging on Hepburn’s every word like the son she never had. He’d pay her back for the guidance by recreating her as the greatest serial killer of the late 20th century. And finally Timothy Dalton, who became Hepburn in all but sex, preening deliciously in every role he took. The Lion in Winter is a meal for students of language, and eerily prescient regarding the climate of most holiday dinners ‘back home.’ Everyone digs into the rich script with knife and fork as if it were a Christmas ham.”
– Scout Tafoya, Brooklyn Magazine 

– The Washington Post

DYNASTY IN THE MIDDLE AGES! Has savage catfights, drippy suitors, a fruity Peter O’Toole, even a proto-Brokeback Mountain moment. What more could one ask for?”  
The Guardian

One of the joys which movies provide too rarely is the opportunity to see a literate script handled intelligently. The Lion in Winter triumphs at that difficult task; not since A Man for All Seasons have we had such capable handling of a story about ideas. But The Lion in Winter also functions at an emotional level, and is the better film, I think.”
– Roger Ebert

“Hepburn’s accent is so peculiarly hers that we just accept it as the way she talks. And it seems proper for a queen to sound like Hepburn.”
– Pauline Kael

“As intellectually delicious as the stage play and surpassing it in depth of characterization, as well as in atmosphere and setting… Hepburn certainly crowns her career as Eleanor, triumphant in her creation of a complete and womanly queen, a vulture mother who sees her sons too clearly, an aging beauty who can look her image in the eye, a sophisticate whose shrewdness is matched only by her humor… And Mr. O’Toole is her match. His characterization is an extension of the one he created for Becket, a man delighting equally in the pleasures of the flesh and the pleasures of power.”
– Judith Crist, New York Magazine

"SPECTACULAR PERFORMANCES! Hepburn and an on-fire Peter O’Toole go at each other hammer and tongs like a 12th century version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? O'Toole almost defines larger than life as he strides through the film with energy and verve."
– Kenneth Turan

Film Forum