1968’s The Lion in Winter is based on a play and in many ways it does feel more like watching a stage performance rather than a movie. But it’s a good play with a strong cast, comprising of Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn, alongside, amongst others, a young Anthony Hopkins and an even younger Timothy Dalton.
Set in 1183, in the court of Henry II, it’s a tale of political intrigue as Henry, his estranged wife and their sons plot, collude and double-cross each other to gain advantage. It’s one long game of chess with O’Tool’s Henry and Hepburn’s Eleanor seemingly evenly matched.
It’s almost Shakespearean at times, with monologues aplenty for the two leads, who are in fine form throughout.
Score for Christmasishness
It’s set at Christmas time, although Christmas is not necessarily a central theme. There are festivities throughout and a (possibly historically inaccurate) Christmas tree is definitely visible in a number of scenes.