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The Lion in Winter [DVD] [1968]

Release Date:06/19/2001
Full of plots and schemes, this wordy costume drama, an Oscar winner from 1968, come to DVD with some fine results. While not without its faults, the 2.35:1 transfer, enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions, is surprising strong on all accounts. Specks of grain and occasional scratches don't interrupt this top-quality presentation, one that highlights the limited use of colors while, at the same time, gives equal balance between dark and earthy tones which comprise the majority of the surroundings. The muddy feel of the 12th century is captured almost flawlessly. The two-channel mono soundtrack in Dolby Digital isn't going to impress anyone, nor was it meant to. At times a certain amount of echo is present, and auditory detail isn't its strong point, but for the most part, there are few complaints as dialogue is clear enough. Considering this is a dialogue-driven film, that is sufficient. While not necessarily going out of its way, MGM has supplied a couple of supplements. The exceedingly dated theatrical trailer is included, but far more noteworthy is an audio commentary recorded in 2000 by director Anthony Harvey. In a typically reserved British manner, Harvey discusses a number of points about his involvement in the production, but, unfortunately, the track is marred by significant gaps. Still, his memories of more than 30 years earlier have relevance.
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    Ratings & Reviews

    Overall Customer Rating:
    100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (29 out of 29)

    Special Features

    • Audio commentary by director Anthony Harvey
    • Original theatrical trailer
    • French and Spanish subtitles


    The Lion in Winter
    The year is 1183. Like many a modern-day politician, Britain's King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) finds it occasionally useful to take his wife out of mothballs and parade her before the public. Henry's Queen Eleanor (Katharine Hepburn), long exiled to a faraway castle, is "invited" to join Henry and their three sons for a family reunion. In this way, Henry hopes to maintain a stronghold on his empire and prevent the balance of power from shifting to Eleanor or one of his sons: Richard the Lion-Hearted (Anthony Hopkins in his movie debut), Prince Geoffrey (John Castle), or Prince John (Nigel Terry). Also on hand for the get-together is Henry's mistress Princess Alais (Jane Merrow) -- who covets the King's influence -- and the Princess' brother, King Philip of France (Timothy Dalton). Despite Henry's efforts to keep his wife and offspring at arms' length (and away from the throne), Eleanor successfully reunites the brood, assuring that her power will not only be restored, but will last long after her death. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

    Cast & Crew

    • Peter O'Toole
      Peter O'Toole - Henry II
    • Katharine Hepburn
      Katharine Hepburn - Eleanor Of Aquitaine
    • Jane Merrow
      Jane Merrow - Princess Alais
    • John Castle
      John Castle - Prince Geoffrey
    • Timothy Dalton
      Timothy Dalton - Philip II of France

    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.