The Lion In Winter, In Bristol

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC The Lion In Winter, In Bristol

A newly restored version of Anthony Harvey’s 1968 multi Oscar winning historical drama, The Lion In Winter, will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray on 3rd October as part of the Vintage Classics collection.

The restoration will receive its World Premiere on the opening night of Cinema Rediscovered at Bristol’s Watershed on July 28 and forms the centerpiece of a tribute to the late cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (Whisky Galore, The Great Gatsby, Raiders of the Lost Ark) running throughout the weekend.

Adapted for the screen by James Goldman from his own hit Broadway play, the witty and intense The Lion In Winter received widespread critical and audience acclaim on its release in 1968 and garnered Oscar® wins for Katherine Hepburn (Best Actress in a Leading Role), James Goldman (Best Adapted Screenplay), John Barry (for the film’s score) and a nomination for Anthony Harvey for his Direction. In addition to Katherine Hepburn (Bringing up Baby, The African Queen), the film stars Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia, Venus), John Castle (Blow-Up, Man of La Mancha) and features debut film roles for both Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of The Lambs, The Remains of The Day) and Timothy Dalton (The Living Daylights, Cromwell).



England, the 12th Century. After the death of his son and heir, King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) is obsessed with finding a new successor, so summons his three remaining sons. Also summoned is his wife, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katherine Hepburn), who he has kept imprisoned for the last ten years. As the Royal couple scheme and cajole with their sons, their passions turn from tenderness to fury as they try to determine who should be the future King of England.

Anthony Harvey is best known for directing The Lion In Winter, but his film career began at an early age when he entered the industry as a child actor in 1945’s Caesar and Cleopatra. He then went on to became an editor, most notably on Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove, before directing his first feature, Dutchman, in 1967.

Prior to working on The Lion In Winter, cinematographer Douglas Slocombe had enjoyed a hugely successful career working on Ealing films including Whisky Galore, The Lavender Hill Mob and Hue and Cry and then had a prolific career for a further two decades on a diverse array of classic films including The Italian Job, The Lady Vanishes and the original Indiana Jones trilogy.

Slocombe’s major challenge for The Lion In Winter was keeping a cohesive look for the film, which uses a combination of classic period sets, location and studio settings, to create an authentic 12th Century atmosphere. The use of darkness, light, shadows and colour all work together to heighten the drama.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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