THE LION IN WINTER (1968)
Some two decades after Henry V, taking place several hundred years before Shakespeare’s telling of Henry V’s battles, The Lion in Winter saw another British director, Anthony Harvey, adapt James Goldman’s celebrated Broadway play set in 1183 around political intrigue involving Henry II’s successor. Goldman’s play is entirely fictional – unlike Shakespeare’s version of Henry II’s descendants which had a certain basis in fact – but that makes The Lion in Winter no less compelling a piece of fiction. Fusing a sumptuous depiction of medieval France, a glorious star cast including Peter O’Toole (as the King), Katherine Hepburn, and a young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton, not to mention a stunning John Barry score, it’s a Royal drama to remember.
The Academy thought so too; after becoming one of the biggest commercial successes of 1968, it scooped up three Oscars, including a Best Actress gong for Hepburn as Duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine.