In vain hopes of conjuring an Oscar for Peter O’Toole, I popped in one of his best performances, with a cast that includes Oscar winner Katherine Hepburn, a young Timothy Dalton, and Anthony Hopkins.
The story is familiar and favored by Amber players everywhere. It’s 1183 and we’re all Barbarians, as King Henry II holds a Christmas Court where he invites his three children, his estranged wife Eleanor, his mistress Alais, and the young King of France together to deal with his future…and theirs.
While the DVD is a poor edition (no subtitles in a movie that relies on dialogue!), the movie crackles and spits like a fattened pig being turned over a fire. The performances are what drive the movie, characters that any viewer can sink their teeth into.
Betrayal, suspicion, double-dealing, revelations, secrets. Just your typical family gathering, right?
I have seen the remake with Patrick Stewart…but even with Stewart and Close, it doesn’t hold a candle to this one. I would love a “special edition” of this movie, with a cleaned up picture, sound, subtitles and the lot. In the meantime, there is still the version I own.
And then there are the last lines of the movie.
“I hope we never die”–Henry
“So do I”–Eleanor
“Do you think there’s any chance of it?”–Henry