The Lion in Winter vs The Lion in Winter

We’ve watched both versions (ie O’Toole/Hepburn and Stewart/Close) only a couple of weeks apart. What thinks Doperdom?

First I was a little surprised that that script was, as far as I could tell, word-for-word identical - normally you’d expect a little revision, I’d think. The one exception I noticed was Henry’s line “I’m the oldest man I know, I’ve got 10 years on the Pope!” became “… a decade …”; a change I saw no real point for.

Acting: O’Toole had it all over Stewart, IMO. Stewart was weirdly stiff, especially walking around - it was like he thought he had to project some sort of regal dignity or something.

However we disagreed over Eleanor - I thought Hepburn had the edge but my partner thinks Close was more real and less ‘fussy’, whatever she meant by that.

Setting: The second was was filmed in Hungary, I believe. But they used some pretty poor special effects in some outdoor scenes, quite disappointing.

Sound: my partner didn’t enjoy the first one so much because she found the sound muddy, and I have to agree - perhaps me knowing the film so well helped, whereas it was the first time for her. Neither DVD had subtitles, which is a shame for a dialog-based movie like that.

Enjoyed both but my affections are definitely for the original.

O’Toole/Hepburn in a walk. Not even close(snerk).

Haven’t seen the TV version, but John Barry wrote one of the finest film scores ever for the '68 film, so that is a huge plus in that film’s column.

Agreed. I’ve not been particularly impressed by Stewart in his turn as Claudius (“Hamlet”)…I think I can get a pretty good picture in my head of his Henry II.

Aside from that, how can one expect anyone to outdo Peter O’ Toole?

Trivia: There are two male actors, one from each Lion in Winter, who have appeared together in a completely different film. Who are they and what is the film?

While pointless, there’s no harm in that. A more substantial change was:

In the Stewart version, the last item in the list is omitted, apparently for no other reason than Bowdlerization. Even if the rest of the O’Toole/Hepburn version didn’t stand head and shoulders above Stewart/Close, the wimpiness of that omission would be enough to condemn it.

The O’Toole/Hepburn is one of my favorite movies–top 5. I had not heard of a TV version, I’ll have to look for it!

Aaaand, it’s on my Netflix queue.

I didn’t get this in under the edit window: I think that, instead of “wimpiness” it would be more appropriate to have said “the prissiness of that omission”.

Stewart was in Excalibur, and King Arthur from that movie was in the original Lion in Winter (Nigel Terry, I want to say, without checking IMDB). I remember being surprised to see him as well as Timothy Dalton when I first saw it, many years after seeing Excalibur, and many years after seeing Dalton as Bond.

Spot on.

Especially as they made no bones about Richard and Phillip’s affair. Just odd!

I thought all of the sons were inferior in the remake, but I particularly disliked Rafe Spall’s John.
Glenn Close was a lot less hammy than Hepburn, but Eleanor is a role for which hammy works. I like the new intro of the battle and Eleanor’s confinement. Both Stewart and Close had some moments I preferred to the original, and neither Carrie Underwooded themselves, and Stewart was even more believable as a man facing his mortality (O’Toole was great but too young for the part), but on the whole I preferred the original by a mile, not least because the original’s score was as much a character as the actors.

I emitted a gay gasp when I saw TROY due to seeing O’Toole and Terry onscreen together after so many years. O’Toole and John Castle had several scenes (one with swords and armor) in MAN OF LA MANCHA.

It’s been waaay too long since I’ve seen the movie, and I’ve never seen the Stewart/Close version. Thanks for the inspiration.

Presumably the difference between sex between consenting adults and pedophilia.

There is a difference, oh yes there is.

I had no idea there was a TV version of this movie. When I saw the original (when it came out) I thought it was a very energetic 2+ hours where nothing actually changed. The situation at the end, vis-a-vis the sons and Henry and Eleanor, was exactly the same as at the beginning. So two hours of family quarrels and brilliant lines, all to no effect. I found it somehow deflating. But I did love Hepburn.

“I’d hang you from the nipples, but it would shock the children!”

Well, yes. But as ahistorical in some senses as the play is, it pretty much mirrored real life in that respect ;). Henry II never did completely reconcile with the survivors among his ambitious, fractious brood and he and Eleanor never reconciled at all. Indeed she spent 16 years in confinement, until Henry croaked.

If everything had come to sort of conclusion it would have really stood history on its head.

Completely agree. The first John was annoyingly ahistorical in his likely nature ( play Geoffrey may have been the closest to the historical Geoffrey out of all the characters, though it is heresay ). But where the original character was a bit dim and cowardly, the remake John is even more exaggerated - a half-retarded clumsy oaf. Something we can be quite certain the real John was not.

Goldman later recanted his depiction of John in Lion and in his screenplay for * Robin and Marian*. He portrayed him much more sympathetically in a novel about John’s last couple of years entitled * Myself as Witness*.

O’Toole/Hepburn version is on TCM at 2:30 Central today.


I almost don’t understand if this is a serious question. The 1968 version has Katharine Hepburn who many consider the best actress in the history of film; Peter O’Toole and Anthony Hopkins who are considered among the best actors in film history. Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close are not even in the same league as Hepburn/O’Toole. Even the lower billings have poor comparisons, Rhys-Meyers is basically a model that can’t act (I liked The Tudors in spite of him, not because of him) versus Timothy Dalton? Please.

It’s all in the delivery. I love the rapid-fire back-and-forth of their interplay. It shows that the characters have been having the exact conversations and played the exact same game so often that it is the only way they know how to show that they still care for each other. O’Toole and Hepburn are brilliant together in the original film. Watched it (again) yesterday. One of my favorite films. My husband loves how beautifully filmed and directed it was.

I am curious, in an informal poll of my friends who have seen both movies there is a distinct bias towards whichever they saw first.

Is there anyone here who is the otherway around?