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Entries in The Lion in Winter (10)

Tuesday
Dec182018

Christmas at TFE: The Lion In Winter

Members of Team Experience have been asked to share their favorite holiday film. Here's Dancin' Dan with his...

AH, Christmas! That special time of year when family gathers around the tree to shower each other with love, presents, and good tidings... and backstabbing, long-held resentments, and petty grievances! Which is exactly why The Lion in Winter is my kind of Christmas movie.

Of course families love each other. That goes without saying. But no family is perfect. For many people (I'm tempted to say everyone, but you never know!), going home for the holidays is a prospect that inspires fear and dread. You may only see these people once or twice a year, and there's only so long that certain things can go unsaid...

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Wednesday
May182016

Henry & Eleanor, Frank & Bram, and The Breakfast Club

On this day in movie related history... 

1152 King Henry II marries Eleanor of Aquitaine. Their romance is later fictionalized in the ever popular play/movie The Lion in Winter which we've written about several times

1897 Frank Capra is born in Italy. He'll immigrate to the US at five years old and become one of the most famous film directors of all time.  Across the ocean in London a public reading of Bram Stoker's new novel "Dracula, or, The Un-dead" is staged. Frank Capra never makes a movie influenced by Dracula but everyone else does.

Meredith Wilson writing music1902 There's trouble right here in River City Mason City when Meredith Wilson is born. He'll later write The Music Man but not before accruing Oscar nominations for film scoring (The Little Foxes, The Great Dictator)

1912 The first Indian film Shree Pundalik is released in Mumbai. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of movies will follow in its wake from the ever prolific Indian film industry, better known as "Bollywood". Over in the US, Richard Brooks is born and will go on to become a famous screenwriter and director. Four must-sees from his filmography: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), Elmer Gantry (1960), In Cold Blood (1967), and Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977)

1931 Robert Morse is born, becomes darling cross media actor winning 2 Tonys and 1 Emmy.

...Unfortunately Emmy, given the opportunity to reward him with a career capping statue, robs him blind decades later for his unforgettable farewell on Mad Men

1970 Tina Fey is born so that we might have 30 Rock and Mean Girls.

1985 Simple Minds hits #1 with Don't You Forget About Me" the theme song from teen classic The Breakfast Club. Oscar forgets about it in the Best Original Song category. Do you think it deserved to knock one of these songs out? Let's readjudicate the race in the comments.

Oh come on you know you want to!

Illustration to the right by Johanna The Mad

2003 Musical sensation Les Misérables closes on Broadway after 16 years and 6,680 performances. Becomes super-divisive big-grossing Oscar-winning movie 9 years later. Is nominated for Best Original Song

Monday
Dec222014

Monday Monologue: Henry II's Eulogy

Anne Marie here to celebrate the holiday with a furious monologue from my favorite Christmas movie. "Christmas movie" is a terrible description for Anthony Harvey's 1968 film The Lion in Winter, though it is technically correct. This is a political thriller of one very long Christmas night between Henry II of England (Peter O’Toole), his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine (Katharine Hepburn), and their three conniving sons as they battle over who will be the next King of England.

And you thought your family was dysfunctional.

While we've written extensively about Katharine Hepburn's Oscar-winning performance in The Lion in Winter, this Monologue Monday before Christmas I'd like to shine the spotlight on Peter O'Toole's underawarded performance as the manic, magnificent Henry II of England. The movie is filled with great dialog for the Irishman to chew on, but O'Toole's best (or biggest) moment comes midway through the film, after a midnight meeting with the King of France.

A eulogy for a king after the jump...

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Wednesday
Sep032014

A Year with Kate: The Lion in Winter (1968)

Episode 36 of 52: In which if there’s only one Katharine Hepburn film you see, make it this one.

When you take Screenwriting 101, your first lesson is the Three Act Story Structure. Act 1: Introduction. Act 2: Conflict. Act 3: Climax (and hopefully Resolution). If I were to so arrange the lives of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, it would roughly look as follows: Act 1: Eleanor and Henry II fall in love. Act 2: Eleanor and Henry fall out of love and into battle. Act 3: The Lion in Winter. 

James Goldman’s script starts in media res, with Eleanor of Aquitaine (our own Kate) and Henry II (Peter O’Toole) already at the end of two civil wars and any pretense of civility. Knives are out as everyone prepares to fight at the Christmas court at Chinon. Joining them are their three angry sons--Richard (Anthony Hopkins), Geoffrey (John Castle), and John (Nigel Terry)--and the newly minted King of France (Timothy Dalton). (That's right, Hannibal Lector shares a movie with James Bond.) What follows is the messy climax of decades of personal grievances fought on the international stage. In short, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Eleanor, Queen of England, former Queen of France, and Duchess of Aquitaine, is pure Katharine Hepburn: a perfect synthesis of part and persona. It’s Kate the Great at her greatest, channeling three decades of star power, 15 years of classical training, and one year of intense grief into a powerful performance that radiates rage and sex in a way the Hayes Code and her image had never allowed previously. Kate uses her beautifully mastered voice to chew on James Goldman’s dialogue and spit it out with focused intensity. But behind that perfect control seethes a barely contained fury, which bursts forth in beautiful surges of speech.

[more]

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Sunday
Apr132014

TCM Fest: Restorationists as Rock Stars

Film restorationists don’t feel like rockstars. But with this crowd…”

the TCM Festival is happening at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood

Mike Pogorzelski, director of the Academy Film Archive, chuckles as another round of cheers breaks out from the audience. Pogorzelski is introducing a 35mm print of The Lion in Winter that he restored from camera negative, and so far the audience has cheered for the words “35mm,” “restoration,” “Academy,” and “Peter O’Toole.” Typically, only one of those gets applause, but then TCM Film Festival isn’t your typical Hollywood film festival.

Every single film that plays at the TCM Film Festival is old. The newest film is Mr Holland's Opus, which celebrates is nineteen years old. This means that every single film, from the 35mm print of Stagecoach to the world premiere DCP of OKLAHOMA! (previously discussed), has arrived through the efforts of archivists and restorationists who preserve and revive these classics. Film restoration is usually an unsung part of the film industry, but the TCM Film Festival, with its concentration on celebrating old classics and announcing new restorations, might be the best publicity film restoration gets.

Saturday, a world premiere digital restoration of A Hard Day’s Night screened at the TCL Chinese Theater. Richard Lester’s 1964 classic was originally shot in 35mm with a mono soundtrack, which isn’t well suited to a gigantic IMAX theater like the Chinese. However, the film has been remastered to crystal-clear 4K definition and--important for a rock n’ roll film--upmixed to 5.1 surround sound, bringing the Beatles 50 years through history. Those purists who would balk at the idea of changing a classic need not fear though, this digital restoration is (great) publicity for the Criterion’s Blu-Ray release of the film later this year, which will also have the original mono option available. A Hard Day's Night isn't the only world premiere with an accompanying DVD release: Blazing Saddles, OKLAHOMA!, and others will also soon be available. In fact, with so many DVD release advertisements being made at the festival, it can feel like the commercials TCM doesn't play on its station are happening here instead.

DVD release announcements are not the only purpose of the TCM Film Festival, however. Thelma Schoonmaker was there to discuss not only her multi-Oscar-winning career, but also the career of her late husband, Michael Powell at a screening of his Technicolor masterpiece A Matter Of Life And Death. I got the brief opportunity to meet her, and I promise to write about it as soon as I stop shaking.

In addition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rolled out some of the hidden gems in its archive. One of its many growing collections is Hollywood Home Movies. Randy Haverkamp (Academy Programming Director) & Lynne Kirste (Special Collections Curator at the Academy Film Archive) talked a rapt audience through several scenes, including backstage footage from OKLAHOMA! and Gone With the Wind, and some scenes of Alfred Hitchcock goofing off with his daughter in 16mm. These are the glamorous home movies, but Haverkamp and Kirste were quick to encourage any possible collectors in the audience to see the value of even the bits of 16mm and 8mm that don’t have famous directors in them.Their presentation underlined the unspoken theme of the festival: film is our visual and cultural history, and before it disappears we need to save and spread as much as possible, or risk forgetting ourselves. Thanks to the TCM Film Festival for making that job seem a little more glamorous.

Saturday
Feb222014

8 Days Til Oscar. Peter O'Toole, The Actor Who Would Be... Nominated?

Here's new contributor Diana Drumm to talk about a man who will surely win pride of place in Oscar's In Memoriam a week from Sunday.

Crazy eights, ice-skating tricks, the infinity symbol standing upright, 8 is a fun number... unless you’re the late legendary actor Peter O’Toole.  Yes, the man who won the hearts (but not the majority) of Academy voters in his film debut as the titular Lawrence of Arabia, held his own in a televised Shakespeare discussion with Orson Welles, and bounded on and offscreen to various degrees of liquid courage would falter slightly, nay merely pause, at the mention of eight and Oscar in the same sentence. 

Your instructions: Read the following paragraph aloud or in your head with all of the O’Toole-ian gravitas you can muster, in the style of the opening of his “My Life” speech from The Lion in Winter (1968), which garnered him a third nomination for Best Actor...

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