Anthony Harvey’s multiple-Oscar-winning “The Lion in Winter,” his lauded adaptation of the play by James Goldman, is coming back to the big screen, thanks to a carefully crafted 4K restoration from Studiocanal and Rialto Pictures.
The dazzling historical drama stars Peter O’Toole and Katharine Hepburn as King Henry II and his Eleanor of Aquitaine, a royal couple on the cusp of bloody ruin and rebellion. The film also boasts the screen debuts of both Anthony Hopkins (as Richard) and Timothy Dalton (as King Philip of France), with stellar turns from John Castle (as Geoffrey) and Nigel Terry (as John) to round out one of the most impressively casted features in Hollywood history.
“The Lion in Winter” is appropriately set during Christmastime — and you thought your family gatherings were messy — and follows the royal couple as they attempt to navigate the issue of succession, a feat made all the more complicated by Eleanor’s decade-long imprisonment, a romantic entanglement that involves both the king and a prince, and the growing sense that none of this can possibly end well.
The film picked up three Oscars, including one for Hepburn (her third at the time), one for Goldman (who adapted his own play for the screen), and one for composer John Barry. The film was only Harvey’s second feature film and, just to add another cherry on top of its already-impressive credits, was shot by beloved DP Douglas Slocombe.
New York City’s own Film Forum is playing home to the film’s brand new restoration, which should make many a cinephile’s holidays merry and bright (and bloody and weird). Film Forum will show the film for just 12 days, running December 16 – 27, with three screenings each day (save for Monday, December 19, which will only feature 2 runs). The film will also open in Los Angeles at the Nuart on December 16.
Check out the brand new restoration trailer below, available exclusively on IndieWire.