Tag Archive: katherine hepburn

The Lion in Winter

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Lately my facebook page has been filled with advertisements for The Favorite starring Rachel Weitz, Emma Stone, and Olivia Colman.

The story is about Queen Anne of England and how she was influenced by two women who were her favorites at various times.

*COMPOSITE* The Favourite GRABSThe women were in essence fighting over Anne, each with ideas of what would be best for the country.

It is a character study that is both fascinating and appalling.

I haven’t seen this movie yet but it does remind me of an older movie about a British royal family celebrating Christmas while trying to decide upon the heir to the king’s seat.

The Lion in Winter is set during the reign of King Henry II. The king is older and he has three sons wondering who will be the next king. WE know them as King Richard the Lionhearted, King John, and Geoffrey. To make everything more interesting, the Queen has been allowed to visit from her jail cell. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a dangerous woman who has tried to unseat her husband several times and almost succeeded once.

Henry and Eleanor are portrayed by Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn, two giants in the world of acting. One scene is filled with much emotion and constant stategising between these two as both try to get their favorites in place for power. There is much chemistry and fire between these two as they fight and love or just be.

Lion in WinterHenry!! was a ruthless king and Peter O’Toole gives him the right amount of passion and drive to be king. We watch him throw someone out a window and plot to make his favorite king. Katherine Hepburn give a tour -de force performance as a woman who constantly fights for her rights. But Hepburn makes her a standout woman who seems unafraid to admit what upsets her.

This movie also marks Anthony Hopkins debut as a screen actor as Prince Richard. Hopkins gives a strong performance and related the advice Hepburn gave to him regarding acting. Timothy Dalton appears as the French king.

Is this a Christmas movie? No, not really. It is set at Christmas but the family gathering is very intense with family members willing to take out the mates of their family members.

And yet there are beautiful parts of this movie with the grand entrance of the queen at the beginning. A part of me loves the dysfunction and the constant bickering. I love the grand scenes and the more intimate scenes. Even the final scene is fascinating as they make plans for the following year.

Despite being made in the 60s when there were more restrictions on movies, this one is not for kids. It has some harsh scenes and deadly outcomes. It contains adult context and should be kept for teens and older.

This is the season when kid shows and movies abound. This movie is for adults and something many of us can relate to even if our families are not royalty.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


The other night, I had a bunch of kids in the car and we started talking about silly stuff.

 For whatever reasons, I brought up running around with a leopard on a leash. (Can that be anymore dangerous than running around with my dog on a leash when he sees a cat?)

Bringing Up Baby, French movie poster, Picture from IMDb.com

The girls said “What?!?”

 That is when I said Bringing Up Baby with Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Classic movie, have you ever seen it? The girls look at me as if I am insane.

 So I go into a mini lecture about how it is one of the greatest screwball comedies ever. When you look up “Screwball Comedy” there will be a picture from that movie accompanying the story. The best part is the movie stars Cary Grant when he was young and hot.

First of all, I cannot resist that accent. Then there is his usual character — a generally decent guy. That is an attraction as well. Plus, Grant was a spot-on comedian. All you have to do is watch some of his other comedies and know that when it comes to screwball comedies, he is the king.

His Girl Friday, Picture from IMDb.com

Want a few other examples of the king? How about Arsenic and Old Lace? Or His Girl Friday with Rosalind Russell set in a news room. He is the editor and she is the top reporter. The dialogue is fast and furious and witty. 

Another great movie in the screwball genre with Grant and Hepburn is The Philadelphia Story. I could go on and on. But then I would forget about the other classic screwball comedy from that era which is My Man Godfrey starring Carole Lombard and William Powell. The story is about a new butler who completely changes the life of a very rich family during the Depression.

My Man Godfrey, Picture frm IMDb.com

It is silly and goofy. Plus the print did not age well. But for those wanting to build your knowledge of film, it is a must see. Carole Lombard really has incredible comedic chops and she looks great in those thin satin dresses. William Powell may be playing it dry in this movie but he would up the ante when he worked on the Thin Man series with Myrna Loy.

 I know you are thinking this is a detective series but listen to the dialogue and watch the action. This is sophisticated screwball comedy at its best with two of the greatest practitioners.

William Powell, Maureen O'Sullivan (sitting) and Myrna Loy in The Thin Man, picture from IMDb.com

Comedies should make you laugh and smile and feel great at the end. All of these do just that. In a few weeks, I will talk about some modern screwball comedies. If you send me a suggestion, I will be sure to mention it.

 Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world, or at least St. Anne, know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note to P.O. Box 306, St. Anne, IL 60964 or become my friend on Facebook.