"DianeL" wrote:There's also acres of fun to be had with the Hepburn/O'Toole version, watching Katherine Hepburn say the most SCANDALOUS things about Geoffrey Plantagenet and her nipples. Oh yes. I said nipples.
I've now seen the 1968 movie as well. I thought it was great. Yes, all the hilarious lines that I saw in the play are there in the movie and it would be difficult to miss the humour. However, as a movie, with no audience to play to, it is played a bit less obviously for laughs and you have to catch yourself: did she really just say that?
The cast is overall excellent in the movie - and the younger characters were played much better than in the theatre production I just saw.
I was interested in the ages of the actors and did a bit of research. In 1968, Katherine Hepburn (playing Eleanor) was 61 and Peter O'Toole (playing Henry) was 36.
This seems a bit mismatched. BUT, Henry is supposed to be 50 at the time (he says so explicitly at one point) and Peter O'Toole certainly looks around that in the movie; presumably they aged him up subtly. Eleanor was about 11 years his senior, so Katherine Hepburn is actually spot on for that.
Anthony Hopkins (playing Richard) was 31 in 1968, which makes him not much younger than the actor playing his father. Richard would have been about 25 or 26 at the time, so Hopkins looks a little older than that, but it generally works.
Timothy Dalton is a revelation in his first role as Philip of France.
I was wondering, after seeing the current theatre production, how overt the sexual history between Richard and Philip was in the original play and in the 1968 movie. In the play I saw, it was pretty full-on, but not done convincingly: all the innuendo leading up to it was lost unless you were on the lookout for it, so when it materialises, it's a bit weird. However, I was somewhat surprised to see how upfront the 1968 movie was on the subject and it's clearly a plot element that isn't shied away from. All in all, the movie is quite racy, though more in dialogue than action.
Coincidentally, at our HNS London chapter meeting this weekend, we had to give examples of Christmas scenes in historical fiction. So it was quite topical that I'd just seen this play and movie and quoted some of my favourite lines from it. Of course, it is ridiculously anachronistic in its depiction of Christmas. There's a big Christmas tree and decorations and Eleanor's busy wrapping presents for all the family and attaching gift labels and putting them under the tree. I'm no expert on the history of Christmas celebrations in England, but I'm pretty sure this isn't accurate for 1183! But, then, I don't think James Goldman was unaware of this and wasn't bothered on this point.