Friday, December 30, 2011

Know Your LGBT History - The Lion in Winter

One of the wildest, mind blowing experiences I ever had was attempting to watch the motion picture The Lion in Winter (1968) for the first time.

It was originally a 1966 play which was made into a motion picture starring Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. It received three Oscars, including one for Hepburn for Best Actress. From Wikipedia:

Set during Christmas 1183 at Henry II of England's ch√Ęteau in Chinon, Anjou, Angevin Empire, the play opens with the arrival of Henry's wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, whom he has had imprisoned since 1173. The story concerns the gamesmanship between Henry, Eleanor, their three surviving sons Richard, Geoffrey, and John, their guest, Philip II of France (the son of Eleanor's ex-husband, Louis VII of France), and Philip's half-sister, Alais, who has been at court since she was betrothed to Richard at age 8, but has since become Henry's mistress.

The Lion In Winter was a classic example of palace intrigue done in hyper mode. There are so many twists and turns that it would be best for one not to root for one character because the character would veer off in another direction and betray your sympathies by revealing themselves to be cold and venomous.

The scene below is a perfect example of this. King Philip (Timothy Dalton) and King Henry are bartering over allegiances and property. Henry outmaneuvers Philip, or so he thinks.

Philip has one trump card he plays - his relationship with Henry's son, Richard. It's a nasty scene. Imagine entering into a gay affair just so that you could use it to hurt the man's father in the future:




Historically, it is not known whether or not Richard (who later became Richard the Lion-Hearted) and Philip had an affair. However, history does hint that Richard have been bisexual at the very least.


Past Know Your LGBT History posts:


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The Jeffersons and the transgender community  
  


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1 comment:

TomTallis said...

He was probably more homo than bi-; he was married, but it's pretty certain that his wife, Berengaria of Navarre died a virgin. He hardly saw her after their wedding, although they are buried together in Fontrevaud Abbey in France.