Monday, 25 February 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1968: Timothy Dalton in The Lion in Winter

Timothy Dalton did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying King Philip II in The Lion in Winter.

In Becket John Gielgud was nominated for portraying Louis VII the King of France who dealt with King Henry earlier also played by Peter O'Toole. This film is not a sequel to Becket, even though due to O'Toole's presence, and the few mentions of Thomas Becket it definitely feels connected. In Becket we saw Louis as a man mistreated by Henry, who only got his revenge in small measured ways. Here we pick up in this particular struggle with Louis's son Philip as played by a young Timothy Dalton, who is visiting Henry to discuss matters of importance to the two countries particularly over who owns what land.

Dalton actually might have the least screen time out of the main players, but that really does not matter because he tears into every scene he has with an incredible ferocity. We first see him in his public greeting with Henry where they both warmly greet one another. Dalton just like O'Toole suggests that in his eyes warmth is the last thing that comes to his mind when it comes to the other King. The public pleasantries soon go away when they retreat to a private quarters to discuss their problems much more openly than before. Dalton knows exactly how to set up his character in this scene to ensure he sets up Philip properly.

Dalton in the first personal scene between Henry and Philip portrays Philip well as a young inexperienced man who wishes to make something for himself. Dalton has a great intensity in his performance that portrays well a passion in Philip to be more than just a pawn to Henry. Dalton is strong here because he shows that Philip is attempting very much is to try to stand on firm ground with Henry, but his inexperience in the matters keeps him from doing so. He is effective in showing that Philip's distaste is obviously far deeper than just on their current negotiations, but there is a powerful hatred in him for Henry that clearly stands for their two countries history but as well from the way Henry does not treat him seriously.

Philip is absent for a great period of time until each of Henry's sons come to negotiate with him to try to steal the crown. Dalton is perfect here as he portrays Philip finally finding away to gain ground. Dalton presents a bit of an inner King come out of himself, that in at least one way is equal to Henry. When Henry's sons Geoffrey, and John try to convince him to go to war in an alliance. Dalton is great in his the ambition he creates within Philip that makes the King instantly seize on the opportunity. Dalton has a forcefulness in his confidence that would fool the brothers that he will agree to the alliance, but Dalton still shows that Philip clearly taking into account what he can do to Henry with the betrayal of his sons.

The scene is his pivotal scene, and it continues when Richard also goes to meet him, and Dalton is brilliant as he shows Philip unfold more of his plan. Dalton is terrific as Philip eases into a tenderness, and Dalton brings this warmth about suddenly but effectively. He makes entirely believable the way Richard breaks down, although again Dalton leaves just the right indication that he is still planning something by having Richard open up in this way. His plans are finally revealed when Henry appears unknowing that his sons are all in the room. Dalton's portrayal of Philip in this scene is excellent as he goes completely on the offensive against Henry and the inexperience has seemed to left.

Dalton makes Philip on the same field as Henry here particularly through his hate he expresses incisively. His hatred not only for his own treatment, but as well a hatred that stems from Henry's treatment of Philip's father. Dalton is very powerful in this scene particularly when he reveals all of the betrayals around him showing that he was only leading on everyone to exact vengeance against Henry. Dalton absolutely nails the moment as Philip reveals his full level of cruelty against everyone, as well as the very important pleasure he takes in hurting all of the men. That is Dalton's last scene but he unquestionably makes the impression he needs to with his performance standing toe to toe with Peter O'Toole, and delivering a great supporting performance.


RatedRStar said...

He is a great actor, very underated, loved him in Hot Buzz too, he is very cartoony but in an entertaining way, what did you make of him as James Bond Louis =D

Louis Morgan said...

I think he would have been a great Bond if he had been in the Daniel Craig Bond movies so to speak. He was on the right tract with his portrayal of Bond, but unfortuantely those films are rather strange in that they are both gritty and goofy.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Dalton was a terrific bond. Kind of similar to Craig.

Michael Patison said...

I agree that he was a very good Bond. He would indeed have been perfect in the Daniel Craig ones. Neither of his two films were given good storylines, so they just sort of devolved into silly movies plot-wise, which made his stoic demeanor, which would have worked just fine for Bond (as Craig's does) but just seemed off-putting, cold, and pretty un-James Bond because of the clashing nature of his portrayal and of the material he was given.

Louis Morgan said...

Well I should say I definitely thought he was a good Bond, I just wish he was in better Bond films.

Michael Patison said...

Same opinion here.

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Anonymous said...

Timothy Dalton is an exquisitely talented actor, capable of immense breadth and depth. He is sadly, also vastly underrated and as far as I know has never been nominated or awarded any major acting award.
Let us pray that before too long, he will receive that magical role with co-stars of his caliber that will allow him to be acknowledged for the tremendous talent he is.