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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

THE KING'S SPEECH

By D.E.Levine

CHOSEN AS ONE OF "THE CONTENDERS" BY MOMA

Director: Tom Hooper
Writer: David Seidler (screenplay)
Cast: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Adrian Scarborough, Robert Portal, Richard Dixon, Paul Trussell, Andrew Havill, Charles Armstrong, Roger Hammond, Calum Gittins, Jennifer Ehle, Domenic Applewhite, Ben Wimsett, Freya Wilson, Ramona Marquez, David Bamber, Jake Hathaway, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce, Patrick Ryecart, Teresa Gallagher, Simon Chandler, Claire Bloom, Orlando Wells, Tim Downie, Dick Ward, Eve Best, John Albasiny, Timothy Spall, Danny Emes, Anthony Andrews, John Warnaby and Roger Parrott
Producers: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin
Executive Producers: Paul Brett, Mark Foligno, Geoffrey Rush, Tim Smith, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein
Co-producers: Simon Egan and Peter Heslop
Co-executive producers: Phil Hope and Deepak Sikka
Associagte Producer: Charles Dorfman
Original Music: Alexandre Desplat
Running Time: 111 Minutes
Country of Origin: United Kingdom and Australia
Language: English
Genre: Drama, Biography History

In this brilliant film, Colin Firth stars as Queen Elizabeth II's father, who became King George VI when his brother David (Edward VII) abdicated the throne to marry twice-divorced American Wallis Simpson.

Taken from the true historical story about the prince's lifelong speech impediment, the film deals factually but compassionately with the story of the stuttering that plagued the King from the time he was a child prince.

Despite a real desire to overcome the impediment, and the urgings of his father, King George V, who sometimes threw him into the lion's den by sending him off to make a public speech (unsuccessfully), the young prince failed time and time again.

Already married, with two small daughters, when this film opens, the film shows a prince who never desired to be king and certainly didn't believe he could speak publicly or on the radio in an effective manner.

With his wife Elizabeth supporting him in his attempts to overcome the impediment, he agrees to study with an Australian commoner speech therapist who lacks the title "Dr." and all the "right" credentials (according to his advisers.

A lifelong friendship develops between King George and Lionel Logue, as Logue teaches him how to live with and rise above his stuttering.

The title refers to both the King's speech problems and the famous speech he gave on the radio when Great Britain entered into World War II.

Although the Prince/King's speech impediment was never hidden from the public, as far as I can remember no one has sought to tell the story with tact and empathy in a film. Not until now.

Colin Firth's portrayal is remarkable in that while actors are taught to speak smoothly and emote, he had to teach himself to stutter and to do it so that it appears as part of his normal speech.

Much of the film centers on closeups of Firth and Rush's faces, capturing astounding emotions as they take on these roles.

While this may have started out as a small art film, with the involvement of the Weinstein brothers as executive producers and the amazing performances by Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech has turned into a brilliant piece which may well earn a number of awards on both sides of the Atlantic.