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As a lover of good movies, I am appalled that so much of Hollywood keeps producing the dreadful opposite.
I continue to be grateful, however, that England so often produces the best – one of which I have just seen, and I do so strongly recommend this unforgettable screen triumph.
Apparently, I am not alone in this review. At the time of this writing, “The King’s Speech” had already received seven Golden Globe nominations, plus 11 Critic’s Choice Movie Awards and four Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Seventy-one years ago, I listened on the radio to the actuality of what was the conclusion to this magnificent movie.
King George VI declared that he was so deeply moved by what he termed, “my people at home and my people overseas,” during what he called “perhaps the most thankful in our history … We have been forced into our conflict … (by) the primitive doctrine that might is right.”
His Majesty concluded: “With God’s help, we shall prevail.”
I had no knowledge at that time what this masterpiece of international hope meant in its immensely moving rendition to the royal family and all of the others in government and otherwise who knew of what I have just learned for the first time in seeing this film: Since the age of 5, King George VI had a terrible speech impediment – a stultifying stutter.
“The King’s Speech” stars Colin Firth as George and Jeffrey Rush as his marvelously imaginative speech therapist. Firth’s performance should surely – if there is any degree of taste and justice left at the Academy – earn him an Oscar for best actor. He is surely the greatest I have seen in ages, and he is all the more effective in being challenged repeatedly by the portrayal of that Australian speech therapist.
I was grateful to learn that this speech therapist, Lionel Logue, who insisted on calling the future sovereign (who was a duke) by the nickname “Bertie” – actually existed. For the rest of King George’s life, they remained close friends.
Queen Elizabeth was portrayed endearingly by the notably beautiful Helena Bonham Carter. She resembled what I recall with highest estimation that young queen who insisted – with her husband – on remaining in London along with their people during all the ferocity of that Hitler aerial blitzkrieg, which was finally stopped by: “Never before in the history of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” The technicals in this cinematic triumph were so superb that in one scene, there were those Welsh Corgis that remain the favorites of Queen Elizabeth II to this day.
Among others in this superb cast, Michael Gambon was almost an identical twin of King George V.
“The King’s Speech” does not include that horrendously ill-famed photograph of George’s brother, Edward, who was to become the eighth, when on a visit he raised his arm in a “Heil Hitler” salute of Der Fuehrer.
It does show actor Guy Pierce as the new King Edward, prior to his abdication, when he makes fun of his brother George’s terrible speech impediment.
There’s also a well-performed bit part of Wallace Warfield of Baltimore, who, as we used to joke, “jumped two and got a king.”
From this film we learn that Adolf Hitler’s ambassador in London sent Mrs. Warfield two dozen carnations every day.