Newest Review: ... Firth........as King George VI / Prince Albert, Duke of York Geoffrey Rush........ as Lionel Logue Helena Bonham Carter........ as Eli... more
Firth goes Forth!
The King's Speech (Blu-ray)
Member Name: thedevilinme
The King's Speech (Blu-ray)
Date: 05/11/11, updated on 09/11/11 (71 review reads)
Advantages: Quality Brit film
Disadvantages: Bit long
Run Time - 118 minutes
Genre - Period drama
Awards - 4 Oscars & 7 BAFTAS
Country - GB
Cert - 12a
Format - BluRay
So there it is, The Kings Speech, the most successful 'independent' British film ever, a surprise multiplex hit, to date taking over £400 million pounds world-wide from just an £8 million budget. Somewhat interestingly, the now defunct New Labor quango the Film Council poured one million pounds into the film to get the production up and going and yet saw none of the £400 million coming back, one of the reasons the Tories dumped the Council. It's extremely hard to get films made here but with Lottery funding also in the mix you would have thought it was a great chance of some good will to see some of that money come back into British film, the Harry Potter franchise as equally guilty. I understand the British Film Institute that consumed the Film Council will receive a return but nothing agreed. It really should be written in stone from now on in that big British success should help funded new movies here.
As far as the costume drama stuff goes (of which Colin Firth seem to live in) then I haven't been wowed since the Merchant-Ivory days of the brilliant Remains of the Day and Shadowlands. Who will ever forget Emma Thompsons quivering lip and the tiniest bead of sweat on Anthony Hopkins head as the two squeezed past each other in the dusty corridor to restrain from that kiss, the greatest moment of sexual tension in cinema history for me. But everyone is saying The King Speech is quality stuff and so I couldn't really blank it. Certain movies you feel obliged to watch to see what all the fuss is about, if just to support British film. That's not always good idea as The English Patient is still in my most boring top ten films ever.
The Oscar winning writer....
The author of the screenplay, David Seidler, also suffered a stammer as a child. Seidler, having heard George VI's wartime speech as a child, he (later in his adult life) had written to the Queen Mother asking for permission to use the King's story to create a film. The Queen Mother asked him not to during her lifetime, citing that the memories were too painful. Seidler respected her request and only started back on the idea as a stage play so to push for the film when she was long passed. At the grand old age of 73, Seidler became the oldest person to ever win the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award (Oscar) for this film.
Colin Firth........as King George VI / Prince Albert, Duke of York
Geoffrey Rush........ as Lionel Logue
Helena Bonham Carter........ as Elizabeth, Duchess of York / Queen Elizabeth
Guy Pearce as Edward.......as Prince of Wales / King Edward VIII
Michael Gambon.........as King George V
Timothy Spall....... as Winston Churchill
Jennifer Ehle.......as Myrtle Gruenert Logue
Derek Jacobi....... As Archbishop of Canterbury
Anthony Andrews......as Stanley Baldwin
Eve Best...... as Wallis Simpson
Freya Wilson....... as Princess Elizabeth
Ramona Marquez....... as Princess Margaret
Claire Bloom........ as Queen Mary
Tim Downie......as Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
Maya Seidler........as Mary, Princess Royal
The country has come through the Great War and King George (Michael Gambon) is on the throne, the Roaring 30s offering some hope for the country to recover. Although sound of mind at this point King George is lining up his party loving son Edward (Guy Pearce) to one day take his place. Younger son Albert, Duke of York (Colin Firth), is not king material in his fathers eyes and suffers with a stammer (a stammer is the delay trying to get a word out where as stutterers get stuck on one word...) and a bad temper born of. Albert has tried all manner of quacks to conquer his condition and the latest doctor wants him to fill his mouth with 'hot marbles' to cure his ailment.
Then along comes Aussie speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), recommended to Prince Albert by the Speech Therapist Union, wife Elizabeth, Duchess of York (Helena Bonham Carter), insisting her man gives it a go. The two men don't hit it off at first but Lionel does enough in the first session to give Albert Hope he can control his impediment, even though he storms out of that first session seemingly not to return.
With the country racing towards war with Hitler, Prince Edward still gallivanting with Wallis Simpson (Eve Best), and the Kings mental state deteriorating, Albert realizes he may yet be called upon to take the throne one day, which means he needs to get control of his stammer and so rekinde his therapy lessons with Logue. The arrival of radio means the only way the Royal Family can survive the coming new world is to stay in touch with the people through this new and powerful medium andnd that means the Duke of York will have to sound authoritive in times of war to rally the country on that radio. But will his reticence to be king be eased through his growing and unlikely friendship with Logue as both men test each others patience once again to prepare for Hitler.
Name the other two of the three films to win the Best Picture Oscar with the word 'King' in the title?
Firth is fabulous here, again playing the English gent to a tee, and special help from his wife Kate for the role, she a qualified speech therapist no less! This year it was again Firth V Jeff Bridges for the Oscar, the two going head-to-head with 'A Single Man' and 'Crazy Heart' the previous year, Bridges up for True Grit last spring, also a really good performance. The rest of the cast are flawless and the writing excellent, the two hours flying past as the tempo is also spot on. Some of these period dramas can stagnate and get rather stuffy before the bodice ripping stuff and so often off-putting for younger viewers.
With this type of film its all in the nuance and the 'performance' for top actors, a more pretentious stiff upper lip delivery always deployed, even though history suggests they were just as badly behaved as we are. And on the historical facts accuracy liberties have been taken and so if you are a history graduate then prepare to nit pick. As this movie is an Australian co-production, it was the first ever Australian film to win the Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Picture. But it's not a five star movie for me as I didn't really relate to Firths characters plight and so sympathize, and that antipodean ingredient of Pearce, the always superb Geoffrey Rush and the half Aussie director Tom Hooper (The Damned United) giving the look of corks on hats to it. Helena Bonham Carter, on the other hand, seems to have accepted she will only ever be a posh actress and so still typecast as a bonnet and bloomers gal until eccentric Goth hubby Tim Burton insists on fishnet and black gloves time in his movies.
Saying that I enjoyed the two hours and felt entertained and proud our Firth is technically the best traditional actor in the world right now. The soundtrack is also spectacular and would highly recommend this to true films fans who love all the settings and authentic period stuff. But don't expect the perfection of 'The Remains of the Day' guys.
Your BluRay player experience is as only as good as your TV and vice versa, my player second hand for £29.99! It shows. The rush to BlueRay DVD release in rental stores is fair enough if you have the kit but a lot of films are coming out that just don't need BlueRay, the release more about BlueRay being hard to pirate online. It's the same story with 3D films (especially cartons) at the cinema.
Its lots of browns and beiges here and so the BlueRay only adding clarity of pixel than any real iridescent experience. You also get the stretched picture with BlueRay that fills the screen and it's hard to get used to with some films. The BlueRay 'Special Features' seem to be the same as the regular DVD ones and so again an opportunity missed although I'm not sure what addition BlueRay brings, other than it looks spectacular in HMV on their set up but nothing like that at home.
= = = = = = = Special Features = = = = = = =
Tom Hooper purrs away over his multi Oscar winning film.
*An inspirational story of an unlikely friendship*
More behind the scenes as cast and crew talk about how wonderful it was to work with each other.
*Speeches from the real King George*
Archive recordings of the old boy getting to grips with radio.
*Interview with mark Logue*
The grandson of the real Lionel fills us in on how accurate the film was as far as his granddad was involved.
*Galleries and Production notes*
The Daily Telegraph -"Think the blazing joys of Chariots of Fire where the race is to the end of a sentence. Can it be that the British are coming?
The Independent -"It is a rare movie indeed that successfully uses empathy rather than sympathy. We feel what the character feels, instead of feeling for them"
Platform - "A conventional over-hyped picture lifted by unconventional fairly-hyped performances. Truly the m - m - most British movie ever made".
Film4 - "Top-drawer performances and a script spun from an intriguing episode in the British blueblood annals; this is a solid, slick but undeniably conventional crowd-pleaser"
The LA Times - "The threat of world war looms outside the door, but the movie is really about one man, at war with himself, and the people close to him who helped him find peace"...
Imdb.com - 8.2 out of 10.0 (124,842 votes)
Metacritic.com - 88% critics approval rating
Rottentomatos.com - 95% critics approval rating
Summary: Very British
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