I went to see the British film, The King’s Speech. (I mistakenly believed the title was The King’s English. Personally, I think my title is more clever.) It was directed by Tom Hooper, based on a screenplay by David Seidler.
Prince Albert, Duke of York, the future King George VI (Colin Firth), suffers from a severe stammer. Since he is required to make speeches, this causes him some embarrassment. At the urging of his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), he seeks the help of a speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). With Logue’s help, George VI’s speech improves. However, his biggest test comes when he has to give a long radio address to the nation after Britain declares war on Germany in 1939.
As mediocre British films go, I found this one painless to watch. It helped that the acting was mostly very good. Firth and Rush were especially convincing. The only bad performance was by Timothy Spall as Winston Churchill. He looked as though he had a severe case of gas, so much so that I almost expected him to explode.
There was one scene in this film that really bothered me, however. When Stanley Baldwin (Anthony Andrews) resigns as prime minister, he tells George VI that appeasement can’t possibly work and that war with Germany is inevitable. In reality, both Baldwin and George VI were firm supporters of appeasement (the real aim of which, by the way, was to get Germany to attack the Soviet Union). Now, it’s one thing if people want to make sentimental movies about the British royals, but it’s another thing when they falsify history. Clearly the film’s makers wanted to make George VI and Baldwin look better than they actually were. I think it’s legitimate to ask why they would want to do that.
Also Churchill is shown criticizing Wallis Simpson (Eve Best). He wonders what Edward VIII (Guy Pearce) sees in her. In reality, Churchill supported Edward’s right to marry her. Again, one has to wonder what is the reason for this falsification.
Another odd thing is that while Logue’s children grow older during the course of the film, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret appear to remain the same age.
The King’s Speech has been nominated for twelve academy awards, including best screenplay. It seems that after all these years the colonials are still in awe of the British monarchy.