The King's Speech: A must-see film
The king'sspeech, or rather, stammer
The nineteen twenties and thirties were hard for Britain. The First World War was still fresh in most people's memory and there were further hardships and troubles to come.
The political rumblings coming from Europe became increasingly alarming. Gradually people were beginning to realise that another war was very possibly on the horizon.
In addition to this the Royal Family, whose duty is was to set an example to the country, was in itself in disarray.
King George V was on the throne and he and his family were the first royals to be a part of national radio broadcasting. The king gave excellent speeches as did his eldest son (and heir) Edward. Second son Bertie however, had a bad stammer.
This caused him pain and embarrassment whenever he was expected to speak in public.
Bertie's young wife was a charming woman. (You may remember her as the much-loved Queen Mother. The couple were the parents of our present queen.) She was determined to help her husband through the traumatic times he suffered through every time he had to speak in public. She was determined to solve the problem.
A royal upheaval
This problem came to the fore when the old king died and Bertie's elder brother ascended to the throne as Edward VIII. It soon became obvious that Edward was deeply in love with an American divorced woman, Wallis Simpson, and what became known as the abdication crisis began.
When Edward ultimately decided that he would give up the throne in order to marry Mrs Simpson, Bertie and Elizabeth became the king and queen of England. He was crowned as George VI.
Bertie had tried conventional speech therapists. Nothing had worked. However, Lionel Logue, an Australian therapist, was the person who finally cured Bertie's problems so that in future, he could address the nation with confidence. The film suggests a slightly different timeline to reality but nevertheless it shows the wonderful work he did creating a king who had previously been crippled by his speech problem into a confident speaker and ruler.
Why did the king stammer?
Many years ago, I had a friend who had the same problem.
He was sent to speech therapy classes. He told me that almost every other stammerer was male and that almost every one of them was left-handed.
It seems that Bertie was left-handed as a small child but, as was the practice in those days, he had been forced to write with his right hand. As a left-handed person myself, I resent the implication that we are somehow inferior :)
A wonderful addition to your DVD collection
We often enjoy re-watching this film. Maybe it's a sign of the times and maybe attention spans are dwindling, but I always appreciate seeing a great movie time and time again. This one never stales.
World War Two
The inevitable happened and war broke out. The nation needed a leader who could speak to them, encourage them and maintain their spirits and morale during the most difficult of times. The role of a monarch in wartime is to hold his people together.
Yet the king simply didn't have the ability - yet.
But on the other side of the coin, the Germans were led by a man who had a great gift for oratory, Adolf Hitler.
Hitler was many things, but there's no doubt that his stirring speeches roused the nation he led. The king had to compete with this.
The film's trailer gives you some idea of what to expect. It's a beautiful film in every way.
© 2013 Jackie Jackson