Thursday, June 11, 2015

33: The King's Speech

Interesting background, very good performance by Colin Firth and overall a fascinating story covering the father of the current Queen as he dealt with speech impediments and how that can affect you if you're a monarch (there are not a lot of self-help books for that particular scenario, believe it or not). But why does it make the top 40? Two reasons in particular.

Firstly a comment that Colin Firth makes to Michael Gambon (who plays George V, his father) - when discussing how things are done in their family, Firth replies "we're not a family, we're a firm!"   - which frankly gives you more insight into the nature of the UK monarchy than just about any other explanation I've ever heard. Certainly today when asked to justify the continued existence of the British Royal Family, the standard response is economic: that they bring in more in tourism and other such revenue than they cost to maintain. If he really did say that back then, it was a comment far ahead of its time, but either way today it's the best way to understand the British Crown and its reason for continuing.

Secondly, the moment at the end - which I understand did not occur, but would have happened at other times - was when George VI and his wife and their two daughers go out to the balcony and wave to the crowd: that is the very beginning of the group you see today when they do the same thing. Elizabeth is of course grown up and married and has been Queen for a very long time, but her mother and sister were alongside her for a long time before they passed away, and would often be in such balcony appearances. And even though the family is now two, even three generations on, that group of four on the balcony is the beginning of what we know as the Royal Family today.

But on top of all that it's a human story, an enjoyable one and even though George VI did die so soon after the events portrayed in the film, you get the impression that it was a triumph that he was able to at least contain, if not entirely defeat, the speech issues he faced.

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