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>The Actual King’s Speech

17 Jan

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If anyone, like myself, is interested in hearing the actual King’s Speech that inspired the motion picture, take a listen below. Colin Firth sounds very much like the real king. And no stutter in sight (ear)!
Very impressive, Bertie! Funny how such audio fragments from yesteryears have retained their magic. Just listening to his speech, I am transported to that time of unrest and uncertainty.

“In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself.

For the second time in the lives of most of us we are at war. Over and over again we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies. But it has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict. For we are called, with our allies, to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilised order in the world.
It is the principle which permits a state, in the selfish pursuit of power, to disregard its treaties and its solemn pledges; which sanctions the use of force, or threat of force, against the sovereignty and independence of other states.

Such a principle, stripped of all disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right; and if this principle were established throughout the world, the freedom of our own country and of the whole British Commonwealth of Nations would be in danger. But far more than this – the peoples of the world would be kept in the bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and of the security of justice and liberty among nations would be ended.

This is the ultimate issue which confronts us. For the sake of all that we ourselves hold dear, and of the world’s order and peace, it is unthinkable that we should refuse to meet the challenge.

It is to this high purpose that I now call my people at home and my peoples across the seas, who will make our cause their own. I ask them to stand calm, firm, and united in this time of trial. The task will be hard. There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield. But we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then, with God‘s help, we shall prevail. May God bless and keep us all”.

>Review: The King’s Speech

16 Jan

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When a movie is surrounded by buzz, it invariably disappoints. Luckily, The King’s Speech, a costume drama revolving a king with a stutter, escaped this tradition. Much has been said about the performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. Colin Firth, most famously known as Mr. Darcy from both Pride and Prejudice and the Bridget Jones films has often suffered criticism regarding his craft. They accused him of being cold and distant – a very English characteristic. Although I didn’t agree with them (just remember the passion of Mr. Darcy or even the unexpected frivolity he displayed in Mama Mia), he wasn’t considered one of Britain’s great actors.

But fresh on the heels of last year’s Best Actor nod for A Single Man, a film that might have breathed new life into his career, Colin has finally silenced his critics with a performance that encompasses many different emotions. At times, Bertie is vulnerable and insecure – convinced he is no king. At other moments, his angry outbursts remind us of what lurks beneath the surface. He portrays a man never meant to be king but thrust into the limelight by circumstances. When his brother, a very unlikeable fellow played by Guy Pierce, abdicates in favour of his American divorcĂ©e, Bertie suddenly finds himself king.

Naturally, kings are expected to deliver speeches and having a stammer can be a rather embarrassing business. It is evident in the beginning of the film, that many options have already been explored and none of the methods proved particularly effective. The therapist who asked Bertie to speak with a mouthful of marbles comes to mind. His wife (Helena Bonham Carter) seeks out a more reliable speech therapist and finds the eccentric Lionel Logue. At first resistant to his methods, the king eventually succumbs. As Bertie settles into his speech therapy sessions with Lionel, played brilliantly by the great Geoffrey Rush, we learn to laugh at swearwords and witness some unusual muscle exercises. 

As we witness Bertie’s growing confidence, we see (or should that be hear) great progress in his speech. But there are always those who make him nervous. He continues to struggle around his brother and whenever an official event presents itself, his stutter returns with a vengeance. Taking all these things into account, it is an unnerving moment when, at the end of his journey, he is handed The King’s Speech. We care about these characters and I held my breath when Bertie began his speech. And that’s just how it should be. The King’s Speech is a film well worth seeing with good performances all around. Notable mention to Jennifer Ehle for her commendable Australian accent in a very underused role. If Colin Firth wins Best Actor at the Oscar’s this year, it will be a very well-deserved honour, indeed.

5/5 stars