Thursday, January 6, 2011

“Shall we still be respectful subjects of the King?” John inquired.

Over the holiday Bart, my parents and I went to see a movie. It seemed as if it would be a challenge to find a film that all four of us would agree upon. Fortunately for us just such a movie fit the bill:
The King's Speech.
We all loved it.

The King's Speech is based on the true life account of King George VI, who had a stammer his whole life... and the one man (amid a myriad of others who tried) who had been able to help him correct it when the throne is suddenly and unexpectedly his. It has top-notch performances from Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter.

It's what I would call an "old school" movie. By which I mean (in the very good sense) nothing really happens other than excellent dialogue and 'character' driven development - all set in a visual feast. No fast paced invasions. No races. No wacky special effects. Just plain old specifically-focused storytelling. Quality stuff. I highly recommend it.

There’s just one thing I don’t understand. Especially since it’s a true story. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so suffice to say - why don’t they (the prince/King and the speech therapist) employ the method used first in the film? Hmmm. I wonder why not. Oh well.

One other note about it. My #1 fan Anon brought it to my attention and I’m glad for it. For otherwise I would not have remembered! There is a Peter Pan reference in the movie. Once my memory had been jogged I do recall smiling internally and externally when it came on... but oddly it went out of my head by the end of film. Maybe not so oddly, since it proves to be a testament to how engaging the film happens to be.

The Peter Pan bit:
The future king's wife reads from Peter and Wendy to their daughters. As an extra bonus bit of trivia-reminding (provided by Anon) Princess Margaret knew Barrie.  How very fun to nod to that part of history.

Thanks again for bringing it (back) to my attention, Anon.

And really - do see The King’s Speech. It deserves the praise it has received.

* Post title, of course, is a line from Peter and Wendy.


Jay said...

Love your blog but have never left a comment before ...However, I had to comment this time. The king in question is George VI, not Edward VI (who lived in the 16th century!). And both the present Queen and Princess Margaret knew JM Barrie well, as he was a frequent visitor and told them stories. He even made a deal with Margaret to pay her 1 penny a night as she supplied him with 2 lines for his play The Boy David. Check out Andrew Birkin's book for the full story.

Peter Von Brown said...

Thanks for telling me what a "silly ass" I'd been! The sad fact is I even had read it right on iMDB. Well, we all have moments of mental abstraction.

Also thanks for the further tidbits about Barrie and the monarchy. I certainly have read Birkin's book. ;) But not for quite some time now... bits again here and there but not in full since my scholarly pursuit of Barrie in college. And as I've said before, sometimes my memory works too much like Pan's.

Even more thanks for reading, Jay!
Glad to have you aboard. :)

Anon said...

You're welcome again! ^_^

(And I'm glad I saw this AFTER you corrected that typo!)

Jay--I was aware of that deal, which Barrie sadly never fulfilled because he died before he could do so. (I too have the book and have read from it.)

Peter Von Brown said...

Yes, well, I don't know how I had managed to make such an egregious error like that. I usually double-check spellings of names and such just to be sure. And here I got the whole darn name wrong. Not that it's an excuse, but I think I had just heard the name Edward prior to writing the post... and it got stuck in my head.

I'm going to have to find the time to re-read all of Birkin's triumphant book one of these days and refresh all this info. When I had read it in full long ago... it had been something of a 'rare' book, actually.

Jay said...

I wouldn't castigate yourself too much... I doubt many Brits nowadays would be able to say which king was which. Easy confusion anyway, as the film also features another King Edward - the VIIIth. And yes, totally agree: AB's book (and TV drama) is the best on the subject.

Jason A. Quest said...

The fact that through most of the film he's called "Bertie", "the Duke", or "Your Highness" (rather than "George"), makes it excusable that you pulled the wrong regnal name out of the back of your head.