Thursday, September 9, 2010

A king's stammer inspires a film: "The King's Speech"



The King's Speech is a new movie making the film-festival rounds, and speakers, coaches and stammerers and stutterers will all find something to watch.  The story focuses on England's King George VI, father to the current Queen Elizabeth, and his efforts to overcome his stammer with the help of an Australian speech coach.  From Wikipedia:
Because of his stammer, Albert dreaded public speaking. After his closing speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley on 31 October 1925, which was an ordeal for both him and the listeners, he began to see Lionel Logue, an Australian-born speech therapist. The Duke and Logue practiced breathing exercises, and the Duchess rehearsed with him patiently. As a result of the training, the Duke's opening address at Australia's Federal Parliament at Canberra in 1927 went successfully, and he was able to speak subsequently with only a slight hesitation.
Colin Firth plays the king, and Helena Bonham-Carter plays Queen Elizabeth (mother to the current queen).  Geoffrey Rush plays Lionel Logue, the unconventional speech coach.  But the real star here may be the screenwriter, who took some of the story from personal experience.  From the Los Angeles Times review:
As a young English child with a terrible stammer, David Seidler would listen to radio broadcasts of King George VI, who also had an almost incapacitating speech impediment. The king’s World War II addresses reminded Seidler that if the monarch could overcome stuttering, so could he: The king was his elocutionary inspiration.
Seidler grew up to become a screenwriter, writing “Tucker: The Man and his Dream” and numerous television programs, but he never forgot what he heard over the wireless so many decades earlier. He eventually adapted the story of the king and his relationship with his unconventional speech therapist, Lionel Logue, into a play, and the play has now become the movie “The King’s Speech,” which had its world premiere at Labor Day weekend's Telluride Film Festival.
Will you go see this one?

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