The advertisement the mass circulation Sun Herald (19/12) for the advance screening that evening of the long awaited film, The King’s Speech, at the Verona in Sydney carried the words in block letters, "SOLD OUT!"
The film is superb: it is indeed a” ’must- see”. Colin Firth plays The King; he is emerging as the Olivier or Gielgud of his day – he is a magnificent actor. Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, Helena Bonham-Carter as The Queen, the Australian Guy Pearce as King Edward VIII later the Duke of Windsor and Derek Jacobi make up a first rate cast.
The film tells the story of how King George VI, with the help of a remarkable Australian, Lionel Logue, overcame a nervous stammer not only to deliver a crucial address on the eve of that country’s entrance into World War II and to be able to regularly communicate with the people of the United Kingdom, and the British Empire, the Commonwealth and indeed the world, including especially the countries occupied by the Nazis and their Axis collaborators.
The film of course takes a certain licence, and there are some errors. For example Stanley Baldwin would never have informed The King that as a result of his resignation, Neville Chamberlain was now Prime Minister.
…our brave and honourable King…
But the film confirms what Australians alive at the time knew: King George VI was a brave and honourable man, who gave the Commonwealth leadership when we were almost alone in the world against the forces of darkness.
The effect of his measured voice coming across the short wave was an inspiration to the armed forces and to the civilian population, not only in the Commonwealth but in countries under occupation and in the neutral countries yet to join us.
It may be difficult for those not alive then to appreciate the loss which Australians felt on his untimely death, with the sure knowledge we had that this was hastened by his constant attention to duty and his determination never to flee and never to surrender.
My advice to those who see the film is to read, before or afterwards, not the book of the film, but the book which complements the film.
This is The King’s Speech by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi. Published by Quercus Publishing Plc, it also draws on important information not available until after the story had been filed. Months after the film was completed, a considerable cache of Lionel Logue’s letters to and from The King, manuscripts and press cuttings were found.
This book can purchased at a special price – at the time of writing A$15.64. This price is free of taxes and postage and comes at a substantial discount. Just click here.