Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reel People: Colin Firth is King George VI

The film is The King's Speech. The film is directed by Tom Hopper, most famous for his direction of the highly praised TV miniseries John Adams. The film is scripted by David Seidler.

King George VI

King George VI was born on December 14, 1895 as Albert Fredrick Arthur George. His birth was during the reign of his great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The date of his birth was the anniversary of the Queen's husband Prince Albert, and so out of respect for the Queen and prince was given the name Albert by which is was called as a young child.

After the death of Queen Victoria, young Albert (later, George VI) would eventually become King following the his older bother Edward VIII, who followed their father George V, and his grandfather King Edward VII.

Prior to becoming King George VI, Albert attended the British Naval College where he finished bottom of his class, but still progressed and served in WWI for England. With the creation of the Royal Airforce, George VI became a member of the airforce. In 1919 he went to Trinity College for a year to study history and economics.

In 1920 Albert (George VI) met Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon who denied multiple proposals made by George VI for marriage, based on her disinterest in becoming a part of the royal family. She finally accepted and the two were wed on April 26, 1923.

Albert (later, George VI) gave a horribly famous speech on October 31, 1925 at the British Empire exhibition. The speech was criticised for Albert inability to communicate because of speech problems, including stuttering. As a result he began to see Lionel Logue, a speech therapist from Australia who worked with Albert.

Albert and Lady Elizabeth had two children during this time, Elizabeth (Libbet) in 1926, and Margaret in 1930.

After his father died (King George V), his elder brother (Edward VIII) took the throne (January 20, 1936).

Edward VIII's reign was short lived as a unmarried man with no children who fell in love with an American woman with two ex-husbands, it became clear that in order to marry his controversial love Wallis Simpson.

The reign of George VI (previously, Albert) began on December 11, 1936.

King George VI's reign is probably most characterized as having been the king during WWII, and reigning during the breakup of the empire with the independence of Ireland, Pakistan, and India.

Due to the stress of WWII, as well as heavy smoking, King George VI's health came into question, and his daughter Elizabeth took over more roles in the kingdom. George VI developed lung cancer, which led to surgery to remove a portion of his lung where a malignant tumor had grown.

Final speeches made by George VI where either recorded in pieces and edited together or read by others.

On February 6, 1952, George VI died of coronary thrombosis.

His daughter would then be reigned that same day as Queen Elizabeth II, the current reigning queen of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The King's Speech

The film tells the story of the king's stutter and speech therapy with Australian therapist Lionel Logue.

In addition to Firth playing the King, Geoffrey Rush plays the speech therapist Logue.

Also in this film is Guy Pearce as King George VI's brother (the abdicating King Edward VIII), Helena Bonham Carter plays Elizabeth (George VI's wife), while Jennifer Ehle plays Logue's wife Myrtle.

Michael Gambon plays George V, the father of George VI & Edward VIII. And Timothy Spall plays Winston Churchill.

Colin Firth received his first Oscar nomination last year with the film A Single Man. Firth's performance in this historical bio-pic has the feel of the type of film that could earn vast critical support as well as earn him his second Oscar nomination, and perhaps even a win for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?

1 comment:

Andrew K. said...

This is my most anticipated movie of the year, so suffice to say I'm loving reading any and everything that touches on it. I'm particularly anxious to see what HBC does with the role.