Thursday, March 24, 2011

The King's Silence

Have you heard what they are doing to the Oscar-winning movie, The King's Speech? They are muzzling it!

The King's Speech, in case you've been living under a rock and don't know, is the story of King George VI of England, the father of the current queen. It is a wonderful movie about a man who was never meant to be king. But then his older brother who was meant to be king decided that he couldn't do it without the help and support of "the woman I love", the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. And so he abdicated, passing the crown along to his younger brother, Albert, or Bertie as he was known to his family. But Bertie had a serious handicap as a king. He couldn't speak publically because of a terrible stammer. When he was forced to make a public speech, it was a humiliating and cringe-worthy event. Many different therapies were tried to help him. Finally, his wife Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who died just a few years ago, found an Australian speech therapist and failed actor who had a unique approach to conquering stammering.

The wonderful story of the movie is really the developing friendship and trust between these two men - the king and the therapist. One of the ways the therapist finds to help Bertie is by encouraging him to swear, the theory being that swearing is a visceral act that short-circuits the part of the brain that considers the precise meaning of what you are saying. You don't think, you don't hesitate, you just let it fly! When Bertie finally lets go with a string of expletives, he does so without a single stutter. It is one of the most powerful moments in this powerful movie, because at that moment, we see and Bertie sees that it's really not his tongue that is tied - it's something higher up that is preventing him from using it effectively. It is the critical moment that changes everything. And now, the Weinstein Company, which produced the film, will silence that moment, in order to get the film a PG-13 rating and perhaps make a few million more dollars.

To that I say &%#$@! This is sacrilege. Not only that but it is stupid sacrilege. The movie will not be as powerful without that scene and if kids under 17 can't see it with the scene, then let them go watch Rango. Let us adults have this one. Don't silence the king.

2 comments:

  1. Dammed Puritans! :) I hope when the film is released on DVD, we will have the option of a "director's cut."

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  2. My sentiments exactly, Caroline. How dare they! And surely, the DVD will give us that option. If not, I don't think I would bother with it.

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