A King and his Microphone |
An analysis of Tom Hooper’s The King’s SpeechCindy ZhangPeriod 4Kelso2012.01.18 |
Tom Hooper’s 2010 film, The King’s Speech unravels the story of King George VI’s journey to overcome his speech impediment. As the film initiates, George VI (“Bertie”) is the Duke of York and is required to speak for his father, King George V. Intimidated by the microphone, the sound of his own voice, and the millions of eyes gazing back at him at the venue, he is unable to recite his speech without stammering. Saddened by her husband’s failure at public speaking and determined to fix his problem, Bertie’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, scouts out Lionel Logue, a private speech consultant, to coach Bertie with his stuttering. Although first unwilling to comply with Lionel’s eccentric speech exercises, Bertie soon becomes close acquaintances with Lionel and visits his consultation room frequently as his equal. As the film progresses, Bertie’s father, King George V, dies and leaves the responsibility of the reign to Bertie’s brother, King Edward VIII. Finding that he is indisposed to become king and has abdicated the throne, Bertie takes the task of kingship into his own hands. Great Britain at this time is preoccupied by the impending war and Hitler’s rising power, and Bertie is pressured by the nation’s cry for a strong leader. With Lionel’s help, Bertie incorporates peculiar techniques to facilitate his public speaking, and successfully delivers a speech to his compatriots on the verge of war. Bertie and Lionel remain close friends, and Bertie is later seen as a strong resistor to Hitler by the people of Britain.
The opening of the film aptly introduces Bertie’s speech impediment with a motif of the microphone and the blinking red light. As the film begins, the screen is filled by many shots of the BBC broadcaster’s microphone in rack focus, with the background blurred so that the microphone looks as if it is popping out from the screen....