Free Essay

Kings Speech

In: Film and Music

Submitted By k2datic
Words 1452
Pages 6
I recently went to see the new film The King's Speech. Despite the improbable subject matter, an English king from a bygone era struggling to overcome a speech impediment, the movie appears to have touched the hearts of middle-America. Personally I was very moved by the film and the true story it portrays. It's British filmmaking at its best.

And yet notwithstanding my enjoyment of the film, I found Colin Firth's performance as King George VI difficult to watch. Not because it was anything less than very fine acting indeed, but because it reminded me of many childhood days spent sitting across the kitchen table from my father, waiting patiently as he, like his monarch, wrestled with an often paralysing stutter.

To have something to say and not be able to say it can only be excruciating, and yet it is something that an estimated 65 million people worldwide have to deal with every day of their lives. It's little consolation to know that kings can suffer as much as commoners, or that some notable orators, including Winston Churchill and movie stars such as Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt have had the same problem. If you stutter, life is different for you. Simple things that the rest of us take for granted, like telling a joke or addressing a group at work, giving a speech at your child's wedding, become potential minefields of embarrassment. No wonder my father had a short fuse. For him daily dialogue was an ordeal... frustration was a way of life.

With any other condition one would have expected that treatment would have been sought, diagnoses made and preventive options discussed, but in the 1950s and 1960s, stutterers suffered in silence. My father's stutter was never discussed. We became accustomed to it and tried not to think of it as anything unusual. Some days it was negligible and I would entertain a ray of hope that perhaps it was merely a passing thing... something he might grow out of. Then the next day it would be back, and worse. Simple statements blocked up in his mouth. One of us might unwittingly make things worse by hurrying him into what we thought he wanted to say.

I don't mean to paint a portrait of unalloyed gloom. My father was liked by his friends and colleagues and was considered something of a character. We had happy holidays together and Christmases enjoyed by all, except when we gathered round the wireless radio to hear the King read his annual Yuletide message -- his obvious difficulty seeming embarrassingly close to home. But by and large there was less relaxation in my father's life than there should have been. Jimmy Stewart dealt with his stutter openly and elegantly -- it became a charming part of his persona. In my father's case it was just an impediment, provoking bouts of self-directed anger that spilled out onto those close to him.

A few years after my father died, John Cleese, who had known him, told me he was writing a new film in which one member of a desperately dysfunctional gang of crooks had a stutter. He asked if I could help him understand how a stutter worked and where it came from. So "Ken Pile", with his bad haircut and rudely tight trousers, was born. Despite murdering dogs when he was supposed to be murdering their owners, Ken was the most sympathetic member of the gang, and though bullied because of his stutter, he rose up against his tormentor and squashed him with a steam-roller.

One of the by-products of the film's success was something that never happened when my father was alive. People began to talk about stuttering. Some stutterers thought Ken's character was merely cruel, others were quite tickled that a stutterer figured so prominently in such a widely-loved film. And that he had a chance to wreak such dramatic revenge on those who had mocked his affliction. But it was another four years before the most unexpected legacy of A Fish Called Wanda came to pass.

I was contacted by a man called Travers Reid. A successful businessman and a very funny, warm and delightful man. He had a stutter. He introduced me to Lena Rustin, a tiny power-house of a woman who was also an experienced speech therapist. They asked if I would support the establishment of a clinic in London for the specific treatment of stuttering in children.

My father's silent suffering came immediately to mind. Here was just the sort of thing that might have changed his life. A therapy that aimed to identify a stutter from the first moment it manifests itself, which can be as early as three years old. I agreed, and five years after "Ken Pile" first stuttered in A Fish Called Wanda, the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children opened in the Finsbury Health Centre in Central London. We had one full-time and one part-time therapist. And there was nowhere else quite like it in Britain.

Nearly eighteen years later the Centre has ten full-time therapists, has changed the lives of many hundreds of children for the better, and in 2008 was given a half a million dollar vote of confidence by the UK government, to extend the expertise of the London Centre across the country. Discussions are now underway to create something similar in the north of England.

There is nothing I am more proud of in my life than the establishment and success of the Michael Palin Centre, though all the really hard work has been done by others. A team of highly competent, wonderfully patient, extraordinarily devoted therapists have been supported by the very best management and the generosity of many fund-raisers. The invaluable political clout of a senior government cabinet member with his own experience of stuttering, led to the securing of unprecedented government backing for the work of the Centre. From the USA, the Stuttering Foundation and its President, Jane Fraser, have given us their magnificent support to continue and expand our work.

At the core of Lena Rustin's therapy is the involvement of the family. Without their participation the stuttering child feels isolated and it is only with their participation that it is possible to fully understand where and how the stutter has arisen and can be treated. To meet the parents who have come to the Centre and to see hope where there was once only fear and anxiety is both deeply moving and greatly encouraging. And to sit in on therapy sessions and see groups of bright, clever, funny children sitting together to discuss their own experiences of stuttering is inspiring.

The success of the Michael Palin Centre in London is of course only a small part of the work still to be done worldwide in helping those who stutter and we must never think that this particular battle is won. It has been estimated that one in every hundred people suffers from a stutter at some time in their life. This affects over 600,000 people in my home country and approximately 3 million sufferers in the USA. The demand for therapy and care far outstrips supply. Schools and workplaces need to know far more about how to recognize the problems of stuttering, and all children and parents affected by this cruel affliction deserve the benefit of access to a center like the one we have in London.

The cause for real hope and celebration is that attitudes have changed. Stuttering and all the problems that go with it need no longer be suffered in silence. Today there is every possibility that the lives of stutterers need not be forever blighted, as my father's life was, by the fear of failing to speak. Fifty years ago stuttering meant tight, tense, evenings around the kitchen table. It was a painful embarrassment and something that was, quite literally, left unspoken. Now, thanks to a powerful film, the topic is on everyone's lips.

It is inspiring to think of some of the prominent actors and singers of today who have conquered the affliction of stuttering. Many of those who have received the accolade of an Academy Award ® nomination or victory in recent years were once struggling to be heard. Before they found their voices, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, James Earl Jones, Harvey Keitel, Eric Roberts, Samuel L. Jackson, Carly Simon and many more, had some of my father's problems.

If The King's Speech instills hope in those who suffer from stuttering and galvanizes the rest of us to do what we can to help, then it will have achieved something even more valuable than its deserved Oscar nominations.

Similar Documents

Free Essay

The King´S Speech

...BRITFILMS STUDY GUIDE: THE KING’S SPEECH Great Britain, Australia 2010, 118 min German certification: minimum age 12, recommended for 14 years and over director Tom Hooper script David Seidler (based on the book The King's Speech – How One Man Saved the British Monarchy, by Mark Logue) cinematography Danny Cohen editing Tariq Anwar music Alexandre Desplat featuring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle and others What THE KING'S SPEECH is about One day the speech therapist Lionel Logue receives an unexpected visitor in his simple consulting rooms in Harley Street: his new patient is no ordinary citizen, but Prince Albert of York, the second son of King George V. Logue’s task is to help him overcome his stutter. But it is only after initial hesitations – and a few outbursts of fury – that the prince agrees to try out the unusual methods of the Australian-born therapist. As soon as Logue, however, begins to seek the cause of the speech problems in private relationships, Albert breaks off the treatment. After the death of George V, however, when Albert’s older brother is unable to assume the office of king because of his relationship with an American divorcée, Albert unexpectedly become the heir to the throne. Now he needs Logue again after all, if he is to live up to what the British citizens expect of their king, and fulfil his duties – including the radio......

Words: 871 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Kings Speech

...Special Documents Speech Delivered by King Leopold II to the Missionaries Journeying to the Congo in 1883 (This speech reveals the motives and methods of colonialism. It shows that the relations between the former colonialists and the formerly subjected peoples has not changed in substance but in its sophistication.) ….Revered Fathers and Dear Compatriots; the task asked of you to accomplish is very delicate and demands much tact and diplomacy. Fathers, you are going to preach the Gospel, but your preaching must be inspired by first, the interest of the Belgium government state. The main goal of your mission in the Congo is not to teach the Negro the knowledge of God, because they already know him. They talk and commit themselves to their God. They know that killing, stealing, adultery and blasphemy are not good. Your role essentially will be to easily facilitate the task of the administrative and industrial personnel. That is to say, you will interpret the gospel in a way to protect and serve the interest of Belgium, in that part of the world. To do so you will see that our savages be not interested in the riches that their soil possesses in order that they not want them. Thus, they be not involved in murderous competition with us and dream to live a luxurious life. Your knowledge of the scriptures will help us to use special text that recommended the fidels to love poverty such as, “The Beatitudes”, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the Kingdom”; “It is......

Words: 797 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Brave Heart and King Speech Movie Comparission

...Brave Heart and Kings Speech, might be centuries apart but for me are the most historic and state mental movies ever produced. The characters have all done justice to their roles; the storyline is a tremendous piece of art that cannot be replaced by any other movie. Both have their own stands and relate to situations in different times and conditions. The two have many common grounds and share themes that are portrayed in different scenes through different perspectives. The movies mostly revolve around the idea of standing up for oneself and not giving up, whoever the enemy might be. Patriotism is portrayed in Brave Heart when Mel Gibson's character William Wallas refers to the cavilary as "sons of Scotland." They agree to fight against an army almost double in size, armor and men. This battle is won. In Kings Speech the King, is coping with a stammer to deliver a speech which is his first wartime radio broadcast on Britain's declaration of war on Germany. The struggle required to overcome the fear of stammering and of rejection is calmed down by the support of his friends and family. In Brave Heart love is a key theme, the movie beautifully portrays that intense love can make you go lengths you never wanted to go, change decisions like William decides to fight and rebel once his love, wife is killed for abstaining the soldiers from raping her. He starts a revolt against the most powerful men and dies trying. Love, an emotion that can help you through any stage of life...

Words: 1038 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

The Kings Speech

...Video Review Derek Johnson The Kings Speech Topic, what was this about? The Kings Speech takes a completely different view on a typical war movie. With the threat of World War II, and Hitler at the height of his popularity, this movie is focused on King George VI and his “mechanical difficulties of speech.” Not even able to tell his daughters a bed time story, Queen Elizabeth seeks out help from a different type of speech therapist, by the name of Lionel Logue. (Not doctor!) The movie focuses on the bond these two begin to share and the progress that the King is making with his stammer, ultimately ending with the King having to unite Britain with a wartime speech. When did this take place? This film took place right before the start of World War II, and his wartime speech was dated in 1939. Where did this take place? This took place in Britain, mostly in the castle and at Lionel Logues studio. Who are some of the main people? This film mainly focuses on the relationship between King George VI (Bertie) and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Bertie’s wife, Queen Elizabeth is also a supportive character. There are scenes with Hitler giving speeches (in which Bertie seems jealous of his speaking abilities), Winston Churchill being in a meeting (claiming he had a stammer as well), and his brother King Edward VII. Why did this event happen? Bertie’s brother, King Edward VIII had to step down due to controversy regarding his relationship......

Words: 537 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The Kings Speech

...The Kings Speech Filmen handler om kong George den 5 søn, Duke of Youk også kaldet Bertie, Han er yngste søn af Kong George V. Bertie stammer og har svært ved at tale for store forsamlinger. Det er et stort problem da Radioen er kommet og alle taler til folket bliver bragt live.Bertie prøver at søge hjælp alle steder, men intet hjælper. Hans kone Merthel ( duchess of York) finder Lionel Louge an Australian speech therapist in London. De tager der hen og Bertie er meget skeptisk men går til sidst med til at optage oplæsningen af shakesbears ”to be or not to be”, mens han høre klassisk musik gennem høre telefoner. Han går i vrede og høre ikke optagelsen, han får den med hjem som gave.Senere lytter han til optagelsen og finder ud af at han har læst en tekst op uden at stamme. Dette er begyndelsen på en lang personlig rejse for Bertie. Han vender tilbage til Lionel Louge, de samarbejder intens på at få Bertie til at stoppe med at stamme. Det virker og han lære at tale uden stammen. Berties far kong George V dør i januar 1936 og hans ældste søn Edward over tager tronen. Og udnævnes til kong Edward VIII.Dette er ikke uden problemer, da Kong Edward den VIII, er for elsket i den amerikanske Miss Simpson, som står for at skulle skilles for 2. gang. Det er ikke tilladt i det engelske kongehus at en konge gifter sig med en fraskilt kvinde. Og da heller ikke en kvinde som efter sigende modtager 17 nelliker om dagen fra Hitlers næst kommanderende.Kong Edward VIII, vælger at gå af som......

Words: 437 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

King Speech

...king Mikke T. Reyes July 5, 2012 BSE 2 1 King’s Speech Ang palabas na King’s Speech ay umiikot sa kwento ng isang hari na may problema sa pagsasalita sa harap ng maraming tao dahil sa siya ay utal sa pagsasalita, nakakabawas ito sa kanyang confidence. Noong humarap ang bidang si Berty sa publiko nakita ko sa kanya yung pagpapanic, takot, at hiya. Naipakita sa palabas ang pakiramdam ng isang tao na utal sa pagsasalita. Hindi man ako ganoon ka-utal pag nagsasalita sa harap ng maraming tao, nakita ko ang sarili ko sa kanya, dahil ako rin ay kinakabahan at ninenerbyos kapag ako ay nagsasalita sa harap ng publiko. Iniisip ko lagi kung ano ang sasabihin at iniisip sa akin ng aking mga tagapakinig. Iniisip ko kung sila ba ay natutuwa o naiinip na. Sa palabas din na ito, may therapist na nagtuturo kay Berty ng mga dapat niyang gawin upang maiwasan ang pagkautal at pagkatakot niya sa pagsasalita sa publiko. Ngunit sa huli nalaman na ang therapist niya ay hindi totoong therapist. Para sa akin, ipinakita doon na kahit sino man, therapist man o hindi ay maaring makatulong sa atin. Para sa akin, ang nagsisilbing therapist ko ay ang aking mga inspirasyon gaya ng aking mga magulang at mga kaibigan. Dahil pag ako ay nagsasalita sa publiko, kahit alam ko na ako ay kinakabahan iisipin ko lang sila upang mabawasan ang kaba ko, ang iniisip ko na lang sila ang nakikinig sa akin. Pero sa kabilang banda, naisip ko na pwede rin na gawing inspirasyon ang mga tagapakinig, iisipin ko......

Words: 347 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Martin Luther King Speech and Letter Analysis

...Letter From Birmingham Jail Vs. “I Have a Dream Speech” The first way that a “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and “ I have a Dream” differ are in their intended audience, as one is intended for a group of white clergymen while the other is intended to rally a large group. This difference in audience and how Dr. King chooses to appeal to each of his audiences causes for the choices in language and the purpose of “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and “I have a Dream” to differ. “Letter from Birmingham Jail” is addressed to white clergymen, and the purpose of the letter is to defend the demonstrations that were taking place. As Dr. King is trying to defend the demonstrations to these white clergymen, his language choice is quite interesting. One brilliant way that he chooses to defend the demonstrations is by appealing to the white men through his choice of Anglo terms. For instance, in the letter, Dr. King writes, “Just as the prophets of the eighth century century B.C. left their villages and carried their “thus saint the Lord” far beyond the boundaries of their home towns…I am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town” (King). This choice of wording makes Dr. King’s argument stronger since as these white men disagree with Dr. King and his form of peaceful protest, the white clergymen will not be able to argue back because he is using religious references that if the white men chose to argue against, it would make them look like hypocrites......

Words: 1811 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

King Speech Essay

...Xiao Yu The King’s Speech Writing 2 Professor Cummings Responsibilities of a king are numerous, but above all, a king is there to protect and speak for the people. Although the power a king has is limited in modern time, the king is still the face of the nation and represent the people. The king must address the nation during important events such as the entering of a war. In “The King’s Speech”, Prince Albert, Duke of York, is faced with speech difficulties that prevent him from making a suitable, public figure. Prince Albert, also known as Bertie, visited many speech therapists but had seen little result in improving his “mechanical difficulties” (King’s Speech). Elizabeth, the supportive wife, played by Helena Bonham Carter, sought out an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue. Lionel, played by Geoffrey Rush, understood the circumstances with treating royalty, but knew it was necessary to step outside the standard edict in order to help Prince Albert conquer his stammer. The opening scene start with Bertie’s first broadcast at the closing season of the Empire Exhibition. With his severe case of stammer, Albert struggles to make only a few orders during his speech; the scene makes it evident to the audience that the Duke of York was incapable of public speaking, none the less make important announcements. Being the caring, worried wife, Elizabeth seeks the aid of Mr. Lionel Logue. After several sessions, Lionel realized that he must be seen as a friend......

Words: 992 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Martin Luther King I Have A Dream Speech Pathos

...Martin Luther King Jr. was a very influential speaker during the Civil Rights Movement. Kings “I have a dream speech” impacted the country by speaking volume so people on many different levels. He spoke about the injustice in the country and how white and black people were not treated the same. King spoke in a very authorative tone that did not only African Americans but Caucasian people as well. He was very passionate and persuasive with his words by getting those certain people to consider that injustice was wrong. King appealed to everyone’s logic by using examples from the Constitution and his own experiences. He persuaded people to treat African Americans like they were humans and with respect. He adequately uses pathos in his speech. He impacts the public by using pathos to connect with their personal...

Words: 656 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela Speech Similarities

...Martin Luther king jr. And Nelson Mandela two of the civil rights greatest leaders they both used superb word choice with Mandela using some of the same words King used 30 years earlier they also spoke of peace and freedom for their two country's and for the world. The speaker, one of the world's most recognizable black leaders, was addressing a joint session of the U.S. Congress when he quoted America's top civil rights leader. "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last," Nelson Mandela said to a standing ovation, quoting words delivered in a speech whose 50th anniversary comes next week. Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. never met but they fought for the same cause at the same time on two continents. Mandela said he was prepared to die to see his dream of a society where blacks and whites were equal become reality. King was assassinated in 1968 while working for that same dream. Mandela spent 27 years in prison during white racist rule in South Africa. Released in 1990, he went on to become president and shared the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize with the white South African president, F.W. de Klerk. King won his Nobel Peace Prize nearly 30 years earlier. Mandela traveled to the United States after he was released and he spoke at Yankee Stadium, telling the crowd that an unbreakable umbilical cord connected black South Africans and black Americans. There was a kinship between the two, Mandela wrote in his autobiography, inspired by such great......

Words: 1095 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Rhetorical Analysis Of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Speech

...but the community battle goes on.”(Dorothy Day) “I have a Dream” by Martin Luther King Jr. is the most compelling speech. He used figurative language to help support his dream that all men will be able to be given the same treatment. Blacks won’t be satisfied until they are free. Martin Luther King Jr. uses imagery and diction to get to this point. This speech impacts all of American’s lives”...unspeakable horrors of police brutality…” (King, p2). This is diction because he uses words like unspeakable to explain that no one has any words to say about what the whites are doing and why they are doing it. “Negro in Mississippi cannot vote…”(King, p2). This is an example of imagery because it gives an example of where(Mississippi) and what(Blacks...

Words: 522 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Martin Luther King Speech

...April 16, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter known as the “Letter from Birmingham City Jail.” The letter, as well as his jailing, was a result of white clergy who disagreed with non-violent protesting to end racial segregation between the everyday African American and white American. In this letter, King launches the reader into a journey of emotions by introducing a different point of view to the eight clergy authors of “A Call to Unity.” Through use of selective diction to exhibit powerful imagery, King highlights why he felt so strongly towards the situation at hand. King displays an agonizing and heart shredding scene when he writes "when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your brothers and sisters at whim" (King 124-126). The reader's mind quickly absorbs the sorrowful diction "vicious mobs," "lynch," and "drown" to create an image equivalent to one from a scene of a horror story where colored men and women of all ages are hung and drowned against their will for, simply, being colored. While white men and their families lived in a blossoming world of fantasy where they reigned superior, day to day, a colored family was terrorized in a nightmare. Painful and traumatizing, this incident was only a snapshot of the dreadful film each of them suffered through. King portrays an astounding visual image in an abstract point of view when he clicks the reader's mind to one of a young colored female. When King writes, "ominous......

Words: 713 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Movie Review- King's Speech

...Movie Review: The King’s Speech The King’s Speech relates to this course by showing someone who struggles with presenting speeches in front of large crowds of people, eventually gets over his fear and accomplishes his goal by giving an amazing speech. I’m almost for certain that more than half of my public speaking class is afraid to give a speech in front of people due to nerves. To me, giving a speech in front of people makes me nervous and scared. I feel like the King George VI because I tend to mumble and move around a lot when I give speeches. If I were in the King’s situation I would seek help just as he did. But instead of freaking out all the time, I would practice my speeches and try to find different tactics that would help me remain calm while I’m presenting. This movie makes me believe that public speaking is intimidating. But with a composed attitude and a straightforward speech I will be able to tackle the nerves and give a worthy speech. To form a good impression on the listeners I have to make eye contact with the audience members, speak slowly and loud, take pauses when needed, and show appropriate facial emotions when I’m sincere about what I have to say. When preparing my speech I have to create an introduction that gets the audience’s attention, so then they will become interested in what my speech is about. Seeing the King’s speeches fail made me realize that I should take appropriate actions when feeling apprehensive. I should act confident, know......

Words: 338 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Zdsvfs

...writing is a complement to speech or spoken language. Writing is not a language but a form of technology. Within a language system, writing relies on many of the same structures as speech, such as vocabulary, grammar and semantics, with the added dependency of a system of signs or symbols, usually in the form of a formal alphabet. The result of writing is generally called text, and the recipient of text is called a reader. Motivations for writing include publication, storytelling, correspondence and diary. Writing has been instrumental in keeping history, dissemination of knowledge through the media and the formation of legal systems. As human societies emerged, the development of writing was driven by pragmatic exigencies such as exchanging information, maintaining financial accounts, codifying laws and recording history. Around the 4th millennium BCE, the complexity of trade and administration in Mesopotamia outgrew human memory, and writing became a more dependable method of recording and presenting transactions in a permanent form.[1] In both Ancient Egypt and Mesoamerica writing may have evolved through calendrics and a political necessity for recording historical and environmental events. H.G. Wells argued that writing has the ability to "put agreements, laws, commandments on record. It made the growth of states larger than the old city states possible. It made a continuous historical consciousness possible. The command of the priest or king and his seal could go far......

Words: 263 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

King James Persuasive Speech

...Charles Stuart was conceived June 19, 1566 in Scotland. Before James achieved one year old, his dad, Lord Darnley, was killed. His mom, who he never knew, Mary Queen of Scots, then rose to the Scottish throne. She was compelled to venture down from her rule in 1567. This left her child James being delegated King James VI of Scotland when he was just thirteen months old. In 1587, James' mom was detained and later executed for joining in the plan to kill her cousin Queen Elizabeth (Cowley, 69). Ruler James, who was androgynous, hitched Anne Oldenburg of Denmark. They had nine kids, yet tragically, two passed on during childbirth. They named their other seven youngsters Henry, Elizabeth, Margaret, Charles I, Robert, Mary and Sophia Stuart. King James was raised by four coaches. George Buchanan was a standout amongst the most compelling. Due to Buchanan's strict showing techniques, King James got to be a standout amongst the most mentally inquisitive men who ever sat on any throne (Cowley, 70)....

Words: 1555 - Pages: 7