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The King's Speech
Transcript of The King's Speech
Camera Angles and Shots
Music and Sound
Costume, Props and Casting
The Significance and Context of this Scene
Mise en scene
By: Cheerie Tan, Sophie Daddo-Langlois, Emma Arrigo, Saskia and Selina Schneider
This scene is the King's speech where he announces that his country will go to war against Germany. This speech is the one that will motivate and inspire his nation, who put their complete trust in him and therefore rely him. It is also the climax of the film, and the moment of truth to see if the speech therapist has helped Bertie talk without a stammer.
-This scene features several close ups of Bertie as he delivers the speech, including shots of him with his face partially obstructed by the microphone. However you can still clearly see his eyes and therefore his struggle. It is also at eye-level which makes it easier for the viewer to relate to Bertie and understand his feelings. These shots show Bertie as Lionel would be seeing him, which gives the viewer a similar relationship to Bertie.
-Throughout this scene the camera cuts between Bertie and Lionel which shows how this is a challenge and an achievement for both of them.
-Dispersed between these two are shots of Bertie's audience.
-These alternating close-ups give us a feel of claustrophobia and tension, which would also have been felt by Bertie in this situation.
-There are medium shots of the audience, including the parliament, his family, soldiers, and Lionel's family, all very important people in the film.
-This underlines how significant this speech is to the country and its people.
-This scene does not feature any long shots because these do not offer any emotional depth or connection to the characters.
This part of the film is the ending scene where Bertie is giving his first wartime speech to his citizens. It is the climax of the film as he overcomes his stammer and shows his leadership abilities. It featured scenes or cuts from areas mainly located in the Buckingham Palace, but also sections of other parts around England as the camera moved to people like the parliament and the soldiers. The time frame includes the 1936 abdication crisis and Britain's declaration of war with Nazi Germany in September 1939. The mood in the scene is suspenseful until after his speech, were it is celebratory.
The colours of the background in the room are mainly dark and this highlights the emotions of the characters. Bertie seems anxious while giving the speech this is shown by his facial expression. As an audience you feel like you relate to the characters because of the intimacy used in this scene of the enclosed and dark space.
This scene is one of the final sequences of the film and marks the beginning of the second World War.
It is relatively close to the end of the film, the last scene being the reactions of his family and his nation after he finishes his speech.
The Cuts to the Audience
In the beginning of the scene, he looks very vulnerable but as the speech continues he is reassured by Lionel and begins to gain momentum. Feelings of worry still remained on his face as he was afraid of stammering and seeming weak when his country needs him to be strong.
These cuts feature Bertie's audience which include the general public, classes ranging from lower to upper class, servants, factory workmen, Bertie's family, Lionel's family, the soldiers, the parliament and the recording staff. These people are shown leaning forward in their seats or standing around the radio, eager to listen to their king. This shows us how deeply affected everyone is by the war and how they look to him to reassure them that they will stand together as a strong nation.
The cuts to the recording room also shows that the speech is being broadcast to countries under Britain's rule, such as Jamaica, showing the global scale of the speech, not just important to Britain, but other countries as well.
Three very important cuts were the one to the soldiers, where we see the fear on the soldier's face and the one to Lionel's family, where his wife comforts her sons, one of them old enough to serve as a soldier. Lastly Bertie's wife Elizabeth, who is usually depicted to be the strong one between them, but who in this scene seems very anxious as she knows how her husband feels and also how important it is for him to do well.
-The music in this scene is non-diegetic.
-Throughout the king's speech, Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 plays.
-The changing tempo of the music creates tension as it builds up as the scene climaxes which makes you feel as if this is still relevant to you and creates feelings of suspense and apprehension.
-The symphony starts in time with Bertie as he begins to speak, which reinforces the idea of how Bertie's stutter is part of his mind and he can overcome it and how he is overcoming himself which will allow him to be the great leader his nation relies upon in this 'grave hour'.
-This relates back to Bertie's first speech exercise where his voice is being recorded while he listens to classical music to distract him as he cannot hear his own voice.
This film is based on the true story of King George VI and his journey to become a great leader and his overcoming of his stammer. Through this journey he built a strong relationship with his speech therapist Lionel Logue, even considering him to be family.
King George, known as Bertie, was left with the responsibility to lead his nation as King, after his father’s death and his brother’s abdication crisis, which involved his American mistress Wallis Simpson whom he intended to marry, although she was twice divorced which was considered to be unacceptable by the Church of England.
From the beginning of the movie, Bertie was consistently frustrated by his stammer, which resulted in him being unable to fulfil his duties as prince. His stammer left him in a helpless state without control, and feeling constrained and pressured by everyone around him expecting him to live up to his father and forefathers.
The lighting in this scene is mostly dark and the only light source is the open window.
This gives the viewer a claustrophobic feeling while drawing the audience in.
The open window creates shadows on Bertie's face allowing the viewer to clearly see Bertie's feelings of struggle and fear.
The rest of the royal palace shown in this scene is filled with light and bright colours, which contrasts the room Bertie and Lionel are in as he delivers his speech which is very dark and enclosed.
He wears a white shirt, black tie, dark trousers and black suspenders.This formal ensemble shows the gravity of the situation. While formal, he seems comfortable in these clothes as he is used to dressing this way. The removal of the jacket he wore in the earlier scene was an attempt to relax and calm down before giving his speech.
He wears a suit, which indicates the importance of this broadcast. The bow tie, which is quirky yet professional, reflects his personality and methods of teaching. His round glasses make him look more kind and grandfatherly, as opposed to square or rectangular shapes which make the wearer look more clinical and cold.
The Recording Room
The only real prop is the microphone, otherwise the room is kept bare and simple, which focuses the viewer’s attention on the microphone. This absence of furniture highlights the importance of the microphone, while also allowing us to focus on Bertie instead of the surroundings.
This place is filled with royal and ornate furniture with rich colours like gold and red. This shows their wealth and importance.
The Broadcast Room
This room shows that the speech is being broadcast to not only England but it's colonies as the names from all the countries are on the machines.
It is likely Colin Firth was chosen to play Bertie as he is English and the same applies to Geoffrey Rush who was Australian.
Firth is an accomplished and skillful actor who has won an Academy award and Golden Globe for this role. His ability in acting and expression allowed the viewer to connect with him as a character on a personal level, as his struggle and vulnerability sympathized with the audience.
Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for and also won several awards for her role as Elizabeth, winning eight awards and even being nominated for a Golden Globe. Carter brings the character of Elizabeth to live and gives her a strong personality.
The microphone symbolizes Bertie's struggle when faced with the responsibility of leading England as its King while highlighting the importance of this speech. It embodies his fear and insecurity of having to speak publicly.
The recording light symbolizes 'the evil eye' which imposes judgement upon him, while also reminding him of the disappointment he was to his father who made the speeches before Bertie and therefore was familiar with the 'evil eye'. It also symbolizes the pressure of his station and the expectations of his peoples.
The radio brought the nation together as everyone was standing together and listening to the radio. It was a symbol of unity.
Thank you for watching