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26 January 2011 @ 11:58 pm
The King's Speech  
Like every woman and her corgi, I've been wanting to see The King's Speech for some time. Finally managed it tonight, as my way of celebrating Australia Day -- irony is my favourite! It is every bit as good as people say.

The script in particular was wonderful. Certainly there were many nods to the modern audience, but there was also a real recognition of historical mores and concerns. The sketches of Edward and Wallis were brief but perfectly venal, while the Archbishop's sense of social order was splendidly stiff (and even more splendidly poked by Princess Elizabeth). I loved that they included the fact of Edward's popularity for a little while after the Abdication, too, which made poor stammering Bertie's life even more awkward.

The costumes are brilliant, and no one will be surprised to hear that I am now desperate for a 1930s coat and hat. The children's outfits are terrific, too, and took me straight back to my own childhood which contained an enormous numbers of pleated skirts and jumpers, when I wasn't wearing muslin embroidered hippie frocks.

As to the cast -- I loved them all. Firth and Rush are never less than engaging and I could watch the two of them for hours. The women were also terrific, especially Helena Bonham Carter and Jennifer Ehle, and bloody hell that Queen Mary was scarily accurate! The kids were delightful – Ramona Marquez is a terrific little actress, and the one who played Elizabeth was suitably grave.

I was happy to see this morning that it has attracted a long list of Oscar nominations. It is such a beautifully made film that I would love to see it awarded in every category.

However ... Apparently there is a campaign against it in Hollywood because the real George VI did not want Jewish refugees fleeing Germany for Palestine and also allegedly stopped them coming to Britain. This is a bit astonishing. On the one hand, it's a staggeringly simplistic interpretation of events: Britain at the time was only just recovering from a massive Depression and was moving onto a War footing, so it could ill-afford to bring in more than the 100,000 Jewish refugees it did take in the lead-up to the war. Similarly, Palestine was a delicately balanced state that could not absorb a massive refugee population without severe unrest (for proof of which, note the entirety of the last 70 years). This is not to say it was well done, nor that people may not have acted very differently if they could have foreseen the future, but despite having some lovely crowns, exactly none of the British Royal Family is now, nor has ever been psychic. Not even Edward.

But the thing that baffles me most about this campaign is that it wants members of the Academy to not vote for the film in any categories. Including Best Script. Which was written by a British/American Jew whose paternal grandparents were killed in the Holocaust.

I hope it sweeps the whole bloody Oscars!


PS And the decision to use real locations while hiding the modern background in fog is GENIUS!
 
 
 
Shezanshezan on January 26th, 2011 01:19 pm (UTC)
I suspect the campaign was inspired by a competitor...

Had you read the excellent review of the movie by Anthony Lane?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
One who has clearly never cracked open a history book.

I have not! Thanks for the link, off for a read!
Randy: Tony Vincent Judasdrgaellon on January 26th, 2011 01:20 pm (UTC)
So, because someone doesn't like what George VI did 70 years ago, THIS film, now, today, the actors in it and the auteurs who made it should be discounted from the awards? That's lunacy, even by Hollyweird standards.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC)
Well ... this is the city that gave the world Transformers 2. What it thinks is a good idea is not really related to reality ...
silent hallucination: Dave Matthewsalex_s9 on January 26th, 2011 03:01 pm (UTC)
I loved Transformers 2! Fighting giant robots, what's not to like?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 03:38 pm (UTC)
Well, I suppose I like Reign of Fire, so I cannot judge you ...
Shezanshezan on January 26th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
(On the campaign: it comes especially out of left field, because surely Edward & Wallis would have been far, FAR worse?)

blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)
God I loathe them. Three generations of my family have thought those two hideous and I am happy to uphold that tradition -- I don't even care that she had lovely jewels, for once, fashion will not sway me!

And it's even more stupid than that because the campaign clearly means to say 'Vote American instead!', but the US took in far fewer Jewish refugees in the lead-up to the war than the UK did. And again, there were many many reasons for this and their government was not psychic, moreover they did very good work later, but still!
Shezanshezan on January 26th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Meanwhile, the King and his family stayed in London during the Blitz:

blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
"The children won't go without me. I won't leave the King. And the King will never leave."

One of the very small number of things I agree on with Hitler was that she was a woman of formidable determination.
AMY 凛☆ラブ☆アタックtomatoe18 on January 26th, 2011 01:22 pm (UTC)
Oh no. Not you too. Already? Ack!

I don't know how I can watch this movie legally. I just refuse to download the movie and/or buy a pirated dvd of it. I want to see it in the big screen!

It has to sweep the Oscars so we can all watch it in a proper cinema.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
You will love it, Amy! Obviously it is a sign that you should take a trip to Sydney so I can take you out for dinner!
AMY 凛☆ラブ☆アタックtomatoe18 on January 26th, 2011 01:43 pm (UTC)
Are you a mind reader or something? I was just thinking, I'm about due for another holiday... maybe I should go to Australia and New Zealand! :P

BTW, Brammers, I may need to seek your advice sometime soon. It's work-related. Nothing heavy; I just have a few questions about publishing. Is it OK if I email you?
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)
Yes it is! Also, if TFI needs a Tom Hardy interview when he is in Australia filming the next Mad Max, you MUST let me do it. Not for my benefit, I like him well enough because he is a cat rescuer, but because if raitala and pingrid received anything he had touched, they might explode with delight.
AMY 凛☆ラブ☆アタックtomatoe18 on January 26th, 2011 01:56 pm (UTC)
Of course we need an interview with Tom Hardy. XD Let me see if I can get an appointment with him... or if you can get an appointment with him, we'll back you up. ;)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
I'm up to my nose in editing at the moment, so if TFI has a chance, that would be great. If not, Rai and Pin will cope!
Brissygirlbrissygirl on January 26th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC)
If you managed to get something T-Hard had touched you would hear Treacle squee from Tassie! :)
jigglykat: 30 ROCK: OH MY GODjigglykat on January 26th, 2011 01:31 pm (UTC)
I adored this movie, but I wasn't aware of the campaign! Fail, Hollywood. Fail.

Have you read up about the writer? His story about writing this movie is fascinating all by itself.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
I have a few articles bookmarked to read, but wanted to watch the film first before I knew too much about it. If there are any you would recommend, I would love links!
jigglykat: LOST: desmondjigglykat on January 26th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, the only story I've read is my cousin's who went to a event screening with David Seidler, and she wrote up a report about his discussion in a locked post. I had her permission to copypasta the write-up and send it around to a couple of co-workers. I could ask her if it's okay to forward it again!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Shezanshezan on January 26th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
I'm interested too!
Nennenenne on January 26th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
It is a really, really good movie and Colin Firth is brilliant as always, but they were all good. I hope for lots of Oscars!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
They WERE all good! I loved the layers of detail they included in everything from the script to sets. It was clearly a labour of love!
(Deleted comment)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
You will love it!
Kitten Kommissar: srscatchickenfeet2003 on January 26th, 2011 01:57 pm (UTC)
irony is my favourite

Anzac day 1993. I arrive at Melbourne airport with my shiny new class 100 Resident Visa, breeze through Immigration , walk out the front and hail a cab. The driver is Turkish.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 02:38 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHAHA! And I bet he was suitably respectful, too, which I think is one of the loveliest things about the Turkish.
Kitten Kommissar: bullchickenfeet2003 on January 26th, 2011 02:49 pm (UTC)
I did ask him what it felt like to be a Turk in Australia. He said Melbourne was fine but he found country Victoria rather frightening. Obviously he had never been to country Queensland which makes Deliverance look like Four Weddings and a Funeral.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
One of my earliest jobs in Australia was filling in for a friend with her swing band for a three-week tour of Queensland (she feel ill the day before the tour, I knew the songs and fit her costumes and had a month off). The rest of the band were big Aussie blokes, three of whom looked like Rugby forwards, three of whom looked like hippies (and were). We were travelling in a minivan. About 100 miles up the Pacific Highway, they explained that some of the places we were going would scare the buggery out of me, but that they would all be there every step of the way and if the locals got too frightening, we could just drive out of town.

I had assumed this was all a typical wind-up the Pom, but after the fourth pull-over and search by the Qld police force who refused to believe that we were retro-loving vegetarians, the Fear descended. Happily, the absence of drugs and presence of Vera Lynn tapes meant that we were waved off down the road each time!
auntpurl: tek captain americaauntpurl on January 26th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
I cannot wait to see this film.

Americans are idiots.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 02:35 pm (UTC)
You will adore it, I am certain!

And some Americans are idiots. Others write for Harper's and the New Yorker, or are you :-)
auntpurl: holy shit I love youauntpurl on January 27th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Aw. *smushes you*
silent hallucinationalex_s9 on January 26th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC)
I especially hope Tom Hooper gets an Award for directing - it was brilliant. Although one for Seidler wouldn't hurt as well, the dialogues were brilliant. And one for cinematography is earned, I was almost positive the film was done by Idziak, the way filters on camera were used.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
Those three I would think are the ones that it really and truly should win!
Holly: Contemplative - Anne Hathawayhollyxu on January 26th, 2011 03:06 pm (UTC)
Um, because the English royal family ruthlessly suppresses any sort of actual emotion in PR reports and because I am actually not all up on Edward & Wallis except their wikipedia articles - are they really very odious? (In comparison to the Mitfords, who were... very special.)

I have a cinema gift certificate, I just have no time! D:
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Of course they do! And so they ought. God knows the last thing the world needs is Prince Andrew emoting.

Be careful of broad statements about the Mitfords, they were a very mixed bunch indeed. Unity was a massive fan of Hitler, Diana married a fascist, Jessica was a communist of the non-Stalinist variety and a lifelong campaigner against fascism and for human rights, Nancy a brilliant satirist who seems to have thought most politics open to corruption, and Pamela and Deborah were/are both perfectly normal if well-off countrywomen who were famous for treating their livestock well and being pleasant to humans. There was a brother, but he died young.

David (Edward) and Wallis on the other hand were self-centred lumps who never did a thing for anyone but each other and would have seen all of Europe fall to the Reich if it meant they could live in luxury. They had strong Nazi connections before and during the war and she at least was wholly unsympathetic of Britain during the Blitz, not to mention a racist twat when they were installed in the Governorship of the Bahamas.

There are quite a few areas on which I will criticise the royal family, but their dislike of the Windsors has my full support!
Holly: Ramen!hollyxu on January 26th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
The less the royal family emotes, the better people like them. It's an interesting dichotomy to the US, where a lot of 'stars' have followings due to the feeling of false intimacy they give their fans ... actually, you know what, bad comparison.

I just meant that the Mitfords were an interesting case of a truly diverse family, intellectually speaking. I wonder what the parents were doing, or if it was a matter of their political climate.

Weren't the Windsors prohibited from the usual things royals do (i.e. charity) because of the abdication? I always thought people didn't like them much and thus the family decided not to trot them out at public functions and the such.

... the Nazi connections thing is just hinky.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 03:59 pm (UTC)
Prior to the war the Windsors were actually very popular for a while. Edward VII had been a popular and populist king, and it was seen as a romantic story. When they went to Berlin in 1937 and met Hitler, as in Shezan's photo, above, that popularity took a nose-dive. It wasn't that they weren't allowed to act like the other Royals, it was that they were not trusted. And Edward would not come back for some years, anyway, because he was in a huff about Wallis being refused the title of Her Royal Highness. Bermuda was far enough away, and the locals good enough at ignoring anything that wasn't worth their attention, to give them something to do without having them in a spot where they could cause trouble.
Holly: Facepalm - Mulanhollyxu on January 26th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
I found the royal family's treatment of Wallis initially very much founded in the classist attitude I was raised to revile. A lot of later antagonism came from that, I think. (Aside from the Church of England thing, which I actually get. And they were justified in not liking her later, what with her general behaviour.)

That's the only thing that really bothers me about the whole issue. Otherwise I am on the side of the establishment.

So Bermuda was a very public, very roundabout way of putting the Windsors under house arrest? Huh. Only the royal family.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 04:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think if she had been a female Peter Townsend and the Establishment had been wholly taken against her, I would have a lot more sympathy. I can look at him and think 'What an awful shame ...' But she was so generally horrid, I just can't feel upset at all on her behalf. Which is annoying, because I don't like to dislike women as a rule.

Not so much House Arrest as Very Hard to Meddle From There Detention ;-)
Anwynanthraxia on January 26th, 2011 10:39 pm (UTC)
My understanding of the royal family's dislike of Wallis was because she was seen as being a social climber of the worst sort, rather than because of her social origins. She was a complete snob, openly picked up and dropped people based on their social standing and the kind of leg-up they could give her. I know there was a great deal of speculation in court circles that she didn't love Edward so much as his position (you couldn't climb any higher than the king), and there was some surprise that she stayed with him after he abdicated (she did try to leave him, in fact, when he announced his intention to abdicate in order to marry her.)

Certainly Edward and George's father, George V, was known for disliking toad-eaters; it's not hard to see a dislike for Wallis based on the notion that she was chasing a crown, whether that was true or not.
Anwynanthraxia on January 26th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
Not to mention that Wallis was completely obsessed with people's social standing and wealth, a social climber of the worst sort, and one of the cattiest women in history. Plus the originator of that most horrible of phrases, "You can never be too rich or too thin."

Loyaulte Me Lie: The Queen ships R/Hrshocolate on January 26th, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
If there is a beter film this year, I'll eat a 1930s hat!

Colin Firth was, of course, complete perfection, and if he doesn't win the BAFTA, Oscar, and the Team Gold for Synchronised Swimming at next year's Olympics, then hats will be in very short supply.

I particularly enjoyed how foul David and Wallis were. And Derek Jacobi dissaproving of ruling with a stammer...

To campaign against this speific film, even if George VI had gone on to eat babies, is petty.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on January 26th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)
It's only January, so there are many I have not seen yet, but if it falls out of my top five, this will be a glorious year for cinema!

And yes, it's too ridiculous!
winstonmomwinstonmom on January 26th, 2011 04:36 pm (UTC)
I have a date with the husband to see this movie on Friday. I even hired a baby sitter and that says a lot.
I am really in love with Colin Firth and have told the husband that if he comes to my house looking for me I will go.(nothing personal)
inamac: Cinemainamac on January 26th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)
I think it was Colin Firth on BBC Radio5's Mayo and Kermode film programme - podcast here who pointed out that had George become King 20 years earlier, there would have been no problem since the monarch made very few public speeches - and no radio, 20 years later and technology would have been able to edit out his stammer. Truly a man born at the wrong time.
mrsquizzicalmrsquizzical on January 26th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
oh, simplistic campaigns for the lose.
pir8fancier on January 27th, 2011 04:41 am (UTC)
It's a lovely, lovely film, and the wankers who are trying to jettison it's well deserved awards should open up some history books and see what sort of anti-semetic fervor stoked U.S. politics during the same period. Based on that rationale, perhaps the entire Oscars should be boycotted.