As the author of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History, I love seldom shared stories that become riveting tales told by screenwriters. The King’s Speech has evolved as the front-runner during the Oscar season. I’m thrilled at its recent selection for Best Ensemble Movie Cast during the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
With Colin Firth receiving all of the accolades for playing the father of Queen Elizabeth II, and with a celebrated stammering issue, the film really captures the unique relationship between King George VI and his therapist. Former Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush was a creative architect at making sure this story became an instant cinematic classic.
Lionel Logue was the Australian speech therapist who treated the stuttering King at a time the British people needed his guidance during The Blitz of 1940. Their mutual collaboration actually began in 1927 when he diagnosed poor co-ordination between the then-Duke of York’s larynx and thoracic diaphragm. Using tongue-twisters and vocal exercises, Logue’s treatment gave the Duke confidence to relax and avoid tension-inducing muscle spasms. Because of Logue’s novel approach, King George VI delivered his Coronation Address and subsequent radio messages with confidence. His crowning achievement came as he rallied his people in their initial stand against Nazi aggression.
Though never accredited, Logue had helped soldiers during the Great War overcome shell-shock with patience and self-deprecating therapy. He remained friends with the Royal Family until the King’s death in 1952. Logue would die a year later. His grandson went on to co-write the book The King’s Speech: How One Man Saved the British Monarchy.
The rest (as they say) is history!
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