I have to be reminded from time to time that stories don't have to be about war or forbidden romance to be compelling. Sometimes, the best stories are about simple things brought into an intense spotlight.
The movie "The King's Speech" is exactly that. The evolution of war and the consummation of forbidden romance are supporting tales to this wonderful story of the courage of a king and the development of a friendship with a commoner.
The king is George VI of England, the reluctant king, and the man who ascended to the British throne when his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry twice-divorced Wallis Simpson in what was called "The Love Story of the Ages." This tale tells how the King prepares to present a speech over the radio.
How he prepares to make a speech?
How about if I added that the speech was to be broadcast live over the radio? Not convinced?
How about if this speech had to rally the British Empire against the tyranny of Adolf Hitler? A little better?
Let's add something to that. We already know he never wanted to be king. Now you see...
... the poor man suffered from a bad stammer and had since boyhood. Most of us take for granted the ability to speak with one another, or even speak with several at once. This man was uncomfortable speaking to individuals he didn't know, but as the son of the king was expected to speak publically. When in 1925 the, then, Duke of York, botched a speech at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley he sought the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist and hack actor and resolved to make as few public speeches as he could get away with.
His father dies. His brother abdicates.
Now, what happens when this shy, reluctant king with a cataclysmic stammer must rally the British Empire for war with a speech broadcast live over the radio? Ah! That is what the very best stories are made of.
That, and the developing friendship between a King and a commoner, probably the only commoner who could get away with calling the King of England, "Bertie." And how the latter helped the former overcome the impediment to give a brilliant speech and prepare the Empire for the dangers ahead.
I don't suffer from a stammer, but don't think I could broadcast live to the world with the intent to rally the troupes. What a burden that would be to carry, don't you think? How many of us could do it, even without the extra challenge he faced?
Oh, folks, what a movie this is!
Colin Firth was brilliant as King George VI, and Geoffrey Rush shined as Lionel Logue. This is the best movie I've seen this year, just nudging out "The Social Network." I'm going to see it again, maybe a few times. What that man did way back in 1939 was courageous beyond belief. Courage is doing something you're afraid to do.
I have a newfound admiration and respect for King George VI.
And Colin Firth should win the Oscar for playing him.
Now on to a little scattershooting...
My sister died four years ago today (Sunday the 19th). I still miss her, but am determined to enjoy Christmas this year.
For the first time in awhile, I have a Christmas song of the year, one that really touches me. It's Vince Vance and the Valiants, "All I Want For Christmas is You."
I am determined to not gain weight over the holidays, and have composed a list of reasons to lose weight. The first item on that list is that I want to be able to tie my shoes and breathe at the same time.
Catch a Falling Star is progressing nicely. I'm nearly at page 200 on draft Lucky 13, and liking the way it's coming along.
I'm looking forward to my trip to San Francisco in February, hopefully to sell the novel, and head toward writing for a living. Damn I want to be writing for a living.
But then that's what this blog is about ... the road toward that very thing.
Happy Holidays to all of you!
See y'all next week.