Thursday, February 13, 2014
"King George VI: The Man Behind the King's Speech" supplements the 2010 Oscar winner
“King George VI: The Man Behind the King’s Speech” (2011, 63 min), from Vision Films, is a biography of King George VI, visually consisting almost entirely of older black and white footage (There is a reviiew of "The Kings's Speech" here Dec. 20, 2010.)
The film takes us through the abdication of his brother Edward VIII to marry Wallis Simpson, and then the proper beginning of the reign of “Bertie” in 1937. His speech impediment was significant because he was the first King to have to deal with the new medium of radio.
It seems as though there was a lot of posturing in royal life, which may have hid the growing clouds of war with Germany, again. It does cover the sequence that led to declaration of war on Germany in 1939 (all the dominions were included, but not Ireland). One of George’s homes was damaged in the 1940 German bombing raids. The documentary mentions that his father had engineered the taking of the Windsor name to de-emphasize the historical connection to Saxon families in Germany.
The film repeats itself in one sequence, showing the same footage of an early trip to Paris twice.
He would die young, age 56, in February 1952, of lung cancer and heart disease, all brought on by heavy smoking. Elizabeth II would take over. I remember seeing her coronation in BW television as a boy.
England sounded like a mystical place then, but look what it did to Alan Turing, who may have saved the country.