The King's Speech

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Gp[;’666“I am very afraid [sir], that your greatest test is yet to come.” The King’s Speech (2010) presents a protagonist driven by a sense of duty. What kind of ‘victory’ does Hooper suggest trough the staging of his final speech?

A victory is a triumphant action of achieving a goal or defeating an enemy. Whether this enemy be another country or a personal fault, an achievement is significant in it’s own way. The King’s Speech (2010) is a story of an under confident and family oppressed King (Bertie) who is victorious over his speech impediment. However it is not only his impediment that he triumphs. Through lighting and shadows, the viewer comes to recognize that his victory is on a more personal level then just over coming a bad habit. Music and sound effects add a depth that amplifies this and gives greater meaning to the story. Neville Chamberlain warns Bertie “that your greatest test is yet to come” at the start of the second half f the movie. Although he does not specifically signify what this test is, the viewer immediately assumes it as being WW2. In the world that The King’s Speech was set world war two was close appearing. During a time of great apprehension and fear of Germany, this is Chamberlain’s literal meaning. However this ‘test’ is really describing Bertie’s challenge over his own personal matters. His journey into conquering his own fears is what Hooper draws our attention to. Mise en scene techniques depict the character development and difficulties he is faced with. Camera angles form ideas on Bertie’s progress of overcoming the burden that oppresses him, the burden of expectation that he has never been able to live up to. The greatest test therefore becomes his final speech (The Kings Speech). This is a speech that informs the country of the newly commenced war making Bertie the voice of hope. His victory therefore turns pyrrhic but is an achievement greater than any other for him. Again Mise en scene elements are used to present this.

When Bertie first meets Lionel, he is seen to be very narrow minded and pessimistic. His hope is not present and now is his confidence. Hooper introduces Bertie as a man in the midst of despair and it is his speech impediment that he blames it on. Bertie goes forth to sit in front of a dirty looking and very rugged wall with lots of missing paint. This wall is depicts Bertie as man who has something missing, he is scruffy and confused and disconnected. He is being trapped by this stonewall. Hooper then juxtaposes this by positioning Lionel in front of a grand and open room. The viewer gets an immediate perception of Lionel being an open minded and ordered man. However when Lionel brings Bertie to read Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” speech, Bertie stands tall in the center of an open space. Lionel has opened a window behind him that acts metaphorically as a symbol of hope. This window into the world is Bertie’s opening to victory. He reads the speech fluently and orderly. The camera sweeps from the scruffy wall that was once behind Bertie into a frame which he takes focus on. Hooper is showing how Bertie has the abilities he thought were so foreign to him and forebodes Bertie’s victory. As the movie progresses, it comes to a scene just after Bertie has been assigned king. After signing the papers his walks out of a building into a crowd of grey reporters and photographers. He is presented as a figure of authority however it is evident he is lacking leadership. This becomes another test for Bertie. When he sits in his car the faces of those people he is leading come into focus over Bertie’s face. This illustrates how he is positioned below these people. He is not worthy of being a King to them. When the time comes to deliver his speech, Bertie struggles significantly. The camera presents a mouse eye view shot of his audience towering over Bertie. They are seen to be intimidating and oppressing to Bertie. He is meant to be leading them yet they stand above him as...
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