And the award goes to... The King's Speech! If I've counted correctly, this film picked up 4 Oscars in the US on Sunday. It is the inspiring story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne, and the speech therapist who helped him overcome quite a speech impediment. Starring Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Derek Jacobi; directed by Tom Hooper. A unique, wonderful film.
Lucky me, I saw this at the giant Odeon Cinema in Leicester Square with a packed house of hundreds of British movie-goers. Who knew this was such a funny film? And there was loud applause after the film.
What stood out for me was the decor - oh, those walls! So interesting and such yummy colors. The actual therapy room was too small for filming, so they used a building just a block away at 33 Portland Place in London. Apparently when the production team arrived, one wall was covered in half-scraped, half-burned wallpaper infused with oil. It was the look they were going for, so they finished the mottled, peeling effect on the rest of the walls. To make room for the therapy sessions, little furniture was needed.
The closed Battersea Power Station in South London was the setting for the BBC Wireless Control Room; the present machinery was used as props.
Leeds United's Elland Road Stadium was the stand-in for the old Wembley Stadium where the future king's stammer first caught public attention. Interestingly, the crew had to wait until 10p to get into the stadium following a football match. They filled the stands with inflatable people. You would never know.
Director Tom Hooper wanted a 'smoggy, grungy look' of the 1930s, so they threw dirty water over everything, and even brought in a gritting van at 5a to cover the ground with dirt. They pumped in so much smog, it set off the fire alarms in a local department store!
Unlike multiplexes, you would find independent cinemas serving alcohol, homemade cakes, and gourmet treats like wasabi peas. They have cozy waiting lounges. Big comfy chairs in the theater. Nothing like a delicious cocktail while watching a kids flick : ) Love that! But I digress...
Interestingly, the British Board of Film Classification warned that The King's Speech 'contains strong language in a speech therapy context'. Isn't that fascinating?
Equally fascinating is the difference in film rating. In the UK, The King's Speech is rated 12 (suitable for 12 years and over), whereas in the US this same film is rated R (under 17 requires accompanying parent or guardian). What do you make of that?