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September 27, 2010

God save the King (and keep him far away from us)

The title of this entry is based on a line from Fiddler on the Roof: When someone asks the rabbi if there's a blessing for the Czar, he replies, "May God bless and keep the Czar -- far away from us!"

Royalty in general -- and the House of Windsor in particular -- holds no appeal for me; while something of an anglophile -- at least for the England of Churchill, Kipling, Shakespeare, Peter Sellers, Alec Guiness and Ealing Studios -- a voluptuary of royalty I am not.

(When someone told me that "Princess Di is dead!" I asked, "Diana Ross died?")

When I think of England beset and besieged in the dark days of 1940, it's Churchill who personifies the indomitable spirit of the Tommy. The English king, when thought of at all, is remembered as the fellow who had a speech impediment and fathered Queen Elizabeth, appearing in newsreels during the Blitz, silently touring the damage, hardly fertile ground for an engrossing film.

This trailer proves me wrong. While I think it's a bit overwrought for a character to tell King Bertie that he's "the bravest man I've ever met," it *is* an interesting tale of a man thrust into a very public role that required him to address and conquer his most terrible fear: public speaking, a fear shared by most of his fellow humans.

It doesn't hurt to have Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter starring, either.

I especially like the king's daughter watching a newsreel of Hitler giving a speech and asking her father, "What's he saying?" The stammering king replies, "I don't know, but he seems to be saying it rather well."

If I went to the movies, this'd be on my must-see list.

Posted by Mike Lief at September 27, 2010 07:02 AM