This British documentary, which is presented without a credited director, provides an overview on the life of King George VI.
The awkward title, of course, refers to the 2010 film about the monarch’s efforts to overcome his stammer with the help of Australian speech therapist Lionel Logue, and this documentary offers insight from Logue’s grandson as well as Tom Hooper and Colin Firth, the director and star of the Oscar-winning production. And while the relationship between the king and Logue is detailed, the film offers greater insight George’s tumultuous life: an unhappy childhood, his reluctant ascension to the throne following the abdication of his older brother Edward VIII, and the strain of maintaining a calm and reassuring presence in the midst of World War II.
The documentary includes a wealth of rarely seen newsreel footage, including filmed speeches delivered by a clearly uncomfortable king (his voice is flat and, by contemporary standards, uninspiring, but traces of his stammer are barely detectable). The king who emerges here was a modest and unassuming man who, despite being ill prepared to reign, accepted his duties without complaint and resolved to do what was best for his country. When V-E Day crowds in London flocked to Buckingham Palace chanting “We want the king,” it was a vindication of his labors.
This fine documentary offers a handsome tribute to an unlikely yet beloved head of state.