Review: The King's Speech DVD

The King's Speech DVD boxSTUDIO: Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Tom Hooper | CAST: Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
RELEASE DATE: 4/19/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray $39.99
BONUSES: commentary, featurettes, interviews, vintage footage
SPECS: R | 119 min. | Biography drama | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | Dolby Digital 5.1 audio | English, Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

There’s no need to say The King’s Speech is a good movie. If its Oscar win for Best Picture — among other statues — doesn’t give it away, you’re probably one of the film fans who helped the biography drama gross more than $137 million in theaters. If you weren’t and don’t trust the Academy Awards, take our word for it: The King’s Speech doesn’t disappoint.

The King's SpeechColin Firth (Nanny McPhee) is excellent as the speech impaired King George VI, Helena Bonham Carter (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1) is wonderful as his wife and Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean movies) is so much fun as Lionel Logue, the down-to-earth Australian linguist who refuses to bow down to the formality of the monarch and insists on calling His Highness Bertie.

The movie looks and sounds great on the DVD. It’s not the kind of film, like Tron: Legacy, that cries out for high-definition, but it does have details that will show up nicely in the Blu-ray version. The period costumes and sets are fantastic.

The quality continues in the special features, including two speeches from the real King George VI. The first is the monumental pre-World War II speech the king gave at the end of the film. Broadcast over the radio, the speech is presented on the DVD as audio only with the posed promotional shot of the real king. The second speech is King George VI’s televised post-World War II speech, and it’s nice to see the real monarch speaking so well.

Mark Logue, the grandson of Lionel Logue, tells how he found his grandfather’s diary, including notes on his sessions with King George VI, in the featurette “The Real Lionel Logue Highlights.” It’s a shame that he doesn’t reveal things the film left out, but he does confirm that his grandson had a long friendship with the king.

The making-of featurette “An Inspirational Story of an Unlikely Friendship” is an interesting look at the film, offering interviews with Firth, Hooper, Guy Pearce (who played the king’s brother) and more. But, filled with scenes from the film, the piece feels more like a promotion for the movie than a making-of. That said, it’s not the usual “he/she is a genius” featurette, and Firth and Rush give some nice insight into their roles.

The DVD also includes a Q&A with Hooper and stars Firth, Rush, Carter, Pearce and Claire Bloom, who played King George VI’s mother Queen Mary. This is perhaps one of the best extras on the disc, showing the cast’s camaraderie and behind-the-scenes insights that are not available elsewhere. For example, we learn that two of the lines in the film are straight out of Logue’s diary.

Hooper gives a commentary for the film, and we have to applaud Anchor Bay and Weinstein for one thing on here: The standard “the views in the commentary do not represent the views of the studio blah blah” is shown only after you choose to play the track, not when the disc first starts up like other DVDs. Love it!

And Hooper does good job in his commentary, giving details of what interested him about the film, production secrets and more.

Royal lovers will know that The King’s Speech DVD is being released only 10 days before the wedding of possibly England’s next king, Prince William, to Kate Middleton, the ceremony of which will be on DVD in May.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.