The King's Speech - Scriptnotes
I've been doing quite a lot of writing lately, and have begun reverse engineering a couple of screenplays, breaking them down in various ways to better appreciate the underlying structure. So I thought I might as well share them here for the benefit of others.
Script is provided for educational purposes only. Copyright respective of owner.
1-4: We open on BERTIE failing. We’re in his POV very heavily. establishing the stakes. Juxtaposition between Bertie and BBC Presenter. Intro ELIZABETH as supportive wife.
4-6: Seeking help from traditional THERAPIST. Bertie is desperate for help, but the techniques do not work.
7-10: Elizabeth finds LIONEL. He’s a very unusual character. Very unexpected. He opens the scene on the loo. But then also quoting Shakespeare. The focus of this scene is also the revelation just as to who Mr Johnson is. They’re playing around the subject and that gives them an air of playfulness.
10-13: establish LOGUE FAMILY. MYRTLE intro. We see Lionel battling with keeping his client a secret. We show very quickly their sons, and their intelligent notions, but also there’s a loving arrangement with them.
13-15: showing Bertie with his DAUGHTERS. It’s a story telling and shows largely that his hesitation is absent with his family. Also that they are accommodating of his stutter.
15: Talking about party w David and Wallace. “Can’t be serious”.
16: Lionel is rejected in his audition. This sets up his own aspirations for greatness. Gives a Shakespearean undertone/motif again to the story. He cannot act. He is a man of honesty. Unfulfilled desire. Reference to “someone younger, more regal” is a stab at his nature. The things that he cannot change. Shows that Lionel is a failure at things also - gives him empathy for the audience.
17: Bertie and Elizabeth arrive at Lionel’s office. They playfully banter. Again showing their loving relationship. There’s a hesitation towards this therapy. The unorthodoxy of it.
18: WILLY tells them they can go in. Demonstrates Lionel’s former successes.
19-25: Bertie and Lionel feel each other out. “One can wait rather a long wait”. DOCTOR vs LIONEL setup of later reveal. THIS IS A POWER STRUGGLE. Lionel has to win over BERTIE’S trust. To make him feel safe. Comfortable. But he wins by staying calm. SILVERTONE recording.
25: “No.” “Ah well.”. Bertie & Elizabeth disappointment.
26-29: King George V on radio. Shows father’s eloquence and future thoughts towards radio, the importance of speech. Which TURNS to a FATHER/ DISCIPLINE approach. This establishes the two father figure types in Bertie’s life. That he needs to accept Lionel’s softer tutelage. Setting up the expectations of responsibility here for him too. Scene ends with a moment of DOUBT
29: MOMENT of FRUSTRATION and then ENLIGHTENMENT - Bertie listens to recording - sees that LIONEL’s approach has WORKED!
29-31: Reaccepting of LIONEL’s education/ methods. Looking only for mechanics - THEN ACCEPTING Lionel’s approach/ philosophy.
31-34: Montage of training.
34: Speech in factory. Improvements, yet still failing.
35-36: DAVID introduced. Responsibility vs passions.
36: KING GEORGE ill & dying
37: David is late for dinner - on the phone to Wallace
38: Family Dinner - COSMO kissing up to David. Refused.
39: King George DEAD. Lionel also hears on radio.
40: Playing SHAKE w sons. They’re tired of their Father’s predictability.
41-46: More consultations. Playing w model planes. Lionel is coaxing Bertie to open up about experiences w King George/Father
46: Montage of King George funeral
47: Logue family at Whitehall for King George mourning session. Lionel almost slips up and reveals his client.
48:B&E approaching David’s party - seeing trees felled.
49:Bertie and Elizabeth attend David’s party.
50-51: Elizabeth and Churchill.
51-53: Bertie chides David for forsaking his duty as leader. They get into some details, revealing the embarrassment that David presents. When pushed into his corner, David responds by being cruel to his brother. Mocking him.
54-55: Bertie w Lionel, furious that he was shattered in previous interaction. Swearing and a relaxation towards being more angry. Lionel is letting Bertie out of his frustration, diverting it by encouraging him to get aggressive - WHERE he doesn’t stutter.
56- 58: Walk in Regents Park - TREASON talk. Bertie erupts against Lionel. Tells him to leave!
58: Bertie and PM BALDWIN - who tells that parliament will not respect David’s choice to marry. Does the King do what the people expect?
59: Lionel confides in Myrtle. He’s trying to talk about client, but cannot. Apologise Lionel.
60: Lionel approaches Bertie’s house - told to leave. Bertie will not listen.
60: Churchill calls Bertie up to role - to be King and take the name George.
61: David makes decision to abdicate.
62-63: David announces decision on radio.
63: Accession chamber - Bertie is to speak before the Council. All his old symptoms reappear. FURTHER DESCENSION of character
64: Elizabeth packing to move w Daughters. Catches Bertie’s shame.
64-65: Bertie w Elizabeth’s support is having a deep moment of doubt. Cannot do it. “Only a Naval Officer”. Refused marriage proposals, but now she is a dedicated Queen.
65: Bertie and Elizabeth come back to Lionel, for further lessons.
66-67: Shilling returned. Bertie in doubt. Needs to overcome his stammer. Lionel - You’re very much your own man. Take your independence!
67-69: Myrtle arrives home. Meeting of the families. She’s shocked.
69-71: Westminster Abbey - Coronation preparations. Bertie demands space for Lionel
71-76: Lionel revealed to not be a Doctor. Fraudulent feelings. I HAVE A VOICE!!!
77: Watching projection of Coronation. Seeing film of Hitler in Germany.
78: Resignation of PM Baldwin. Increasing responsibilities and feelings of duty for Bertie.
79: State of war declared. Palace demands to get Lionel here!
80: Entering palace. Wartime defences deployed.
80-82: Lionel and Bertie rehearse. Doubts overcome.
83: Good luck from Churchill. He too had a speech impediment.
84: Pass by ceremonial microphone, towards smaller booth. Preparing.
85: Countdown to speech, and it begins.
86-87: Silence causes BBC technicians to panic. SPEECH.
89: Lionel thanked by Elizabeth.
90: The two men nod at each other. Knowingly.