Censoring The King's Speech

It is never an easy nor a short path from when a film is first conceived and when that same film is being watched — to a big calorie-rich bucket of popcorn in the lap. The idea for the film can come from many a place — in the case of “The King’s Speech,” it came from something that actually happened in history.

The film has done fairly well at the box office– not the kind of numbers that would shame either the producers of the film or the company that brought it into being. It was even of benefit to the bottom line, as it very often can be, when the film won an academy award– though the Boles Blog Network is generally not too impressed with most of the awards ceremonies that put on long productions and don’t ultimately seem to have any value.

Why, then, is the possibility of a new version of the film being debated– a new version of the film that would be identical in nearly all aspects except for the choice of language. Apparently, just by muting out and censoring select foul language, you can get the rating of a film lowered from an R to a PG.

The version of the film that’s currently in theaters features a scene in which Colin Firth’s character, King George VI, is encouraged by his speech therapist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, to curse repeatedly to help overcome his stutter on the eve of World War II. The scene will be altered in the PG-13 version.

An R rating, the producers must fear, is frightening off certain parents from bringing their children to the film. Or perhaps, they believe that other potential audience members are interested in the subject matter of the film but are intimidated by the strong rating. They see that it has the same strong rating as, say, a gory horror film and therefore must be equally inappropriate.

Firstly, the notion that the language would do this is ridiculous. I once heard that you could get people maimed and killed on screen and get a PG, but using the F-word a few times and it is an automatic R. This does not seem right at all.

Moreover, it is absurd to mute out obscene words in a film in the first place. If you ever watch a film on a network channel that mutes out bad words or, worse replaces them with other words (“I have had it with these monkey fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane,” said Samuel L. Jackson in the censored TV “Snakes on a Plane”). It is obvious how ridiculous how is comes across– and now they are trying to do it to a film in theaters to try and squeeze out a few more dollars?

Vote with your wallet — and if you are planning on seeing “The King’s Speech” and they only have the censored version — do not pay. We cannot stand for movie theatre censorship — it must end with this joke of an attempt.

4 comments

  • These sorts of changes are all about re-monetizing an existing property. Change this. Edit that. Dangle here. It’s a charade to add value, to devalue, and to hope to get new eyes on the movie.

    If you’re a fan of “The King’s Speech” — be sure to read Christopher Hitchens’ review:

    In point of fact, Churchill was—for as long as he dared—a consistent friend of conceited, spoiled, Hitler-sympathizing Edward VIII. And he allowed his romantic attachment to this gargoyle to do great damage to the very dearly bought coalition of forces that was evolving to oppose Nazism and appeasement. Churchill probably has no more hagiographic chronicler than William Manchester, but if you look up the relevant pages of The Last Lion, you will find that the historian virtually gives up on his hero for an entire chapter.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2282194/

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  • great points. So many PG 13 movies have material way more objectionable to kids than the King’s Speech. I hate the way the MPAA does their ratings.

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    • Thanks, Kevin! I hate it too. I think that when the makers of the South Park franchise were doing a film they went after the MPAA because of the numerous changes they requested. It made for a funny film!

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