“The Kings’ Speech” is a wonderful film. On occasion, I will note that a movie is “virtually flawless” and this is one of those movies. But this is not a movie review blog in the traditional sense. Anyone who has followed this here Baltimore Boy Blog, knows that I not only love Baltimore but that I am also a film buff and I am particularly geeky when it comes to Baltimore in the movies.
I’m sure that most of you reading this know that “The Kings’ Speech” is about England’s King George VI and the very real challenge he faced, not only his unexpected ascension to the throne, but his suffering from a pronounced stutter. A limiting and humbling affliction for anyone, much less a monarch and figurehead who needs to communicate to his subjects, particularly on the eve of war.
The reason that his elevation to King happens at all is due to his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicating the throne for the simple reason of love. The problem with Edward’s love is that it is for an American woman who was twice-divorced. Wallis Simpson of Baltimore, MD.
As Edward and Wallis start taking their place in the narrative, I was almost squirming in my seat at the Senator Theater, hoping against hope, that in this amazing film, they would even bother noting that Wallis was from Baltimore. During a pivotal scene, full of conflict, Colin Firth, as King George…says Baltimore!!! Oddly enough, without a stutter.
When this happened, I kind of pumped my fist a little and muttered to my beloved, Anna, “Yes, they said, Baltimore.” Anna didn’t realize that Wallis was from Baltimore. I assured her that I would show her the house she lived in. I remember her house being near Gertrude Stein’s house on Preston Street. I, of course, had to check that I was right and I was. Wallis Simpson lived at 34 Preston Street. Crazily enough, within view of Baltimore City Jail, well, really close anyway. It’s also very close to Dionysus, a cool-ass bar/restaurant/performance space owned by my friend, James Hafner. So there’s a little plug; go check out Wallis Simpson’s rowhouse and then have a drink and a bite to eat at Dionysus. Did you notice I said “rowhouse”? Yup, even rich socialites lived in rowhouses…welcome to Baltimore!
Here’s a bit of cool Trivia, who was the first woman to ever be Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year”? Dig this.
Leave it to a Baltimore gal to alter the history of another nation. She lived an interesting life and was often under the type of scrutiny that followed Princess Diana and she and Edward, unfortunately spent a lot of time in Germany, hanging out with the occasional Nazi before WWII.
So that’s it-I’ve left a lot out; but I really recommend, “The Kings’ Speech” and I recommend the company of strong-willed Baltimore women.