REVIEW: The King’s Speech, on DVD and Blu-ray from May 9

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All the while it was in the cinema, you just felt there had to be an Oscar in it for Colin Firth. Now it’s on DVD, you can see just why he won one.

Firth gives a magnificent performance as the stammerer who was never meant to be king, a man reluctantly thrown into the limelight, all his frailties cruelly exposed by his brother’s abdication.

The film’s opening sequence sets the tone and signals the mountain to climb.

The future George VI is like a man being led to his execution as he prepares to address a packed Wembley stadium and with it the world.

He opens his mouth - and nothing comes out in a moment which is nerve-shredding enough for the audience, let alone the hapless speaker.

Clearly something has to be done, and it’s Prince Albert’s wife, the future Queen Mum (Helena Bonham Carter) who takes the initiative, seeking out the decidedly-unconventional and, as it happens, completely unqualified speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to help her husband.

The joy of the film is in the developing relationship between the two men in what becomes essentially a buddy movie, with plenty of strops and sulking on both sides as Logue kicks in with his left-field methods.

Firth is superb, creating a character you find yourself longing to succeed however much you know, of course, he ultimately did; and Logue, charismatic and persuasive, is the perfect companion on his rocky road towards the crucial speech which closes the film.

By now king, Bertie urges his people to stand firm in the face of the war which has just erupted. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. He gets the words out; the Palace responds as if he has just won the war singled-handed; and the stammerer has become king.

It’s truly inspiring, rousing and gripping stuff - and a genuinely-great film.

Phil Hewitt

(12), (113 mins)