by Hugh Rawson
The 2010 Academy Award winning film, The King’s Speech, was toned down for its re-release in the Spring of 2011. And “toned down” literally, as it happens, with the deletion from the soundtrack of curse words uttered by Colin Firth, who received one of the movie’s four Oscars, for his portrayal of King George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammering.
The scene is – or was – a key one. At the urging of his speech therapist, the King lets himself go, rapidly repeating a forceful, four-letter, Anglo-Saxon expletive a dozen times or more, with a few other epithets thrown in. Artistically and emotionally, the scene was a triumph. But as so often happens, art gave way to commerce. The naughty words were muted so that the movie’s rating could be changed from R, which stands for “Restricted,” to PG-13, where the PG stands for “Parental Guidance.”