The King’s Speech—Anchor Bay

Video: 4/5
Audio: 4.5/5
Extras: 3.5/5

After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue. After a rough start, the two delve into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually form an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill, the King will overcome his stammer and deliver a radio-address that inspires his people and unites them in battle. Based on the true story of King George VI, "The King's Speech" follows the Royal Monarch's quest to find his voice.

Anchor Bay delivers a very nice looking HD transfer that falls just short of reference quality. While shot on film with prime lenses, the Blu-ray transfer reminds me more of a digitally captured film with one of the earlier 2K cameras like the Genesis. Fine object detail is quite good in close ups but the overall look of the film is a tad soft. Dimensionality is solid though and even depth holds up well, but you can’t help but notice the slightest compromise in overall detail. Despite the rather difficult material (lots of fog and dreary London weather), compression artifacts are never an issue. The color palette looks intentionally dull at times with saturation never being a strong point. Overall it looks about the same as the digital presentation I saw in theaters, only a smidge softer. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is excellent with a gorgeous score and plenty of ambiance and atmosphere. The mix is inventive when it needs to be and the balance of elements is dead on. Dynamic range is solid when it needs to be but this track rarely stretches it legs.

Extras are pretty decent overall and include interviews and production features. You also get a look at the real story behind the friendship portrayed in the film. The best feature was the recordings of the real speeches presented in the film though, they made for a great comparison with the film’s profound moments.

The King’s Speech was definitely one of my favorite movies of last year. While I don’t know if I would have picked it for best picture, I can’t think of anything that I thought was a better film overall. We just got lucky with a lot of great films last year. Firth is superb as is Rush, which is never a surprise. If you didn’t get a chance to catch this one during its theatrical run this is a must see. Highly recommended.