‘The King’s Speech’ May be Sanitized for Safer Consumption

According to the LA Times, Harvey Weinstein has said that for a post-Oscar theatrical re-release of The King’s Speech he is, “talking with director Tom Hooper about trimming the profanity that earned the film an R rating in order to attain a PG-13 or even PG.” Apparently he wants to copy the British model for the film’s success where less harsh restriction let children over 12 in to see the movie.

This is a good idea from where I’m sitting. Just the other day I overheard a group of fifteen year-old boys talking about how they got turned away from seeing The King’s Speech on a Saturday night and had to resort to breaking bottles in the alley behind the 7–11 and smoking cigarettes they stole from their mom instead. And with a PG rating, The Weinstein Co. could also take advantage of the potential market that comes from all of actor Colin Firth’s “Tiger Beat” pin-up spreads. I know more than one tween girl who was disappointed that they haven’t been able to see the movie.

The only problem lies in the compromises that may be made in trimming the film. Seeing as how the use of profanity is a pretty important plot point as to how Firth’s George VI overcomes his stammering, I can only imagine that dubbing would have to take the place of huge scene cuts. If they take a page out of the broadcast version of The Big Lebowski and work in the phrase “find a stranger in the Alps”, then I am especially on board.

That this strange idea of Harvey Weinstein’s comes so soon after the literary world was in an uproar about a new edition of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” that replaces all of the N-bombs with the word “slave” kind of makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. We’ve started a very interesting cultural narrative of censorship here in 2011.

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