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Rupert Murdoch Pere Knew King's Speech Therapist Lionel Logue

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 12, 2011 at 7:14AM

In his weekend column, Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern reveals a fascinating connection between WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch and Oscar front-runner The King's Speech: With "The King's Speech" gaining the Oscar traction it deserves—the latest boost being an expression of approval from Queen Elizabeth—I can't resist going public with a story that I've relished telling to friends, and to the people who made the movie. Several weeks before it opened, I had a conversation with Rupert Murdoch, who popped a question familiar to movie critics: What should he see?
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Thompson on Hollywood

In his weekend column, Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern reveals a fascinating connection between WSJ owner Rupert Murdoch and Oscar front-runner The King's Speech:

With "The King's Speech" gaining the Oscar traction it deserves—the latest boost being an expression of approval from Queen Elizabeth—I can't resist going public with a story that I've relished telling to friends, and to the people who made the movie. Several weeks before it opened, I had a conversation with Rupert Murdoch, who popped a question familiar to movie critics: What should he see?

I suggested "The King's Speech," and, not wanting to spoil it with too many details, gave a shorthand description: Colin Firth as King George VI, who has a terrible stutter, and Geoffrey Rush as a raffish Australian speech therapist.

Yes, he replied, Lionel Logue.

"So you know the story."

Not the story of the movie, he said. "Lionel Logue saved my father's life."

When I responded with speechlessness, he explained that his father, as a young man, wanted passionately to be a newspaper reporter, but couldn't interview people because he stuttered. Then he met Lionel Logue, who cured him in less than a year.

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Stuck In Love, Media, Oscars, Tom Hooper, Critics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.