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.