It's December, which means 'tis the season for Oscar bait! I saw The King's Speech over the weekend, and was impressed with the fantastic performances and compelling historical story of friendship, but most of all I was struck by the gorgeous sets!
Much of the movie takes place in various palaces and mansions in London, but the central transformative scenes occur in the (supposedly) humble office of Lionel Logue, the lovable, eccentric speech therapist who helps Bertie (the future George VI) overcome his stutter and discover his royally repressed emotional center.
Logue's office is in a rickety Victorian building. His treatment room is an enormous space with vaulted ceilings and leaded glass windows and skylights that let in a filtered winter light. The main wall is covered in mottled, multi-colored peeling plaster and paint, and in front of it is a well-used, gilded Louis XV sofa with antique-looking floral needlepoint upholstery — very Madame de Pompadour.
When the camera first took us into that room, my friend leaned over and whispered, "It's so trendy!" And she was right! The room is a fantastic interpretation of Bohemian chic. When Bertie was hurling himself across the floor during his speech exercises, all I could pay attention to were the perfectly faded, mismatched Oriental rugs. Other details are also charming, like the chandelier with Logue's son's model airplane hanging from it, the fabulous Art Deco wallpaper in the rest of Logue's house, and that Neo-Rococo explosion of a teapot that the Queen pours from when she pays a visit.
By all means, go see the movie as research for your office Oscar pool, but keep an eye out for the fabulous interiors — not just in Buckingham and Balmoral, but in Logue's cozy office, as well.
Production Designer: Eve Stewart; Art Director: Netty Chapman; Set Decorator: Judy Farr
Images: The Weinstein Company