For Lights, Camera … we ask a craftsperson to talk about a specific scene in his or her latest film. This week, cinematographer Danny Cohen writes about creating tension in "The King's Speech" and the tricky lighting issues of filming in a recording booth.
In the climax of "The King's Speech," Colin Firth comes within 2 inches of a microphone to deliver a speech announcing the outbreak of war. Public speaking is something the monarch he plays has always dreaded due to a paralyzing speech impediment. But this is truly a moment to which a monarch is expected to rise.
The audience sees King George VI summoning up all his courage to successfully overcome his anxieties and fears to prove his mastery of oratory for this most important of all speeches.
The success of the film comes in part from always being with the king. Emotionally, the audience invests an enormous amount in the character, and that empathy is subtly pushed along by using interesting camera angles. Wide lenses were used very close to the actors' faces to really get under their skin, camera movement and lighting makes it compelling and keeps the viewer engaged with the anxious monarch.