Wednesday, March 2, 2011

And my Oscar goes to…

Rendering by Eve Stewart, Art director for "The King's speech"
As a photographer I can’t avoid seeing a movie as a sequence of still images and as an interior decorator I can’t refrain from loving or hating the movies set decoration.
Referring to the title of this post, Best set decoration (Art direction) Oscar 2011 was given to “Alice in Wonderland” and it was well deserved, but I want to give a virtual blogging Oscar, even if they were less scenographic and elaborate, to the interiors of “The King’s Speech” winner of four other Oscars.
The interiors have charmed me with wallpapers, tea sets, boiserie, chandeliers, fireplaces, decorative stucco and much more.

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The story is well known, London, 1930’s, the future King George VI (Colin Firth) needs the help of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to resolve a stammering problem impeding him to be at ease in public. The set changes several times from the simple study of the logopedist to the opulent and gilded royal (or royal to be) residence.
When the future king goes to the logopedist he finds a very simple, informal elegance. The rooms appear well lived, a worn sofa, several layers of wallpaper (can they represent the several layers of  our mind or the several layers of different personalities visiting the office of the Australian therapist?)

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In the study of Lionel Logue the worn sofa and the multi layered wallpaper
 speak of the personality of the therapist.

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A warm set of lights, a huge tall fireplace with a carved wood mantel give
a sense of warmth and intimacy to the study.

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The waiting room  is almost empty, a simple bench to seat on while waiting to be received and,
have you noticed? nobody greeting the patient.  No formality, no keeping up appearances:
“My castle, my rules”.

Art Nouveau style wallpaper and door, with stylized curvilinear  forms.

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The living room where the doctor family spend most of the day is also simple but elegant and even the future Queen is at aise serving tea, of course from teapot perfectly appropriate for the period. As Eve Stewart says: "There are always loads of old girls saying, “Oh, no. You’d never have a tea pot like that.” There’s a group of ladies here in England called the Lamp Spotters. They watch period films and if you make a mistake, they’ll write to you with a barrage of insults. I’m really scared of getting a letter!"

Very different the atmosphere in the royal palace, gilded stucco, elaborate chandeliers, Persian rugs, arrangements of flowers everywhere, very formal surroundings for scenes shot in the most beautiful English residences, like the  Lancaster House in London and several others in the country.

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The royal couple in their residence.

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Their living room, more modest but much cozier than the other huge rooms in the palace.

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And the Oscar goes…
Every detail chosen by Eve Stewart (read an interview HERE) is so perfectly representing the time of the story, from the lighting to the furniture, to the cup of tea…and the interiors are also very appropriate to the different personalities in the movie.

And the Oscar goes…
Colin Firth has well deserved the 2011 Oscar but he should also have won the same  Oscar in 2010 for actor in a leading role in “A single man”!
What a guy!

Photography courtesy of EaglePictures.

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5 comments:

Theresa Cheek said...

Those first two photos have intrigued me as well! I love the layers ...reminds me of a plane tree bark.

peggy braswell said...

How I loved your post+thanks for sharing. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Patricia Gray said...

It was the best movie I have since since 'I am Love'. Colin Firth's award was well deserved. Good post!

A CRITIC'S EYE said...

I am with you Albarosa. One of the Art Nouveau motion picture interiors I have always admired is Louis Jordan's apartment in GiGi.

little augury said...

I thoroughly agree, beautiful subtlety- often goes unrewarded. That paper is full on intrigue- and you expressed the significance so well. pgt

 
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