A History of Stuttering in the Movies

The new movie The King's Speech is about George VI and his problem with stuttering. The film is being hailed for its sensitive portrayal of stuttering, which is relative to the quite insensitive way previous movies have presented the disorder.
The movie, as formulaic in its way as Rocky or Rudy, is buoyed by its good acting and by its entirely new portrayal of a grown man who stutters: Colin Firth's King George gulps and strangles himself trying to get the words out, yet retains his dignity and invites our empathy. For the 1 percent of the population that stutters, and has withstood the additional ignominy of watching stuttering characters in Hollywood films, the movie is a rare catharsis. A likable king struggling to speak is significantly more attractive than the violent criminals (Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, Primal Fear), or abused, suicidal inpatients (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) of yore.

Slate has a slide show of video clips from movies that address stuttering, but even more interesting is their short history of attempts to cure stuttering. Link -Thanks, Jocelyn!

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