This 30th anniversary documentary treats film fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of My Fair Lady, the classic musical about a poor young girl transformed into a woman of society...
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This 30th anniversary documentary treats film fans to a behind-the-scenes look at the making of My Fair Lady, the classic musical about a poor young girl transformed into a woman of society through the tutoring of Prof. Henry Higgins. Includes footage of the filming process, as well as discussion by modern film critics about the impact movie had on later films. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
Possibly the best making of and restoration documentary.
Tonight is the second time I've seen this film. Why? Because it's so darn well made, as I very rarely ever watch a film twice. Back in 1995 as now, I marvel at the love and care that went into this documentary film--and how incredibly complete and fascinating it is.
The film is narrated by Jeremy Brett (TV's most famous Sherlock Holmes). I think he was chosen since he was in the original full-length movie and he was one of the surviving members of the cast. His voice is just lovely, though as I heard him the second time I felt a bit melancholy, as Brett died soon after making this documentary--well before his time.
It begins with a discussion of the plays "Pygmalion" by Shaw and the musical adaptation by Lerner and Loewe as "My Fair Lady". Not surprisingly, this great musical broke box office records on Broadway--it was the perfect combination of songs, story and acting. Soon, Jack Warner bought the film rights and much of the film is about the making of this movie.
An additional component is the discussion of the horrible condition of the existing film. After decades of neglect, the 70mm print was a mess and needed very extensive restoration. Here is where the documentary got interesting, as you get to see the restorers at work as well as how their digital equipment works. Additionally, you hear how the restorers remixed and improved the lousy soundtrack. Richness, clarity and enjoyability were considered and the new sound version was, in some ways, better than the original (such as making Rex Harrison's terrible singing sound not so terrible; and I am NOT saying I disliked Harrison in the film--they WANTED a man who was more an actor and not a singer).
From start to finish, this is a fascinating film and imperative viewing for anyone who adores "My Fair Lady". I wish all making of documentaries were this good and few are in its league (a great example of films which ARE would include the amazing "Gone With the Wind" film included on the deluxe DVD collection). See this.
By the way, the most wonderful part of watching the special features was that they discovered most of the original singing by Audrey Hepburn (the full-length movie actually used Marni Nixon's singing, not Audrey's). It was a joy to actually hear her singing some of the music in the documentary--and she wasn't that bad. But, it's not in the documentary but in another part of the disc ('Production').
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