Pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins is so sure of his abilities that he takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. His subject turns out to be the lovely Eliza Doolittle, who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects. Higgins and Eliza clash, then form an unlikely bond -- one that is threatened by an aristocratic suitor.Written by
Although her singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon, Audrey Hepburn's singing does actually appear in the form of the first verse of "Just You Wait, Henry Higgins". However, when the song heads into the soprano range (76 seconds in), Nixon takes over vocals. Hepburn sings the last 30 seconds of the song as well as the brief reprise. She also sings the sing-talking parts for "The Rain in Spain". Overall, as Hepburn reportedly said, about 90% of her singing was dubbed. That was far more than what she expected, as she was initially promised that most of her vocals would be used. According to Nixon, Hepburn was upset that she could not play the role vocally, and always blamed herself for that. See more »
In the number "With a Little Bit of Luck", as Alfred Doolittle walks to the left side of the screen and sings, "They're always throwing goodness at you, but with a little bit o' luck a man can duck," the camera pans far enough to the left to reveal the tracks of a modern rubber tire in the dirt, probably made by the camera dolly or a mobile light stand. See more »
[sounds from crowd, occasionally a word or phrase, indistinct and mostly not associated with a character]
Don't just stand there, Freddy, go and find a cab.
All right, I'll get it, I'll get it.
See more »
In the posters, playbills and the original cast album for the stage version of "My Fair Lady", the credits always read "based on Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' ", letting the audience know what play "My Fair Lady" was actually adapted from. The movie credits simply read "from a play by Bernard Shaw". See more »
The quintessential musical with a staggering pedigree.
The classic case of an embarrassment of riches.
The infrastructure of this jewel reads like a Who's Who of American Cinema. Take the play by George Bernard Shaw. It's in the Western Canon of Literature, for heaven's sake. Then add lyrics by Jay Lerner and his longtime collaborator composer Frederick Loewe who gave us everything from An American in Paris, to Gigi, to Brigadoon, among many others.
Directed by George Cuckor, whose credits include not only Gone With the Wind, but also a string of Katherine Hepburn films, My Fair Lady bears Cuckor's brilliant touch in directing leading women. And what a leading woman he had to work with this time. Audrey is breathtaking in every move and every syllable she utters.
But that's not all. Those stunning costumes designed by Cecil Beaton are without peer in modern cinema, especially the Ball Gown. Audrey was so exquisite that she looked unreal, perhaps of another species, as she descended the stairs and donned her velvet cape.
With music direction by Andre Previn, the baton behind Gigi, Porgy and Bess, Kiss Me Kate and even Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady's musical pedigree is complete. From this perspective, My Fair Lady is the culmination of a generation of America musicals, and the greatest one of them all even before the first frame was filmed.
Ironically, Audrey was denied a well-deserved Oscar. She didn't even get nominated, which from an historical perspective boggles the mind. The Oscar that year went to Julie Andrews for Mary Poppins. Andrews, who had popularized the role of Eliza Doolittle on Broadway before the movie was made, passed on My Fair Lady to do Mary Poppins. Andrews, a gifted singer, was reportedly miffed at the casting of Hepburn, whose singing was dubbed by an uncredited Marne Nixon, and Hepburn's exuberant performance was completely ignored by the SAG.
But there were enough Oscars to go around. Beaton, Harrison and Previn all collected statuettes, and My Fair Lady collected eight total and was nominated for four more.
This immense achievement was almost lost to deterioration, but the newly restored version is stunning. If you don't have this one in your collection, you can't call it a collection.
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