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My Fair Lady (1964)

A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

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(book), (from a play by) (as Bernard Shaw) | 1 more credit »
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Won 8 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Mona Washbourne ...
Isobel Elsom ...
John Holland ...
Butler
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Storyline

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 Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most loverly motion picture event of all! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

25 December 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mi bella dama  »

Box Office

Budget:

$17,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$72,000,000 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The shoot was unusually exhausting for Audrey Hepburn, who lost eight pounds during filming. Her work was intensified by domestic problems with husband Mel Ferrer, who was playing a supporting role in Sex and the Single Girl (1964) on the Warner's lot. Finally, George Cukor had to shoot around her for a week so she could get her health back. See more »

Goofs

When Eliza is singing "I Could Have Danced All Night," the maids are furiously trying to dress her into the nightgown. Her right sleeve is tied but the left remains untied until she exits the bathroom where it's tied. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[sounds from crowd, occasionally a word or phrase, indistinct and mostly not associated with a character]
Mrs. Eynsford-Hill: Don't just stand there, Freddy, go and find a cab.
Freddy Eynsford-Hill: All right, I'll get it, I'll get it.
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Crazy Credits

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Sanford and Son: My Fair Esther (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

The Rain in Spain
(1956) (uncredited)
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Performed by Rex Harrison, Wilfrid Hyde-White, and Audrey Hepburn (dubbed by Marni Nixon)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A musical with a brain as well as a heart
28 August 2003 | by (Cambridge) – See all my reviews

There's a lot of negative things been said about Audrey Hepburn's interpretation of the role of Eliza. Perhaps she's not ideal in the earliest scenes of the movie - her "dirtiness" is never quite believable - but it has to be said that despite this smallish drawback she still glows, and makes an amazing Eliza overall.

The reason for this is simple; Audrey Hepburn brings her "own spark of divine fire", (to quote Higgins) to the role and her vulnerability, mixed with her sweet, naive charm and even her wonderfully juvenile pettishness shown in "Just You Wait" all prove what a talented actress she really is. For an example of this, just watch Eliza's facial expression at Ascot, when she realises her opportunity to demonstrate her new-found mastery of the English tongue - sweetly hilarious.

MFL has been criticized as being too romanticized, too overblown. I disagree; musicals are suposed to be lavish affairs, and none pull it off quite so well as "My Fair Lady" does. It's a momentous film but it has its subtle points: watch the way in which Eliza's eyes are centred on Higgins when she enters at the ball, and the way in which the two of them stare at each other for a few seconds at the top of the stairs a few moments later.

It musn't be overlooked that, thanks to its being based on a Bernard Shaw play, "My Fair Lady" has what the great majority of musicals lack: a deeper meaning and something really quite profound to say.

The actor in the role of Colonel Pickering is a little weak, but it must be said that Rex Harrison IS Henry Higgins. In a lot of ways (in fact, in most ways) Higgins has an objectionable personality: rude, snobbish, impatient and even misogynistic, but somehow Rex Harrison pulls it all off and makes us like Higgins without betraying the character. As to romance, his song "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" is an ode to the kind of love which sneaks up on you. Overall, this movie is romantic, but not too sentimental. It has just enough romance to be dramatically fulfilling, but it never becomes soppy or mawkish. The word "love" is never mentioned at all and the two leads never even kiss. The famous end sequence is perfect and does the movie justice; after all, a big happy bow tied around a perfect romance at the end would simply not fit with everything we have learned about the two protagonists.


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