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
Jack L. Warner originally didn't want Rex Harrison to reprise his stage role as Higgins for the film version, since he had seen Cleopatra (1963) and thought the actor looked too old to be believable as Audrey Hepburn's love interest. Peter O'Toole was considered for the role of Professor Higgins, but his salary demands were too high. Harrison responded in a letter to Warner that he had only looked old as Gaio Giulio Cesare because he had been playing an epileptic at the end of his life, and after sending some publicity photographs of himself - minus his toupee - he was eventually cast. See more »
During "Ascot Gavotte" when the crowd go to the edge of the track to watch the race, it zooms in on one area of the crowd. You see everyone raise their binoculars to watch the race. While they watch the race the shot cuts to a wider, side view and the third woman from the right (When it was zoomed in) has lost her binoculars entirely, yet when the camera zooms in again to see them lower the binoculars, she has them again. 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.
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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 »
There are many reasons to watch "My Fair Lady": It has incredible music. It is splendidly colorful. Audrey Hepburn is at her stylish best. What always draws me to this movie, though, is the incredible performance turned in by Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins. The journey of his character is the central block among-st which everything else coalesces around.
For a basic plot summary, "My Fair Lady" is a grand experiment proposed by uber-bachelor Higgins (Harrison) and friend Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White). He bets Pickering that he can take lowly "gutter-snipe" Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) and turn her into a "lady" by primarily changing her phonetics.
Like I said, there are numerous reasons to watch the film. Immediately after viewing, I purchased the soundtrack to add to my music collection, as it is that good. Watching in HD also allows the colorful nature of the film to really "pop". Women will also likely be captivated by the fashions and the contrast between what Eliza starts off as and who she becomes.
As a "fellow" watching the film, however, I became more immersed in the journey of Professor Higgins than anything else. I personally have never seen Rex Harrison in any other movie, so to me every time I watch "My Fair Lady" he is 100% Higgins without bias. Whereas I was sometimes a bit confused with how we were supposed to understand Eliza's character, I could completely identify with Higgins (being male probably helps in this case). Without his performance, the experience of watching the film for me would have been a long, LONG three hours. With him in it, the time seems to fly by.
I would also be remiss not to mention a sparkling performance from Stanley Holloway as Mr. Doolittle (Eliza's father). Though I can't exactly put my finger on what his character brings to the overall relationship dynamic of the movie, Holloway contributes some of the catchiest musical numbers of the entire experience.
Overall, "My Fair Lady" is my favorite "sophisticated musical" to watch (only behind "Mary Poppins" in terms of musicals overall). Even though from the box art and trailer materials it looks more like a female-oriented production, it truly is not because of Harrison. A film that the whole family can enjoy, to be sure.
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