“ Genre: Musicals & Classical / Theatrical Release: 1964 / Director: George Cukor / Actors: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison ... / DVD released 27 September, 1999 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen „
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This film has long been considered a classic, yet if the word 'classic' brings with it thoughts of black and white film and old Hollywood story lines , have no fear. From the dirty underbelly of London to the comfortable, luxurious living of the upper classes, My Fair Lady captures all these elements of the city, throwing together different classes, genders and ages to create something quite different from a 'classic' plotline. As a musical as well, it excels in using the songs to move the plot along and to emphasis points within it, compared with recent attempts in this genre in the modern era, where songs are forcibly forced into the story. The film is also a pleasure as it shows the re-emergence of characters which have disappeared from film such as the confirmed bachelor in the form of Professor Higgins. In short, My Fair Lady epitomises the essence of the word classic, that timeless quality which means that the film continues to be powerful, however long it has been since it was first filmed. A truly wonderful film, especially when watching with the older generation, where memories are shared and created at the same time.
RELEASED: 1964, Cert. U
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 166 mins
DIRECTOR: George Cukor
PRODUCER: Jack Warner
MUSIC: Frederick Loewe & Alan Jay Lerner
SCREENPLAY: Alan Jay Lerner
Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle
Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins
Stanley Holloway as Alfred P Doolittle
Wilfrid Hyde-White as Col. Hugh Pickering
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Adapted from the 1938 original Broadway musical of the same name which in turn was based on George Bernard Shaw's 1912 play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady is a 1964 film that ended up walking off with nearly all of the year's Academy Awards.
I'm sure most people are familiar with the storyline of My Fair Lady, but for those who aren't, it is set in Edwardian London, and largely centres around phonetics and language specialist Henry Higgins taking young street flower-seller, Eliza Doolittle, under his wing with the sole intent of turning her into a lady. Initially it was Eliza's cockney London accent that drew forth Henry's interest as he believed he could teach her to speak properly.
Resentful at Henry's aggressive tuition methods, yet wanting to stay with him for the accompanying treats she receives such as lovely clothes and lots of chocolate, Eliza at first makes a terrible fuss each time Henry criticises anything about her, but gradually she allows him to continue his work on her with no more than the occasional mild complaint.
That is the basic outline of the plot and I'm sure most people are familiar with the film to some extent, but if not, you may like to see it for yourself to find out more.
Back in the 1960s when My Fair Lady was all the rage, most people loved and admired the late Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, and it's true to say that she was an extremely pretty woman who is also fondly remembered for many other leading lady roles.
My own personal opinion of the acting style by all concerned in My Fair Lady, particularly that from Audrey Hepburn, is I think somewhat different to most people's. I feel the dialogue of the film races along much too fast in that all of the actors, particularly Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn, speak as if they're trying to imitate a round of shells being fired from a Kalashnikov. As well as speaking too fast for my brain to mostly keep up with, all of the actors shout their way through the film, which for me is a grating, unpleasant experience, and I thus always have to set the volume control to very low.
I can't fault the cast from the aspect of their acting as such, because each person truly became their part, but the whole film would be a lot better if firstly they'd have slowed down their speech quite a bit, secondly lowered their voices to ease up on the decibel levels and thirdly, for Audrey Hepburn to have taken lessons prior to filming in how people with a cockney accent REALLY speak! The accents throughout were absolutely terrible and nothing like true working-class Londoners would have spoken, even back in Edwardian times. Just as an aside....I spent a lot of my formative years around people who were elderly and haled from the East End of London; these people at the time My Fair Lady is set in - approximately 1910-ish - would have been about the age I approximate Eliza Doolittle was supposed to have been, and these people I knew didn't speak anything like that at all. Their accents were almost identical to mine, which isn't dissimilar to the original 1980s cast of the soap East Enders....and my accent bears no resemblance in the slightest to Eliza Doolittle's - nor have I ever heard any Londoner's that does.
To be fair to Audrey Hepburn though, she did act her part well so long as she kept her mouth shut, and Rex Harrison was quite believable as the well-heeled, self-interested, smug, belittling, arrogant Henry Higgins.
I really am not the world's greatest fan of musicals at the best of times as I prefer to watch something that carries me into the world the story is trying to create, and people breaking into riotous song every few minutes removes any existing levels of reality or authenticity for me, but I do quite like to watch a musical when I'm in the mood for something light and undemanding. If any of you are devout fans of musical film/theatre though, I feel certain you'd love this production as it certainly does go to town, tells a story and is something the kids can watch too as aside from one extremely veiled sexual reference contained within, which I'm certain even today's comparatively enlightened under-12s wouldn't pick up on or understand, My Fair Lady is 100% pure innocence.
I must have seen My Fair Lady at least twenty times in my life and when I was very much younger than I now am, I used to enjoy it in a strange sort of way. My own ageing process has laced my preferences with a modicum of discernment, to the point where I feel I can now say that purely for me, the film is nowhere near as good as I once believed. However, despite my feelings for it having changed through the passage of my adult life, I do understand why so many people love My Fair Lady as there's no doubt that it belts out rather than oozes, a high degree of family entertainment value.
The best time for me to watch My Fair Lady, or for anyone whose tastes in films and music is similar to my own, is on Christmas afternoon, whilst relaxing and trying to digest the mountains of roast turkey and Christmas pudding.....that's when it really shines, comes into its own, and presents as a first-class piece of entertainment. At all other times, I prefer to watch something powerful and moving, or darkly humorous.
It may seem that a hefty chunk of what I've said above appears to be overly critical in a negative sense, but My Fair Lady is a musical film which doesn't really hit my spot unless I'm wearing a paper hat from a Christmas cracker, have the top button of my jeans undone, am somewhat mellow from having sunk a couple of bottles of something rather nice and sitting with a bowl of nuts in front of me, smelling that Christmas tree pine needle aroma.
At the time of writing, the DVD of My Fair Lady can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.50 to £12.66
Used: two copies available at £3.98 and £4.00
Currently, it does appear that My Fair Lady appears in its entirety on YouTube but part 1 has been blanked out. It is difficult to piece the film together as there are quite a few random files claiming to be the full film, yet when clicked into, some are merely clips/snippets. Many other clips/snippets are available to watch and I'd probably not recommend attempting to view the film in full on YouTube as I personally don't believe it's worth the trouble of trying to sort out the haphazardness of the various uploads which claim to be the full film.
It is very difficult for me to give an accurate star rating for My Fair Lady, because although I'm not massively keen on it myself, I can see and understand the appeal it would have across the board and it is a lavish production which is very well put together despite the dodgy accents, rabid dialogue and that infernal "Owwwwww!!" Eliza Doolittle expostulates each time Henry Higgins chastises her. Also, a lot of the songs written for the musical have deservedly become all-time classics. After having given the matter a lot of thought, I've decided to opt for three stars, although I'm not sure how George Bernard Shaw would have felt if he'd been able to see his work tampered with in this way.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
I used to always look out for My Fair Lady when it would come on TV, much to the frustration of the rest of my family who don't really go for 'old classic films'. When it last came on I sky plussed it. It taking up a fair chunk of the sky box, so when my sister spotted this on sale in HMV, for the princely sum of £3, she bought it for me in the hope that I would free up some space for her American soaps and be able to watch it on my laptop whenever I wanted!
My Fair Lady is based on the play 'Pygmalion' written by George Bernard Shaw in 1913. The film itself is a musical, with some spectacular songs, and is set in Edwardian London. It tells the story of a young flower girl called Eliza (played by Audrey Hepburn). Eliza sells her flowers in London's Covent Garden but dreams of bettering herself and working in a flower shop.
One evening, after the opera has finished, she is selling her flowers as usual when Henry Higgins (played by Rex Harrison), a phonetician, takes an interest in her and copies down everything she is saying to study later. Eliza becomes angry with this, and on hearing her speak some more with her 'dreadful accent' Higgins laments the English and asks why they can't teach their children how to speak properly. He boasts to the crowd that is gathered outside that in 6 months he could teach Eliza how to speak properly and turn her into a lady. At this point he bumps into an old friend, Colonel Pickering, who he invites to stay with him at his house in London.
The next day Eliza turns up at Higgins' house and asks to be taught to speak properly. Colonel Pickering bets Higgins that he cannot fulfil the boast that he made the previous night and says he will pay for Eliza's lessons. Higgins accepts and Eliza's lessons begin right away. Both Mrs Pearce, the housekeeper and Colonel Pickering express concern about Eliza and say they should find out about her family and think about what's to become of her after the 6 months but Higgins, excited by the challenge, brushes these concerns aside.
Henry boasts that in 6 months he will take Eliza to the Embassy ball and pass her off as a duchess. The story follows Eliza's highs and lows as she is spends hours re-learning to speak. We see the complex relationship develop between Higgins and Eliza and there are songs aplenty along the way. How will Eliza fare and will Higgins be able to live up to his claim and pass Eliza off as a duchess? You'll have to watch to find out!
My Fair Lady has to be one of my favourite films. It's one that I come back to again and again. The story is engaging, witty and raises some interesting issues.
Higgins is quite a brash character and in some ways reminded me of a spoilt child! He judges people by the way they speak and believes that people can better themselves just by speaking a certain way. He even appears frustrated by people's accents and instead of admiring the richness this adds to the English language he seems to think we should all be speaking in the same way. When taking on Eliza as a pupil he had no thoughts for her feelings and welfare but just saw her as a challenge to be fulfilled. It is once Eliza has mastered speaking 'correctly' that we see Higgins naivety, as he believes that his job is done. There is no thought as to Eliza's background and how she would fit into the 'upper class' environment, in terms of etiquette, phrases spoken and topics to talk about, which have hilarious consequences when Eliza is 'tried out' at the races. At times his character was quite cruel and I really disliked him, however as the story develops, he comes to understand Eliza and finds he has a soft spot for her and towards the end of the story I didn't find him so bad.
Colonel Pickering on the other hand is a true gentleman and has a somewhat calming influence on Eliza and Higgins' relationship, often providing the voice of reason.
I thought Eliza played the role really well, although at the beginning her 'cockney?' accent did grate somewhat. I grew up in London and can't say that I've heard anything like it myself! She was charming, witty and head-strong and complemented Higgins' character really well.
There are some very catchy songs in the film including:
- Wouldn't it be loverly (my favourite!)
- I'm getting married in the morning
- The rain in spain
- I could have danced all night
- With a little bit of luck
- On the street where you live
and whenever I watch it I find it hard not to end up singing along - it's a good job I usually watch this on my own!!
The film itself was shot beautifully. The set was realistic and I was quite surprised to learn that initial scenes that take place in Covent Garden were actually filmed on a set and not on location! The film was made in 1964 and in my opinion has stood the test of time. The costumes I thought were elegant and eye-catching, particularly those in the scene at Ascot and at the Embassy ball.
Despite being around 3 hours long, the story is fast paced and at no point did I get bored. The DVD I am reviewing is a special double-disk edition, with the second disc containing bonus features such as interviews with the cast and commentary from the director, which were quite interesting, though I'm not sure I'd watch these again!
Overall I found the film thoroughly enjoyable and in my opinion, this is a timeless classic.
There is nothing finer than spending a cosy afternoon in watching an old musical - and My Fair Lady is one of the more sophisticated ones with its careful costume design (oh - those wonderful black and white costumes at Ascot). Starring Audrey Hepburn (who was dubbed by Marni Nixon for most of the film) as Eliza Dolittle and Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins, this is a tale of someone wanting to better themselves - only to find that they now have no social status anywhere.
Based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmallion, this is an opulent tale of London streets, people so poor that they sell heather to theatre goesr to make ends meet, and the balls and dances of the glittering classes. As I sadi the costumes are wonderful and the sets reminsicant of old time London. Yet at the heart of the film there is, what becomes, a simple love story between someone who doesn't know that he is looking for love and someone who just wants to be needed by someone.
Songs such as "Why Can't the English" and "I could have danced all night" have since passed into musical folklore - as has "Get me to the chuch on time". There have also been many discussion as to the ending - did Henry and Eliza end up together or nor?
Whatever the ending this is one DVD that all muiscal lovers hsould have in their library. It is completely understandable why both hepburn and Harrison won Tony awards for their performances. In case anyone is in any doubt - I love this film and this dvd - go buy it!
I just watched this for this first time in ages at the weekend. And it still holds all the charm it did the first time round. Of course with Audrey Hepburn as the leading lady with balls of steel and little manners it was always going to be good. What makes it though is Rex Harrison trying desperately to squash the common flower girl as he transforms her from street trash to royalty, before realising that it's her brashness that he actually likes as he gets a run for his money.
From the opening chords you know the music will be light but powerful and extremelly funny. From the lament of Wouldn't it be luverly and Eliza dreaming about what she thinks she wants to her belting out Show Me and Hymn to Him showing that she is a powerful force not to be tampered with this movie goes from slum to snobbery in true style.
Okay so rex Harrison speaks rather than sings, and Audrey Hepburn was dubbed, which I reckon cost her the Oscar to Julie Andrews for the incipid Mary Poppins that year.
The film not only charts the rise of a new socialite but also pokes fun at Ascot and the snobbery of the upper class. It's quite ironic that Freddy knocked Eliza down outside the Opera House and later drools over her at Ascot. the songs are fabulous with most of the comedy left to Rex and his continual maning about woman and why he his superior.
But don't forget Eliza's dad. he has two great numbers and shows how fun the working(?) class can be. he takes musical numbers and turns them into spectacles.
The costumes and set are stunning and Audrey hepburn looks amazing when dressed for the ball. The Ascot scene is especially well placed, watch out for the two women dressed the same!!! Horror!!
this film is perfect for a wet afternoon in on the couch. The only down side is the ending which some people don't like. I like to think that the two leads realise that they have met their match and who knows, will marry one day.
All in, it's a great movie, brilliantly restored with some very clever satirical comments that still have a place today. The male chavanism is wonderfully wicked and non PC, but that's the way I like it.
I have have only one questions. You haven't got a copy? 'Move yer bloomin' arse!!!'
A lover-ly film! Everyone should watch this film at least once, pure feel good escapism. Starring the incomparable Audey Hepburn as Eliza Dolittle, a lowly flower girl taken in by Henry Higgins (played by Rex Harrison), a rude and misogynistic phonetics professor with the intention of making her presentable in high society. As a musical the songs play a major role in depicting how the characters feel, most notably Eliza's feelings towards the professor, from Just You Wait Henry Higgins to I Could Have Danced All Night. However, Audrey Hepburn was criticised for not singing the songs herself, and having been dubbed by Marni Nixon. Saying this I can't imagine anyone else playing Eliza (are you listening Keira Knightly?!)
A lovely family film, a true rags to riches fairytale with likeable characters, even Henry Higgins becomes somewhat appealing!
I'll end the review with my favourite quote from the film
Eliza - "The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated"
Based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, My Fair Lady follows Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle as she is taken under the wing of well-to-do vocal expert Henry Higgins. Higgins wagers that he can pass Eliza off as foreign royalty at an extravagant ball and sets to work transforming her speech and manners. Eliza comes to resent Henry's strict rules as he forces her to practice her vowels until she is hoarse and Henry becomes equally frustrated with having to share his bachelor pad with an 'irrational' woman. But, with this being a classic musical, we all know a happy ending must be just around the corner!
This is a wonderful musical with some fantastic songs and beautiful costumes and choreographed scenes. The scene at the racecourse is particularly memorable for the exquisite gowns and hats of the ladies at the races. Audrey Hepburn is charming as ever as rough diamond Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison shines as lovable curmudgeon Henry Higgins. It is a great feel-good family movie.
My fair lady is a beautiful and irresistible musical. The dvd version of this film has been expertly restored from the original 1964 film version.
Audrey Hepburn takes the lead in what is a truly lovely story. A cockney flower girl, Eliza, is given the challenge of transforming from an outspoken commoner to a proper lady and taking on this challenge is Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison).
The film is taken from the play 'Pygmalion' and has a loveable quality about it. It is the story of finding out who you are and overcoming the barriers made within social divides.
The film has won 8 academy awards and has touched people hearts everywhere. I personally love the message of overcoming your social status and proving that everyone is someone.
Like any great musical, the film is jam-packed with super catchy tunes that you will be singing for days and days afterwards.
The film is quite dated and not always of the best quality, however if you have never seen my fair lady it is definitely worth seeing and giving it a chance.
This film is suited to people who love musicals and may not be something that everyone will enjoy. If you are looking for a film that has a lot of action and a lot happening then this is not the film you should watch but if you want a fun filled emotional musical with loads of fun catchy tunes and great characters then 'My Fair Lady' is a film you should definitely try watching.
Running Time: 166mins
Certificate: U - suitable for absolutely anyone!
My Fair Lady is my all time favourite musical. I love the story and I love the songs.
My Fair Lady is based in turn on the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. It is about a misogynistic professor of phonetics making a wager with his friend, that he can teach any woman to speak properly so much so he can pass her off as a duchess.
The story set in Covent garden where Eliza Doolittle ( played by Audrey Hepburn ) with her strong cockney accent and rough demeanour became the challenge for the professor to transform her.
The lyrics of the songs are mesmerising and it stays in your mind all the time. My favourites are The Rain in Spain, I could have dance all night, wouldn't be loverly, on the street where you live, get me to the church on time and with a little bit of luck.
Everytime I watch the musical, I will remind myself about the correct way of pronounciation.The play with english words can be seen in the phrase" In Hertford, Hereford, Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen" and don't we always try to say with perfection " The Rain in Spain always falls Mainly in the Plain".
the Casts in My Fair Lady-
Eliza Doolitte - Audrey Hepburn
Prof Henry Higgins - Rex Harrison
Colonel Pickering - Wilfred Hyde-White
Alfred Doolittle - Stanley Holloway
My Fair Lady had won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.
My Fair Lady is a legend, a must have DVD at home to watch over and over again.
My Fair Lady is a musical that I really love to watch. It was produced in 1964 and stars Audrey Hepburn in the lead role of Eliza Doolittle but is still an enjoyable watch today.
My Fair Lady is quite simply a rags to riches story whereby Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower girl, is spotted by the supremely assured phoneticist Henry Higgins. The reason behind his noticing of her is her somewhat coarse cockney accent, which does raise quite a few laughs when listening to it. After taking his abuse Eliza later visits Higgins at his home requesting that he teach her to speak properly so as she may own her own flower shop. An argument with his dear friend Colonel Pickering sees Higgins bet that under his tutelage Eliza could be passed off as a Duchess at the Embassy Ball.
The remainder of the film then follows Eliza as she struggles to learn the language of a lady and follows her transformation as she progresses from little more than a street urchin to become a lady of stature. It is now that the real laughs pour in thick and fast as Eliza tries to comprehend what she must learn and how she must behave and Higgins comes to realise the depth of the task he has created for himself.
Now being a musical the songs are of course exceptionally important to the film itself and for me they are truly fantastic and are definitely ones you will remember for a long time. They range from upbeat songs to more soft and sombre tunes and everything in between. The vocal performances of all the lead actors are tremendous with every note being crisp and in key. It must be added here therefore that Audrey Hepburn simply mimed her vocals as Marni Nixon in fact sang them.
Every song within the film certainly adds a certain something but my favourite songs simply have to be "Why can't the English?" and "Wouldn't it be Loverly", which are performed right at the beginning of the film. My reasoning for this is that these two musical performances showcase the differences between the speech of the two lead characters in a humorous and quite frankly brilliant way.
Of Course the cast itself are also very important and again seem to have been superbly picked for the roles they fulfil. Audrey Hepburn is fantastic as Eliza but wasn't the filmmaker's first choice. Julie Andrews was the first person wished to play the role of Miss Doolittle but was eventually dismissed, as the consensus was that she wasn't famous enough and would not draw in the audience - how wrong could they have been. Saying this however Hepburn really does do a sterling job in this role and her acting style really shows her to be a very versatile actress.
Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins and Wilfred Hyde-White as Colonel Pickering are also tremendous in their roles. The two characters compliment each other brilliant with Pickering constantly seeing the best in Eliza and Higgins always seeing the worst.
Now I'm not saying this film is in any way perfect as it does have quite a few flaws. For example if watched closely a great number of continuity errors do come to the forefront. As well as this when Hepburn's character screeches, which she does a lot, the sound isn't very pleasant and although I presume this was the intended effect it can become rather irritating and may make some people disinterested especially as it occurs early on in the film.
Despite this however My Fair Lady is still a film that I would recommend to everyone. It has a rating of U and so is suitable for all family viewing. I would however strongly recommend it to anyone who loves musicals, as this certainly is one of the best.
My Fair Lady is a musical adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion. It tells the story of Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney flower girl, who approaches Professor Henry Higgins for speech lessons, in order that she may learn to speak properly, and work in a flower shop.
My Fair Lady is one of my favourite films ever, and I think a lot of this has to do with the casting. Although there was a bit of a furore at the time over the casting of Audrey Hepburn as Eliza, I think that it was a genius move. She is one of my favourite actresses, and brings so much to the part of Eliza. She also works particularly well with Rex Harrison, who plays Henry Higgins. Of course, these are the main, starring roles, but I think there are another two actors that are brilliant in My Fair Lady - Stanley Holloway and Wilfred Hyde-White. Holloway plays Alfred P. Doolittle, and his musical number "Get Me To the Church on Time" is one of my favourites. And, as General Pickering, Hyde-White is such a delight, the perfect foil for Henry Higgins!
This is really a great musical, and even if they didn't trust Audrey Hepburn to do her own singing, it's a musical that everyone should see!
~~ My Fair Lady ~~
This is a wonderful endearing film, a story of rags to riches, based on the original story of a cockney flower girl Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The Screenplay and Lyrics were done by Alan Jay Lerner he is also responsible for the stage musical before the film concept was taken on. Warner Bros paid a whopping $5 million for the film rights.
~~ The Film ~~
The film starts off in an Edwardian setting with all the gentry dressed in their finery coming out of the theatre on the wet cold night, you have the street sellers packing up and covering up their wares from the rain. This is the scene where we first meet five of our cast; it is one of the most important scenes as it sets the storyline. It is where our dear Eliza Doolittle a cockney flower girl meets the arrogant Professor Henry Higgins. It is quite comical hearing cockney at its most coarse; Professor Higgins is an expert on the English Language and also runs elocution lessons. I have to smile at one comment Higgins says, he calls Eliza 'a squashed cabbage leaf'.
Eliza approaches Professor Higgins and asks him to teach her to talk more genteel so that she could sell flowers in a shop, and get her own little place to live. Professor Higgins decides after an argument with his friend Colonel Pickering that he bets that he could turn Eliza into a lady and convince those at the forthcoming ball held in 6 months time at Buckingham Palace that she is a lady of stature.
We sit through and watch Eliza's struggle and her transformation from a street girl to a lady, this in itself has some extremely funny moments, like the time the maids try to give Eliza her first ever bath, I think the screams were probably heard 3 streets away, lol. We also get to know more about Professor Higgins and his approach to life, he sings a very catchy song that tells us exactly what kind a man he is : ).
I am going to leave the film now, as I will write little snippets with the cast and song titles to follow. Plus, I would not want to spoil the film for you.
~~ The Cast ~~
Audrey Hepburn - Eliza Doolittle - she played this part wonderfully, she is such and elegant and versatile actress. Sadly although she was nominated for an Oscar for this part she lost to Julie Andrews, who played Eliza on the stage, but was turned down by Warner Bros for the film version. Audrey Hepburn got the biggest payout ever at the time for her part as Eliza Doolittle $1 million flat fee.
Rex Harrison - Professor Henry Higgins, extremely well suited to the part. He actually approached Warner's for the part of Higgins, which he had played on the stage. At first he was turned down, but they eventually took him on at ¼ of the cost of Eliza Doolittle. He also had a trick of speaking his lyrics of the songs to the melody, instead of singing, but it worked very well.
Stanley Holloway - Alfred Doolittle - Eliza's father, he played a cockney out of work dustman, there are many funny scenes and songs with Alfred, one particular scene is where he goes to see Professor Higgins to 'sell' his daughter.
Wilfred Hyde-White - Colonel Pickering - A gentleman staying with Professor Higgins, he is Eliza's adversary who pulls Higgins up on his manners and behaviour at times, he also treats Eliza like a young lady even when she was a street flower girl.
Gladys Cooper - Mrs Higgins - the professors' mother
Jeremy Brett - Freddy Eynsford-Hill - Freddy falls head over heals in love with Eliza, will it be reciprocated, you will have to watch and find out.
Theodore Bikel - Zoltan Karpathy - he plays a small but substantial part to the storyline, he has the most comical hair do. He was also a past student of Professor Higgins.
Mona Washbourne - Mrs Pearce - as Professor Higgins house-keeper she looks after Eliza and tries to bring reason to Henry Higgins.
Isobel Elsom - Mrs Eynsford-Hill - She is Freddie's mom.
Director - George Cukor.
Choreography - Hermes Pan
~~ Songs ~~
Why Can't The English? - Sang by Professor Higgins like all Rex Harrison's songs very catchy.
Wouldn't It Be Loverly? - sang by Eliza Doolittle (voice over by Marni Nixon, who has a wonderful voice). This endearing song, was sung in a cockney accent.
I'm An Ordinary Man - a catchy tune done by Rex Harrison telling us that he is just An Ordinary Man.
With a Little Bit O' Luck - sung by Eliza's cockney father Alfred. A chirpy number where he is on the scrounge for a few bob.
Just You Wait - Sang once again by Eliza, singing about what she would like to do to Professor Higgins.
Poor Professor Higgins - Sang by the Higgins household staff all offering him there sympathies.
The Rain In Spain - I love this song, it is sung by Eliza 'correctly' and the excitement and fun really come out with the song.
I Could Have Danced All Night - A lovely ballad sung again by Eliza.
Ascot Gavotte - A lovely scene with elegant black 'n' white costumes, performed by the dancers and singers.
On The Street Where You Live - This is sung by Freddie as he hangs around outside Eliza's home trying to catch a glimpse of her. A very pleasant love song.
You Did it - a chirpy congratulatory song by Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering.
Show Me - Eliza and Freddie - A sort of love ballad.
Get Me To The Church On Time - a fun song by Alfred Doolittle sang obviously the night before the big day - lol.
A Hymm to Him - Sung by Higgins about how he does not understand women (now I know you men will say who does, he, he).
Without You - Another sort of duet between Higgins and Eliza.
I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face - Sung by Higgins reflecting on the last 6 months.
~~ DVD Extra's ~~
Jump To Scene - there are 50 scenes and you can pick which scene from blocks of 4.
Select Languages - English, French and Italian. Subtitles are available here also. There is also a button which will take you to the Commentary - this can also be found in the special features section which I will come to shortly.
~~ Special Features ~~
Commentary by Art Director, Gene Alden, the restoration team of Robert Harris and James Katz, Marni Nixon also commentates; she did the singing voice of Eliza Doolittle. - This lasts the whole length of the film as they talk over each scene of the movie. I found it could take a little while to get used to as you have to cut off the sound track of the film in the back ground in your mind as they are both playing at the same time, obviously with the commentary being slightly louder. But if you love to know how it was all put together then it will be worth viewing and listening to.
Original Featurette - The Fairest Fair Lady - This is a 10 minute background feature showing you scenery and costume making, filming, dressing rooms, wigs, the staff behind the scenes and the millinery.
Audrey Hepburn Vocals - there are two songs listed under this title - Wouldn't It Be Loverly? And Show Me - both sang here by Audrey herself, she has a nice voice, but not a patch on Marni who does her voice over.
Theatrical Trailer - this runs for 5 minutes, introducing you to the stars of the show and this also has sections from the original featurette as well.
~~ My Views ~~
I love this film, it is a nice story of Rags to Riches, it has a touch of humour and romance, it is easy to watch and enjoy with the whole family. I love the music and the way it carries you along with the story. Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn really compliment each other throughout. It will make you smile in just the right places. A timeless classic, they just don't make them how they used to these days. This film did not need magnificent million dollar special effects to make it good. The wonderful characters, the singing, the costumes, the atmosphere it created, the storyline all went to make it a fantastic film.
~~ Trivia ~~
It went on to win 8 Oscars as the 1965 Academy Awards.
It is rated U
Run Time: 170mins
I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did, thank you so much for reading.
If there's one thing I really enjoy it's old films, particularly musicals...and what better than My Fair Lady starring the one and only very fair lady, Audrey Hepburn, my favourite film star of all time. Filmed in l964 by Warner Brothers, My Fair Lady is, as most people will know, the film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion which in turn is based on the Latin Poet Ovid's story in Metamorphisis. In this Pygmalion falls in love with an ivory statue. He prays to Venus (as the Greeks did in those days) to make the statue come to life which duly happens. The l964 version was in fact the second time the story had been made into a film, an earlier version having starred Dame Wendy Hillier and Lesley Howard (who later found fame as Ashley in Gone with the Wind). It was also a successful Broadway hit with a very young Julie Andrews playing the part of Eliza Doolittle on stage. Julie was turned down for the film role however by Jack Warner who selected Audrey in her place.Luckily however, Julie subsequently won an Academy Award for the part of Mary Poppins, a role she would have been unable to play had she been selected for My Fair Lady. Poor Audrey didn't even get a nomination, although she attended the Awards and graciously accepted defeat in her usual elegant way. The film is directed by George Cukor who if I'm not mistaken also at one point directed Vivienne Leigh in Gone with The Wind although he was later replaced. Music is by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loew and the musical score is played by Andre Previn. Marnie Nixon dubs for Audrey as indeed she did for Deborah Kerr in the King and I, although certain parts of the song are actually sung by Audrey herself. Apparently Audrey was very disappointed not to be allowed to sing her own parts completely as she had undergone intensive training in this respect. If you listen carefully, it is possible to hear when Audrey sings and when Marnie actually
takes over ....usually when Eliza is playing her ladylike roles. The song "Why Can't a Woman be More Like a Man" was actually inspired by the rather grand Rex Harrison's disdain for his ex wife it's been said. My Fair Lady was nominated for no less than l2 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director and actually won 8 Awards. I wonder if anyone recognises Jeremy Brett in the cast .....he later went on to gain fame as Sherlock Holmes in the television series. Jeremy plays Freddie, the upperclass gentleman who falls madly in love with Eliza, particularly when she yells "Move yer bloomin' arse" at the Ascot Races. It was also nominated for best film set, although it has to be said that some of the sets now look very staged and rather dated and I have to admit that this does spoil the film somewhat in my opinion although this is more than compensated for by the music. Professor Higgins is played by the one and only Rex Harrison, with Colonel Pickering being played by the wonderful Wilfred Hyde White. The story itself is based on the bet between the two that Higgins, a so called phonetician, will not be able to pass off Eliza, a one time Covent Garden flower girl, as a highclass lady after giving her elocution lessons. Eliza, a dustman's daughter through trial and error is transformed, with many comedy scenes and a glorious soundtrack along the way. Her transformation is hampered somewhat by her father's interference and this role is given to Stanley Holloway who memorably sings "Get me to the Church on Time" when he inherits some money and becomes a man of substance, much to his horror. Eliza is eventually put to the test when she attends the ball with Higgins and Pickering hosted by the Grand Ambassador with the guest of honour being the Queen of Transylvania. The Queen is charmed by Eliza's beauty and it has to be said Audrey Hepburn di
d indeed look her elegant best at this point in the film. Eliza dances with the Prince and her accent is undetected by Higgins' greatest pupil who is also present at the ball. Look out for the scene when Higgins' mother expresses her concerns at her son's shoddy treatment of Eliza saying "You mean they never patted you or praised you for your wonderful achievments"......who does this bring to mind.....I couldn't help but think about Diana the last time I saw this film, it was an echo of what occurred during her lifetime. Higgins and Eliza fall in love and the film surrounds their realising this and the problems in their contrasting personalities, alongside this there is a background of the moralities and class prejudices of the time. There's no point telling anyone the outcome although I am sure there will be few who haven't seen it, but the film is a treat with glorious costumes and wonderful tunes including: Wouldn't it be lovely I could have danced all night .....my own personal favourite I've grown accustomed to her Face Get me to the Church on Time. With a little bit of luck. With dancing and fine acting, colourful film sets and the outstanding beauty of Audrey Hepburn, this is a family film not to be missed and one I personally will never tire of. Martine McCutcheon is presently playing the part alongside Dennis Waterman (as Alfred) and I am sure she will play the part well. For me however there will only ever be one Eliza and that's Audrey. On a final note just take a look at the My Fair Lady Website of playdolls. Somebody has actually set up Professor Higgins and Eliza Doolittle figurines,
Hollywood's legendary "woman's director", George Cukor (The Women, The Philadelphia Story), transformed Audrey Hepburn into street-urchin-turned-proper-lady Eliza Doolittle in this film version of the Lerner and Loewe musical. Based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady stars Rex Harrison as linguist Henry Higgins (Harrison also played the role, opposite Julie Andrews, on stage), who draws Eliza into a social experiment that works almost too well. The letterbox edition of this film on video certainly pays tribute to the pageantry of Cukor's set, but it also underscores a certain visual stiffness that can slow viewer enthusiasm just a tad. But it's really star wattage that keeps My Fair Lady exciting--that and such great songs as "On the Street Where You Live" and "I Could Have Danced All Night". Actor Jeremy Brett, who gained a huge following later in life portraying Sherlock Holmes, is quite electric as Eliza's determined suitor. --Tom Keogh