Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
What the MPAA Rating should be: G
Directed by: George Cukor
Written by: Alan Jay Lerner
Based on the plays by: Alan Jay Lerner and George Bernard Shaw
Produced by: Jack Warner
Starring: Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Stanley Holloway
Studio: Warner Brothers Pictures
The film musicals of today are flashy works of art that flip that the camera a lot and edit rapidly making it impossible to see the dance moves. The only recent musical to follow the old directing style was the new film version of The Producers
. It's always nice to sit back and watch an old, classic musical like George Cukor's My Fair Lady
. Adapted from the Alan Jay Lerner Broadway smash, which itself was based on Pygmalion
, the brilliantly written play by George Bernard Shaw, My Fair Lady
is an entertaining romance that features some absolutely delightful performances from the two leads. This film presents these previously mentioned sources with respect and honour and what makes for a highly involving three hours.
Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is able to easily figure where in England somebody lives based on their speech patterns and while demonstrating this special technique to the public, he shows his distaste for the current state of the English language and proposes he can make a lower class flower girl into a lady. Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) decides to take him up on the offer, which proves quite a challenge for Higgins, due to her absolutely appalling accent. After weeks of preparation, she is finally tranformed into a beautiful duchess, which causes a love triangle between her, Higgins and the easily smitten Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Jeremy Brett).
Unlike the recent musicals, My Fair Lady
relies on humourous character interaction over highly edited song numbers. They are subtle and not blasting the music in the viewer's face. Rex Harrison is an incredible delight as he speaks his lyrics in the way Higgins would if he was a real person. He does a tremendous job of a man who goes from insulting Eliza to starting to being enchanted by her sudden beauty and speaking manner. Audrey Hepburn also plays Eliza wonderfully and it is very unfortunate that she goes so much scrunity because she replaced Julie Andrews in the making of the film and the fact that her singing was dubbed. In fact, as proved by recently released footage, there was no need to put Marni Nixon's voice over Hepburn's. She brings this strong female character to life and manages both English accents perfectly. Both Hepburn and Harrison work off each other very well and the script, taken mostly from Shaw's original work, is superb. The songs are so fantastic, they speak for themselves. My Fair Lady
is a musical I highly recommend and a worthy break from Chicago
and Moulin Rouge!
Rex Harrison plays Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady.