Sunday, April 21, 2013

419. My Fair Lady (1964)


Running Time: 172 minutes
Directed By: George Cukor
Written By: Alan Jay Lerner, from the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Main Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper
Click here to view the trailer

A DOUBLE SHOT OF CUKOR: 2 of 2

From an analysis of Quentin Tarantino's work & an extra long "Pulp Fiction" review to the second part of a George Cukor double shot & "My Fair Lady" - Welcome to 1001 Movies I (Apparently) Must See Before I Die!



Let's see here: Eliza Doolittle (Hepburn) is a "street urchin", a girl with a wicked cockney accent, who sells flowers in the street and was brought up with a less than classy upbringing, to say the least. Her clothes are tattered & torn and her manners are virtually non-existent. Enter Henry Higgins (Harrison), a professor of linguistics who hears Eliza's speech and deems it cringe-worthy and deems Eliza herself a draggle-tailed guttersnipe! Henry, boasting about how good of a professor he is, tells anyone who will listen that, if given the chance, he could turn Eliza from a bum into a duchess and no one would ever be able to recognize the dirty girl with the cockney accent. Everyone goes about their ways, but Eliza thinks about what the professor told her and decides she wants more for herself ("Wouldn't It Be Loverly"), therefore, she takes herself to see the professor and there, she begs him to teach her how to talk properly. Higgins, at first, laughs at the idea, but then accepts the challenge to transform the vagabond Eliza Doolittle and present her at the Embassy Ball, the swankiest of swanky events, which will go down in six months. Can Eliza overcome her own voice or will Henry Higgins and his assistant, Colonel Pickering (Hyde-White) go mad trying to help her.


In "A Star Is Born", George Cukor shied away from the musical numbers and well choreographed numbers and focused more on the story. In "My Fair Lady", Cukor more than made up for that lack of musical flair, by cramming as many songs and numbers into this picture as he possible could. Now, this would usually be a surefire turn off for me, because as much as I like musicals, I like it better when there's not a big Broadway number around every turn. However, despite a staggering FIFTEEN musical numbers in "My Fair Lady", I nearly enjoyed every second of it! I'd attest my enjoyment, partly, due to the high quality of the songs, as I found myself tapping toes and whistling along to over half of them. My personal favorite, you might care to know, was "With A Little Bit of Luck", because for some reason that song just went into my head and refuses to come out. In fact, "Get Me to the Church On Time" is also great, proving that Stanley Holloway knew how to add that extra bit of showmanship to his numbers and really make them pop.


But the real star of the show here is Rex Harrison, who was incredible as Henry Higgins. I won't go so far as to say that Audrey Hepburn shined, because I don't think she really did. However, her flaws weren't too obvious and the talent of her supporting cast helped to prop her up and make her look a bit better. Hepburn's performance was too fake, not genuine enough and I didn't for a second buy her as a "draggle-tailed guttersnipe". She did okay, but we'll leave it at that. Otherwise, the film is GREAT fun and I think even musical haters will find a few songs that they can tap toes too. The story is good enough (supported by the music) and the cast (sans Hepburn) is stellar. I'm really shocked at how well I took to it and I think you'll be to. Give it a chance!

RATING: 8/10  After a super long review yesterday, I decided to keep things short and to the point today. Apparently "Pulp Fiction" got the ball rolling though on what hopefully becomes a nice string of great pictures.

MOVIES WATCHED: 662
MOVIES LEFT TO WATCH: 339

April 21, 2013  4:36pm

2 comments:

  1. I'd been avoiding making a comment on an Audry hepburn Musical... You know, the old saying, "if you carn't say something nice, say nothing"...
    But then I thought that i did actually remember several bits that were quite good... EVEN (and I'm going to whisper this so no-one but you will hear it) some of the songs were OK...and yes, I guess I mean 'get me to the church' as well.
    Ray

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stanley Holloway was definitely one of the stars of this show and "Get Me to the Church On Time" and "With a Little Bit of Luck" are proof of that.

      Delete

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