Film and Food

Movies reviews with matching food – eat, watch, enjoy

Best Picture – My Fair Lady (1964)

Starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison & Stanley Holloway

Rating 7/10

Oh most classic of all films, how do I start to pay homage to you? The songs, the costumes, the talk-singing, the “awwwwws” and the “go-orns”. Yes, this is My Fair Lady – a cinematic musical masterpiece and here’s why.

It starts and finishes with one person: Audrey Hepburn. A beautiful, classy, talented, incredible actress who had it all. Her cute little button face just makes me happy. And her face is all over this film. And so to the storyline for those of you who have not ventured down this path… yet!

Eliza Doolittle (Hepburn) is a poor flower girl who runs into the stuck-up, arrogant phonetics professor, Henry Higgins (Harrison). A bet is wagered between Higgins and phonetics pal, Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White) with Higgins claiming he can pass Miss Dirty Flower Face off as a duchess at the Embassy Ball. Eliza tracks down Higgins to take him up on his offer and so begins the transformation of flower girl into lady.

After a few little bumps, Eliza has a breakthrough (something to do with the Rain in Spain being mainly on the Plain.) And after she announces she could have danced all night they try her out at the Ascot Races where she meets Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Jeremy Brett) who falls madly in love with her. Then she goes and blows it and the Professor takes her back for some more work which leads them to the moment of truth at the Embassy Ball where Eliza holds her head high and dances with the Prince. Success!

The twist comes, however,  when the phonetic obsessed boys take all the credit for her success and Eliza leaves in a jiffy only to find she no longer fits in any part of London society. Eventually she decides to marry Freddy and hang out with the Professor’s mum who is much more sympathetic than her son. And then onto the end which you’ll have to see when you watch the film.

This is a long film. The first half is my favourite although the second has its charms. I love the outfits, the songs (mostly) and the sets are appropriately minimalist. Professor Higgins is not my favourite character. Why he talk-sings I’ll never know. Most annoying. His arrogance and unapologetic bullying of Eliza are teeth-grindingly irritating and I don’t like him one bit! Pickering, on the other hand, was a delightful gentleman.

Yep, this is not your typical romance film. The only soft focus moment comes when Eliza is dreaming of destroying Higgins (as we all were, I’m sure). However, this is a classic film. It has borrowed some filmic techniques from Gigi with the use of tableaux but what film hasn’t borrowed something? It includes some of the best musical numbers of all time including: I Could Have Danced All Night, Wouldn’t it be Loverly, On the Street Where you Live – just to name a few.

So if you’re a man and you think it’s a film for girls (as my 6 year old son declared and then regretted declaring) then open your mind, grab a few hours on the couch and enjoy the beautiful, funny and soul soaring, My Fair Lady.

My Fair Lady Trivia: 

  • Budget a relatively outrageous $17 million
  • Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice was dubbed (in all songs except for Just You Wait) by Marni Nixon and Jeremy Brett, who played Freddy and a good singer, by Bill Shirley.
  • Cary Grant, Peter O’Toole and Noel Coward were all up for the part of ‘Enry ‘Iggins but good old Rexy was chosen as he played the professor on Broadway.
  • One of the first wireless microphones was used in this film as Rex-m’boy insisted on talk-singing his way through the Higgins numbers. As they could not get him to lip-sync these, they had to be inventive and where would Madonna be without them?
  • In the song I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face Rex Harrison is singing to his wife, Kay Kendall, who had died a few years back. Awwwww.
  • Elizabeth Taylor was next in line for the role of Eliza. How different the film could have been.
  • In the ‘H’ fire scene, Hepburn’s piece of paper is actually from the script of the film.
There’s something about the early 60’s and musicals. Next time, we’re looking at The Sound of Music, so don’t miss it! You can also find us on facebook. Just search for Oscar Club and like us today!!

2 comments on “Best Picture – My Fair Lady (1964)

  1. Pingback: 30DBC: Day 19 – Favorite Book Turned Into A Movie | Rhey of Sunshine

  2. Pingback: Day 19 – Favorite Book Turned Into A Movie | Rhey of Sunshine

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