Friday, 11 May 2012

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady, 1964
Directed by George Cukor
Nominated for 12 Oscars, Won 8
Up Against: Becket, Dr. Strangelove, Mary Poppins, Zorba the Greek

My Fair Lady is the story of a poor young English woman, and a rich older speech therapist. When the speech thearpist, Henry Higgins, meets the young English woman, Eliza Doolittle, and hears her horrid Cockney accent, he makes a bet with another speech therapist, Hugh Pickering (a new acquaintence), that he could turn this any woman into a proper speaking woman and present her as a duchess at the Embassy Ball. Eliza, who aspires to work in a flower shop, instead of selling flowers on the streets, goes to Henry the next day, asking for proper English lessons. Henry Higgins is a pompous, slightly sexist man, who is more used to working with upper class people. Eliza reminds him that he said he could pass off any woman as a Duchess after working with her for 6 months, and Pickering decides to pay for Eliza's lessons and clothes, etc, if Higgins will, in fact, train Eliza. He says yes, and the work begins, though Eliza is a loud, stubborn woman, showing his work is cut out for him.

I feel ashamed to say I've never seen an Audrey Hepburn movie before this. That being said, I have no idea what to expect with this movie. It looked like another cutesy musical, and I was interested in seeing it.

First off, Audrey Hepburn was totally awesome in this film. I'd always pictured her as a dainty soft-spoken kind of girl (sort of a back-then's Carey Mulligan). But she totally rocked the crazy Cockney, whining young woman. She was horribly annoying and her accent was terrible (all of that in a good way! you know?). It was fun watching her on screen, making her transformation. Although her transformation was a little abrupt, it was fun. She didn't look all that special in the beginning, but she looked amazing when she got all dressed up.

Rex Harrison, who played Henry Higgins, was also great. He was pompous and arrogant, but also had a sort of lovable side to him, and Harrison really embraced that.

The movie really deserved all the Oscars that it won, Directing, Best Actor, Cinematography, Sound, Score, Art Direction and Costumes. Addition nominations included Supporting Actor (Pickering), Supporting Actress (Mrs. Higgins), Editing and Adapted Screenplay. I was sorely disappointed that Ms. Hepburn wasn't even nominated, but that's the way it goes I guess. She'd gotten her Oscar several years before for Roman Holiday.

The only flaws I found in the movie was it ran on too long. Clocking in at 2hrs and 52 minutes, some of the film (the scenes about Eliza's father, for example) were unnecessary, and the movie could've been solved earlier.

However, all the musical numbers were great. Most musicals there's at least either a) a long slow song that the girl sings (ex, As Long As He Needs Me, from Oliver!), and/or b) a long modern number (Broadway Melody Ballet, from Singin' In The Rain). I was surprised that there was neither of these in My Fair Lady, giving the film an extra few points for me.

Overall, the movie was enjoyable. It was cute, and funny, and Audrey Hepburn was great.

Acting- 9/10 
Directing- 7.5/10 
Screenplay- 7/10 
Visuals- 8/10 

Music- 9.5/10 Emotional Connection- 7.5/10 
Entertainment- 8/10 
Rewatchability- 8/10 
Overall Enjoyment- 8/10 

Overall Package- 7.5/10     
Total: 80/100

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