Well, it’s May 20, so let’s celebrate “Eliza Doolittle Day” with My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison!
This is, obviously, the tale of common flower girl Eliza Doolittle, as played by Audrey Hepburn. After listening to Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) bragging that he could help her improve her English enough to work in a flower shop, she comes to his home, offering to pay for some lessons. Professor Higgins’ guest, Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White), makes a bet that Professor Higgins can’t teach her proper English and how to be a lady in time for the Embassy Ball, which Henry takes him up on. Eliza struggles for a while, but finally gets a handle on it. Sadly, things don’t go quite as well as they had hoped when Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering take Eliza to the races. However, Professor Higgins is determined, and they keep working to prepare Eliza for the Embassy Ball.
Of course, we can’t discuss My Fair Lady without mentioning the music! The music is most of the fun with this movie, with songs such as “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On The Street Where You Live” and many others! I personally enjoy “I Could Have Danced All Night” the most, but I can easily put on the movie’s soundtrack, and be smiling (and dancing) in short order! It’s just that much fun!
I should address one of the biggest controversies associated with this movie: Audrey Hepburn’s casting as Eliza instead of Julie Andrews. Personally, I like Audrey better as an actress and very much prefer her in this role. I know, she couldn’t handle all of Eliza’s songs, which is why she was dubbed for most of her songs (although she can be heard during a couple of songs, most notably the first part of “Just You Wait”). I know a lot of the blame lies with two people: Jack Warner (the head of Warner Brothers) and William S. Paley (the president of CBS). William Paley had financed the Broadway show and held the rights, so he apparently asked for a lot of money. Besides the high cost of the film rights, Warner Brothers would only have the film rights for a short period of time before the movie reverted to CBS, so Jack Warner needed the movie to be a BIG hit, way too much of a financial risk to rely on the then-unknown Julie Andrews, who had yet to appear on the big screen at the time this movie was being cast. For me, Audrey did a wonderful job, and I just can’t imagine anybody else in that role!
It took me some time, but this is a movie I have come to enjoy very, very much! I mainly saw it at first due to my late grandmother, who really liked it. I didn’t care for it as much, but I still enjoyed watching it with her. I probably didn’t really start to care for the movie until we finally made the upgrade to Blu-ray and a high-definition television (which happened long after my grandmother passed away). I enjoyed watching it far more than I thought I would. Not much later, I heard about a new restoration of the movie on the way. I would end up seeing that new restoration when it premiered in theatres (the first of two times I have had the good fortune to see this wonderful movie on the big screen), and again (and again) with the Blu-ray for that restoration! I very much understand why my grandmother enjoyed it, and it has been yearly viewing around May 20 ever since! So, obviously, I recommend this movie!
This movie is available on Blu-ray and DVD from CBS Home Entertainment, and is two hours, fifty-three minutes in length.
My Rating: 10/10