Review by Brian Koller|
2½ stars out of 4
It's far too long at 170 minutes. The pace is too slow.
Some of the songs are tedious (especially "On the Street
Where You Live", the theme song for stalkers worldwide).
Eliza's father (Stanley Holloway) should make his own
movie, as his character doesn't quite fit in this one.
Hepburn is more likeable as a squawking flower girl than
as a robotic fashion model.
But despite all its faults, "My Fair Lady" is still a
good film. The costumes are excellent, the script, sets
and casting is good, and, with the exception of lovesick
Freddy (Jeremy Brett), the main characters are both
likeable and credible. While songs come from the moon/june
school of songwriting, blandly tailored to appearl to
the widest possible audience, the choreography that supports
them is good (My favorite has Hepburn fantasizing an
execution of Harrison).
"My Fair Lady" is based on the George Bernard Shaw play
"Pygmalion". Conceited linguistics Professor Henry Higgins
(Rex Harrison) makes a bet with fellow blue-blood Colonel
Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) that he can transform flower
girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) into a lady. Hepburn
becomes subject to Harrison's relentless and degrading
training methods, but at least she gets to wear a wide
variety of expensive dresses. Hepburn is a success at a
ball, winning Higgins' bet, but the question of Hepburn's
future, and her relationship with the insulting Harrison,
remains to be settled.
For years, "My Fair Lady" could only be seen on NBC.
Eliza's exhortation "Move your bloomin' arse" was dubbed
to "Move your bloomin' legs", thus demonstrating that
even a G-rated movie could not always get past network
"My Fair Lady" is regarded as a dinosaur today; a lavishly
produced musical whose target audience is middle-aged
women and not their teenaged sons. Of course, the film
was more highly regarded in its era. It won eight Oscars
including Best Picture, Director (George Cukor), Actor (Harrison),
Cinematography (Harry Stradling) and Score (Andre Previn).
It also won for sets, costumes, and sound. Supporting actor
nominations went to garrulous Holloway and Gladys Cooper
(She played Harrison's mother, and was the fortunate recipient
of the film's best lines).
Copyright © 1995 Brian Koller