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Movie Review

My Fair Lady

Reviewed by: Brett Willis

Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Older Child to Adult
2 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Cover Graphic from “My Fair Lady”
Featuring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White
Director: George Cukor
Producer: _____
Distributor: _____

This film and “The Sound of Music” were produced at about the same time, won Best Picture Oscars in consecutive years and are still marketed in parallel by Fox Video. Of the two, this Lerner and Loewe musical is a little more daring in its content, but on the whole quite enjoyable.

Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), a linguist who supposedly can tell by accent what section of London a person was raised in, bets that he can “retrain” the poor flower-vendor girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) and pass her off as a noble at a snobbish party. Throughout most of the film, Higgins has only a cold experimental interest in Eliza, not a personal one; but of course things can change. There’s someone else who’s also interested in Eliza, and his song “On the Street Where You Live” is my personal favorite from this film.

There’s no profane content as is found in more modern films, but there’s some subject matter that could be a problem for young children. Eliza’s father is a strange duck-a philosophical professional sponge (thus the song line: “With a little bit of luck you’ll never work”) who wouldn’t want a large windfall of money all at once lest he become different from his fellow sponges, and who lives with a woman outside of marriage. Higgins has been a hard, unfeeling person; but working with Eliza eventually changes him more than it does her. Besides the other adult themes prominent in the film, there’s the concept of class-based prejudice (which Eliza’s “retraining” is designed to defeat).

The 1938 film version of George Bernard Shaw’s play “Pygmalion,” the original, non-musical version of this story, starring Leslie Howard (“Gone With the Wind”) and Wendy Hiller, is also available on video and is a very good rendition (a Best Picture nominee).

Viewer Comments
Yes, maybe a little slow paced, but this musical is quite entertaining to those who appreciate the comedy, theme, and overall type of movie that is defined here. All the songs are witty, but don’t quite compare with Oscar and Hammerstein, or the Sherman Brothers, the other renowned song writers of the time. The acting is well done; each actor and actress does an extremely well job of displaying the characters they represent. All in all, the movie is a typical musical of the time, but is worth watching for a couple of laughs and some pretty decent songs. My Ratings: [4/4]
Aaron O., age 14
Slow paced musical, with only a couple of good songs. I had a hard time with how Henry Higgins kept insulting Eliza throughout the movie. Higgins was a perfect male chauvinist… ugh. Audrey Hepburn is charming as ever, though, even though she is not doing her own singing. My Ratings: [3/2]
Hillari Hunter, age 38