By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
George Bernard Shaw remains one of the greatest dramatists ever. One of his most iconic plays is Pygmalion, which lead to a celebrated film version in 1938, and formed the basis for one of the best musicals ever to hit the Broadway stage. Jack Warner from Warner Bros. paid $5 million for the film rights to My Fair Lady, and produced the Best Picture winner of 1964. Indeed, this film will remain one of the fairest pictures ever to grace the silver screen.
The overall design of the film is incredibly beautiful. The splendor of the sets, cinematography, and costumes captured the essence of Shaw’s beloved stage play. The music of Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe enhanced the film, and the soundtrack is still popular. Some of the greatest songs ever made are in this film, such as “I Could Have Danced All Night.” This film is also a favorite for many Audrey Hepburn fans as they witnessed the actress transform from a Cockney flower girl to a fair lady. It is almost like witnessing a “Cinderella story” unfold within turn of the century London.
In spite of Audrey Hepburn’s enduring legacy, her performance as Eliza Doolittle is arguably not one of her best performances. That is because this film’s Hollywood backstory remains controversial. Julie Andrews originated the role of Eliza Doolittle on the stage, but Jack Warner wanted a major Hollywood talent to play that character in the film version. Warner ultimately chose Audrey Hepburn because of her popularity. Ironically, Andrews ended up winning wide-spread acclaim for Mary Poppins while Hepburn could not even receive an Academy Award nomination. Marni Nixon dubbed Hepburn’s singing, which made Hepburn lose some credibility. Some fans insist that Hepburn could have done the singing by herself, though, and clips of her singing the famous songs with her own voice are available on YouTube. Hepburn might have been cast in order to increase box office revenue, but she still worked hard to bring Shaw’s protagonist to life, and the beauty of her performance is still very subjective.
My Fair Lady will always be one of the greatest Hollywood musicals. This film has enchanted audiences for more than fifty years, and many people still enjoy the songs. In fact, the songs “The Rain in Spain” and “I Could Have Danced All Night” have been covered on the TV show Glee. Lerner and Loewe formed one of the greatest Broadway duos since Rodgers and Hammerstein, and their musical talent led to one of the most beautiful films ever made.
My Fair Lady (1964) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever anyone sings the phrase “Poor Professor Higgins.”
Take a Drink: whenever Eliza Doolittle screams using her Cockney accent
Drink a Shot: every time Professor Higgins uses the curse word “damn.”