Monday, 7 February 2011

Wouldn't It Be Loverly! (My Fair Lady, 1964)



"All I want is a room somewhere, 

Far away from the cold night air.
With one enormous chair, 
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly? 
Lots of choc'lates for me to eat, 
Lots of coal makin' lots of 'eat.
Warm face, warm 'ands, warm feet,
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly? 
Aow, so loverly sittin' abso-bloomin'-lutely still. 
I would never budge 'till spring 
Crept over me windowsill. 
Someone's 'ead restin' on my knee, 
Warm an' tender as 'e can be. 'hoo takes good care of me, 
Aow, wouldn't it be loverly?
Loverly, loverly, loverly, loverly"
Wouldn't It Be Loverly ~ Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe

My Fair Lady (1964)

My Fair Lady plot summary: Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is just a poor flower seller in Covent Garden in London, until she is overheard bawling in her native Cockney accent by Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), phonetics professor extraordinaire. He boasts that he could pass her off for a duchess at an embassy ball. Realizing what she could achieve, she goes to Higgins to ask him for lessons in "how to be a lady" and he takes her up on her offer mainly due to a bet with his professor friend Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White).  Misogynistic and cynical, Higgins works her unbelievably hard and treats her very tough. They take her to a race at Ascot to show her off. It goes rather catastrophically when, after doing well until this point, she screams at the horse she bet on, 
"COME ON ROVER!!! MOVE YOUR BLOOMIN' ARSE!!!" That said, they manage to tidy her up for the embassy ball, but will she ever be able to know who she truly wants to be?

I know that My Fair Lady occasionally gets lots of schtick for not being what it said on the tin. Audrey Hepburn didn't sing her own songs, fair enough. Not many criticize the awesome Deborah Kerr for not singing in The King And I (or does she...)? We just take it that they couldn't quite manage the difficulty of the song, they are after all, not singers. I do agree that they probably should have cast Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle - it was her role on Broadway and she would have no doubt been great in the movie. 
Audrey's annoyed too.
Cecil Beaton was the cameraman and he did an amazing job with all of the cinematography. The Ascot race scene owes a lot to the on-stage race scene in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942). The costumes for that scene are just amazing, no words can describe how much I want any of these dresses... maybe not the hats though.

The music is superb. I love Alan Jay Lerner - he did one of my other favourite musicals, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970), which has a similar theme. My favourite songs (apart from "Wouldn't It Be Loverly") have to be "Why Can't The English" and "On The Street Where You Live".



I just adore Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins. I wish he would come and teach my class phonetics. I would laugh so hard if I saw him try and tackle my French set!!! I hear from Julie Andrew's autobiography that he was a bit of a nightmare to work with. Why does this not surprise me. It also said that he had insufferable wind, and just before his on-stage mother has to say, "Henry don't grind your teeth so!" in a performance of the Broadway show, he had the worst bout of wind. Blech.

I know this film is not perfect, but I do love it so. I would give anything to play Eliza Doolittle. Absolutely anything. I think she is possibly one of the best parts for a British actress ever. No doubt. This film has been a definite favourite of mine since I was four, and it's always going to stay a favourite. 

~Bette

3 comments:

Michael Scerri said...

I love the movie too!! I watched it so many times and yet,every time I watch it I cannot stop laughing. Great site Bette

eric186 said...

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rafael storm said...

"Cecil Beaton was the cameraman...." LMAO! Not.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. It makes me happy to see people are interested in my posts!

~Bette