My Fair Lady – 4 Stars (Excellent)
The 1964 musical “My Fair Lady” is one of the best movies ever made, earning 12 Oscar nominations and winning 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (George Cukor) and Best Actor (Rex Harrison) among major awards.
Only Mary Poppins (with 5 Oscars) and Chicago (with 6 Oscars) has had more nominations (13) than My Fair Lady, and only West Side Story has more Oscars (10) with 11 nominations. Cabaret earned 8 Oscars with 10 nominations. Outstanding company to say the least. Personal favorites of mine also include Camelot and Fiddler on the Roof.
My Fair Lady finds a professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), entering into a wager that he can take an illiterate, uneducated flower girl from the wrong side of town and make her into a sophisticated lady, and does by correcting her speech, grammar, carriage, bearing and charm to create a perfect lady for London society.
My Fair Lady is a must see with some of the best lyrics and music ever written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. This Broadway musical by Lerner and Loewe would become a movie with Audrey Hepburn as the Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle alongside Rex Harrison.
When the professor gloats over his triumphant victory, his perfect lady walks out on him, leaving the professor mystified by her ingratitude. In the end, he realizes his feelings for Eliza, and she tentatively returns, a happy ending that was not part of George Bernard Shaw’s original play Pygmalion.
The Broadway play, My Fair Lady, opened in 1956 in New York with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the role of Eliza Doolittle, and ran for 2,717 performances, a Broadway record at the time.
With such a great heritage and Rex Harrison in the movie (he did win the Oscar for Best Actor), this is a truly great film with a marvelous score, and great acting that gives us an absolutely heartwarming story.
See My Fair Lady with your children at home, and give them a wonderful introduction to culture and breeding in the process. One of the great tragedies of our time is a dearth of musicals; thank goodness for the arrival of Chicago in 2002.