My Fair Lady 4K review by Drusilla Blakey
It has been several years since I've seen My Fair Lady and honestly, when I think of the show...I think of the stage production, not the movie. So I was excited to see this new 4k, HD release of the film to see if it would be as I remembered.
This 1964 film is an adaptation of the stage production of the same name. It stars Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, a working-class London street vendor who sells flowers to passersby. Her dream is to save enough money to one day open up her own flower shop. Rex Harrison is the elitist Professor Higgins who makes a bet that he can turn Eliza into a sophisticated young woman in six month by providing her proper English lessons and tutoring in manners.
This new HD release is so vibrant and colorful! The beautiful sets and amazing costumes are even more breathtaking seen in such high definition. Since I mentioned it, the costumes are perhaps the most iconic thing about the film. Audrey Hepburn looks fabulous and breathtaking in each and every costume. My favorite scene (and costume) is when Eliza Doolittle visits the racetrack. Everyone's costumes in that scene are perfectly color coordinated but not one person is wearing the same thing. This is such an amazing feat for this costume team. Then Eliza shows up wearing an amazing white outfit with black accents and although she isn't wearing the same colors as everyone else, she is in the same color palette and it's just enough for her to stand out as she should.
Now one of the things that is more striking than I remember is the big age difference between Eliza and Professor Higgins. I know this is a typical 'Hollywood thing' but now that I'm older I find this to be so annoying and unnecessary. Could we not have found a slightly young Professor? Or a slightly older Eliza? At the time, Audrey Hepburn was 35 and Rex Harrison was 56 (yucky). However, Rex Harrison did play the same role previously in the stage production opposite Julie Andrews. In fact, some of the same actors were cast for the film...however, Julie Andrews was not.
Interestingly enough, it ended up being a good thing for her as she went on to star in Marry Poppins at the same time as My Fair Lady was being filmed. Additionally, this was a good thing for My Fair Lady as they really wanted the 'star power' of Audrey Hepburn.
Audrey Hepburn is a shining light in this film. You can't take your eyes away from her; she is truly captivating and the only thing that really helped me get through this as it is three hours long. Now, in fairness, the stage show is also about three hours. I do think there are some things that could be trimmed but since the film is an adaptation of the play, I'm sure there wasn't much they were going to change. So just a heads up, three hours...with an intermission - be aware. Now one of the things that is a bit disappointing in regards to Hepburn is the fact that she didn't actually sing the songs in the film; they were dubbed!! She absolutely wanted to sing the songs and she practiced a lot for the film. However, "the studio" decided to use Marti Nixon who was a professional voiceover singer at the time. In fact, you've probably heard her before and don't even know it.
Overall the film is as enjoyable as I remember. Audrey Hepburn is great, the musical numbers are great, the story is good and the sets and costumes are amazing.