Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady

#90 on the AFI Best 100 American Movies List.

My Fair Lady is a 1964 musical film adaptation of the Lerner and Loewe stage musical, of the same name, based on the 1938 film adaptation of the original stage play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The ballroom scene and the ending were taken from the previous film adaptation (1938) (Pygmalion), rather than from the original play. The film was directed by George Cukor and starred Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

The film won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director.

* Audrey Hepburn (Marni Nixon, singing) as Eliza Doolittle
* Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins
* Stanley Holloway as Alfred P. Doolittle
* Wilfrid Hyde-White as Colonel Hugh Pickering
* Gladys Cooper as Mrs. Higgins
* Jeremy Brett (Bill Shirley, singing) as Freddy Eynsford-Hill
* Theodore Bikel as Zoltan Karpathy
* Mona Washbourne as Mrs. Pearce, Higgins' housekeeper
* Isobel Elsom as Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
* John Holland as Butler

Musical numbers

1. "Overture"
2. "Why Can't the English?" - Higgins
3. "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?" - Eliza, Workers
4. "An Ordinary Man" - Higgins
5. "With a Little Bit of Luck" - Alfred, Drunkards, Workers
6. "Just You Wait" - Eliza
7. "Servants Chorus" - Mrs. Pearce, Servants
8. "The Rain in Spain" - Eliza, Higgins, Pickering
9. "I Could Have Danced All Night" - Eliza, Mrs. Pearce, Maids
10. "Ascot Gavotte" - Ensemble
11. "Ascot Gavotte (Reprise)" - Ensemble
12. "On the Street Where You Live" - Freddy
13. "Intermission"
14. "Transylvanian March" - Band
15. "Embassy Waltz" - Band
16. "You Did It" - Higgins, Pickering, Mrs. Pearce, Servants
17. "Just You Wait (Reprise)" - Eliza
18. "On the Street Where You Live" (reprise) - Freddy
19. "Show Me" - Eliza
20. "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" (reprise) - Eliza, Workers
21. "Get Me to the Church on Time" - Alfred, Workers
22. "A Hymn to Him (Why Can't A Woman Be More Like a Man?)" - Higgins, Pickering
23. "Without You" - Eliza, Higgins
24. "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" - Higgins
25. "Finale" - Ensemble

Hepburn's singing was judged inadequate, and she was dubbed by Marni Nixon, who sang all songs except "Just You Wait", where Hepburn's voice was left undubbed during the harsh-toned chorus of the song and Nixon sang the melodic bridge section. Some of Hepburn's original vocal performances for the film were released in the 1990s, affording audiences an opportunity to judge whether the dubbing was necessary. Less well known is the dubbing of Jeremy Brett's songs (as Freddy) by Bill Shirley.

Rex Harrison declined to pre-record his musical numbers for the film, explaining that he had never talked his way through the songs the same way twice and thus couldn't convincingly lip-sync to a playback during filming (as musical stars had, according to Jack Warner, been doing for years. "We even dubbed Rin-Tin-Tin"). To permit Harrison to recite his songs live during filming, the Warner Bros. Studio Sound Department, under the direction of George Groves, implanted a wireless microphone in Harrison's neckties, marking the first known wireless microphone use in film history. André Previn then conducted the final version of the music to the voice recording. The sound department earned an Academy Award for its efforts.

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