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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By the time "My Fair Lady" made it to the big screen, going to see the movie wasn't so much a night's entertainment as it became a near religeous experience. Jack L. Warner wanted Cary Grant as Prof. Henry Higgins but Grant declined, giving the studio boss no choice but to cast Rex Harrison in the lead - an inspired choice since Rex had already made the part his own on...
Published on Jan. 30 2004 by Nix Pix

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately I did not realise that it was coming from ...
Unfortunately I did not realise that it was coming from Europe and therefore would be the wrong format for the American continent.
I guess my fault but it is pity this is not made clearer in the advertising of the product.
I can now only play it on my computer and next time will be careful not to order DVD's from a European based company
Published 12 months ago by john muller

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IT DOESN'T GET MORE "LOVERLY" THAN THIS!, Jan. 30 2004
Nix Pix (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Fair Lady - 2 Disc Special Edition (DVD)
By the time "My Fair Lady" made it to the big screen, going to see the movie wasn't so much a night's entertainment as it became a near religeous experience. Jack L. Warner wanted Cary Grant as Prof. Henry Higgins but Grant declined, giving the studio boss no choice but to cast Rex Harrison in the lead - an inspired choice since Rex had already made the part his own on Broadway. The unfortunate oversight is that Jack Warner couldn't see Julie Andrews true potential beneath her common frumpery of the cockney flower girl. So in stepped Audrey Hepburn - delightful, charming, outstanding...alas, she couldn't sing! Her vocals - dubbed by Marni Nixon, became the subject of controversy that cost Audrey her Best Actress Oscar nomination. That went to Julie Andrews for "Mary Poppins". So did the win!
The plot: Two stuffy academics decide to overhaul a flower girl into a grand duchess. With a little bit of luck and a lot of comical training the job gets done and the result is a truly charming story elevated by exceptional production values and a thoroughly engaging musical score!
TRANSFER: OUTSTANDING!!! Colors are rich, vibrant and solid. Black and contrast levels are perfect. There are NO age related artifacts and NO digital anomalies for a picture that is, quite simply - PERFECT. The audio has been remixed to 5.1 and is brilliant, robust and thoroughly engaging for a film of this vintage.
EXTRAS: By george, I think they've got it! The original 1994 documentary which illustrates the film's near destruction and its breathtaking restoration is included for the first time on DVD, as well as a host of other extras including an audio commentary, multiple featurettes, snippets from the Oscar cerimony, theatrical trailers, a stills gallery and some commentaries by noted film makers and historians. Outstanding!!!
BOTTOM LINE: It isn't often that I can make the argument that nothing more could be asked for or expected of a classic movie's treatment on DVD. "My Fair Lady" is one of those 2 disc miracles of 'loverlieness' that has been timelessly and completely realized for the home theater film buff!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Fair Lady [1964] [Blu-ray] [US Import], July 17 2014
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Fair Lady [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)

AUDREY HEPBURN has never been more “lovely” than in this breath-taking musical extravaganza that won 8 Academy Awards® in 1964, including Best Picture*.

For the first time on Blu-ray, this beloved adaption of the Broadway stage hit. Starring AUDREY HEPBURN as a sassy working-class London street vendor flower girl, whom an arrogant professor REX HARRISON attempts to turn AUDREY HEPBURN into a sophisticated lady through proper schooling. But, when the humble flower girl blossoms into the toast of London’s elite, her teacher may have a lesson or two to learn himself. Performance, style and sweet spirit have made My Fair lady a timeless classic.

*Best Picture, Rex Harrison Best Actor in a Leading Role. Best Director: George Cukor. Best Art Direction-set Decoration, Best Costume Design, Colour, Best Music, Scoring of Music and Adaption or Treatment; Best Sound.

Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett, Theodore Bikel, Mona Washbourne, Isobel Elsom, John Holland and Queenie Leonard

Director: George Cukor

Producer: Jack Warner

Screenplay: Alan Jay Lerner and George Bernard Shaw

Composer: Frederick Loewe [music] and Alan Jay Lerner [lyrics]

Cinematography: Harry Stradling

Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.38:1

Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Japanese, French, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, German, Italian, Castilian, Brazilian and Portuguese

Running Time: 172 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review – Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe wrote a handful of memorable musicals, but 'My Fair Lady' remains undeniably their crowning achievement, and stands, along with 'Oklahoma!,' 'South Pacific,' and 'West Side Story,' as one of the most revered, revived, and quintessentially classic theatrical shows in history. Though most people remember the movie version of 'My Fair Lady' for its melodic score, captivating performances, witty script, and colourful sets and costumes, few realize George Cukor's Oscar-winning adaptation also stands as an awe-inspiring success story in the field of film preservation and restoration. Faded, scratched, and almost crumbling after years of neglect, 'My Fair Lady' presented a monumental challenge for Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, who in the early 1990s undertook the arduous task of revitalizing the picture. Film fans will forever appreciate their efforts (I still remember my open-jawed reaction when I first viewed the 2004 DVD), but unfortunately the Blu-ray rendering of 'My Fair Lady' doesn't do their work justice. More on that in our video review section below, but even a subpar transfer can't completely diminish the impeccable style, sophistication, and sheer delight of this beloved musical, which took home eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

George Bernard Shaw's scintillating tale of how Henry Higgins, an egotistical elocution expert, turns Eliza, a flower-peddling guttersnipe, into the epitome of grace and refinement in old London is well-known, and although many scoffed at the idea of wrapping songs and dances around Shaw's refined prose, most sceptics ate their words when 'My Fair Lady' premiered on Broadway in 1956. Studio chief Jack L. Warner quickly joined the chorus of admirers and paid the then astronomical sum of $5 million for the screen rights. Rex Harrison, who originated Higgins on the stage, quickly signed on to reprise his role, but Warner believed his co-star, Julie Andrews, who at that time had yet to make a feature film, lacked the national renown to draw large enough crowds to make what surely would be a pricey film successful. Much to Andrews' disappointment, Audrey Hepburn would play Eliza. (Andrews, however, eventually got her revenge, winning the Best Actress Academy Award for her debut role in 'Mary Poppins' the very same year. Hepburn, surprisingly, wasn't even nominated.)

Much has been written about the controversial hiring of Audrey Hepburn, a non-singing actress, for such a major musical. And although professional Marni Nixon (who was also the voice double for Deborah Kerr in 'The King and I' and Natalie Wood in 'West Side Story') eventually would be hired to record 95 percent of her vocals, Audrey Hepburn still turns in a spirited, passionate performance worthy of Oscar recognition. More dimensional than Higgins, Eliza brims with complexities, and Audrey Hepburn boldly depicts her inner struggles, yet shades her portrayal with a fragility and tenderness that is, at times, heart-breaking. As is mentioned on the disc's commentary track, Julie Andrews' cockney accent might have beset problems with Audrey Hepburn cockney accent, but nobody can play a princess like Audrey Hepburn, whom many still regard as Hollywood's most regal and glamorous star.

Rex Harrison, of course, so embodies Higgins, it's tough to tell where the character ends and the actor begin. Relishing every nasty putdown and thunderous rant, Harrison romps through the film with an infectious energy and debonair style that make us somehow forget his character's cruel and exasperating nature. Like Eliza, we wind up embracing Higgins' faults and (almost) forgiving his shameless sexism. When he ultimately confesses 'I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face,' the admission resonates like shockwaves from an earthquake, and we think maybe he's not such a hopeless case after all.

'My Fair Lady,' however, is so much more than Hepburn and Harrison. Cukor directs the feature in a Minnelli style fashion, with meticulous attention to colour, set decoration, and costumes. (The eye-popping gowns and outrageous hats by Cecil Beaton adorn not just Hepburn but even the most insignificant extras, lending the production its inimitable sense of style and class.) Always a champion of actors, Cukor also extracts excellent portrayals from such seasoned veterans as Stanley Holloway, Gladys Cooper, Wilfrid Hyde-White, and Theodore Bikel. Pacing can drag at times — an extraneous subplot involving Eliza's father easily could have been excised if it didn't include two of Lerner and Loewe's best tunes — but, on the whole, he keeps things moving while maintaining a frothy, ethereal feel that perfectly complements the material. This is big-budget moviemaking at its opulent best, and every penny is well spent.

Finally, what would 'My Fair Lady' be without its music score? 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly?,' 'I Could Have Danced All Night,' 'On the Street Where You Live,' 'Get Me to the Church on Time,' 'Show Me,' 'Just You Wait,' 'With A Little Bit of Luck' — so many immortal songs in one show, and almost all advance the plot or delineate vital character traits. It doesn't matter a whit who sings them; they're part of our musical heritage, just as 'My Fair Lady' remains one of the last great musical achievements of 20th Century cinema.

Blu-ray Video Quality – The home video rights to 'My Fair Lady' have ping-ponged between Warner, Paramount, and Fox for the past couple of decades. As of now, Paramount owns the rights, but the video transfer on this Blu-ray release seems like it's merely an up-converted version of Warner's high-quality 2004 DVD transfer, with no additional re-mastering to remove the numerous instances of white speckling that litter the print. Those marks weren't visible on the DVD, and they're relatively faint here, but the enhanced resolution of Blu-ray makes them noticeable enough to merit mention and rankled fans of this visually sumptuous film. (Would Warner have put out such a treasured title in 1080p without meticulously removing any imperfections that would mar its distinctive look? I think not.) Such cavalier treatment of such a classic motion picture dampens enthusiasm for this release, even though the transfer improves upon the inferior DVD in many ways.

'My Fair Lady' sports more clarity and vibrancy than ever before, but the difference isn't nearly as pronounced as it should have been. The overture and title sequences, which feature still close-ups of various types of flowers, don't pop like I expected they would, and the images look only marginally better than those on the DVD. Once the story begins, however, the quality boost becomes more apparent. Costumes exude more lushness, fabrics - from chiffon, lace, and feathers to satin and furs - exhibit a higher degree of texture, background elements are easier to discern (the intricate wallpaper patterns in Higgins' home are strikingly sharp), and there's more depth to the picture. The blacks, whites, and grays that dominate the horseracing scene at Ascot stand out well, as does Eliza's peach outfit during the 'Show Me' number. A bit of grain is present, but only enough to temper the image, and close-ups, though sparingly employed, render fine facial details well.

Yet despite these positive attributes, there's an underlying drabness that saps vitality from the picture. Contrast remains maddeningly muted throughout most of the movie, lending many scenes a strange anaemic quality, and there's a haziness that often shrouds the left and right edges of the screen, almost as if a thin layer of gauze was applied. Factor in the smattering of faint marks, and there are just too many distracting issues occupying our eyes and taking us out of the story.

Because this appears to be the same transfer as the 2004 DVD, no edge enhancement or noise reduction seem to have been applied, and no banding, halos, or pixilation afflict the image. A little more care and this could have been a spectacular transfer that really would have wowed the fans of this genre. Instead, we have a decent effort that's certainly watchable, but a level or two below what this beloved film deserves. And that's a shame.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – The 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track replaces the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio that graced the DVD, and the enhanced fidelity considerably perks up the film. Tones are bright and full, and though surround activity is largely limited to the musical numbers, there's some pronounced stereo separation up front that nicely widens the sound field. Dialogue is always clear, well prioritised, and easy to understand, and the instrumentals boast a wide dynamic range. The songs integrate well into the mix, with no drastic level shifts, and the distinct vocal timbres of the leads come through with gusto.

The track's main stumbling block occurs during the Ascot horserace sequence, one of the film's high points. Twice, a pack of thoroughbreds gallop by giving the subwoofer its only test. Unfortunately, it fails miserably. What should be a weighty, room-shaking event is marred by horrific distortion and ear-splitting breakup that ruin the scene's effect, and diminish the impact of Eliza's famous cheer of encouragement to one of the horses. Once again, 'My Fair Lady' generally sounds quite good, but it's tough to quash the nagging thought that the audio could have been a bit better. When compared to the 7.1 DTS-HD track that graces the 'West Side Story' disc, this one pales, and once again, that's a shame.

Blu-ray Special features and Extras:

Audio Commentary: This is an interesting but strangely dry commentary track by art director Gene Allen, restorers Robert A. Harris and James C. Katz, and vocalist Marni Nixon (whose remarks were recorded separately and edited in). The bulk of the remarks concentrate on the restoration, and the painstaking, expensive process of bringing the film back from the cinematic equivalent of the dead. The politics of film preservation is also discussed, as well as the differences between the old and new Hollywood’s. Tucked into these topics are bits of trivia more conventional movie buffs will enjoy, such as the challenges posed by Harrison's primitive wireless microphone, and how Allen went all the way to London to choose wallpaper for the sets. Nixon appears only sporadically and talks about the audition process and how she was "sworn to secrecy" once she was selected to dub Hepburn's vocals. She also addresses the difficulties of matching Hepburn's vocal tones and Cockney accent in the songs, and points out the instances where Hepburn's own voice was used in the film. Despite some good exchanges, the tech-heavy track rarely captivates, and will only appeal to the film's fiercest fans.

Documentary: "More Loverly Than Ever: 'My Fair Lady' Then and Now" [58:00] This marvellous documentary chronicles the musical's evolution, transition from stage to screen, and meticulous restoration. Originally included on the film's 1994 VHS release and narrated by co-star Jeremy Brett, the in-depth examination seamlessly shifts between the history of the musical, production anecdotes, and the complicated technical process of rejuvenating 'My Fair Lady.' Before-and-after examples show the film's previous wretched state and wondrous makeover, proving once again the vital, urgent nature of film preservation and restoration. The documentary drops in plenty of interesting titbits, such as Rex Harrison's refusal to lip-sync to a recorded vocal track (he sang live instead), and how Audrey Hepburn performed to her own (ultimately unused) vocals, creating quite a dubbing challenge for Marni Nixon. We also learn about a breakdown of relations between director George Cukor and designer Cecil Beaton, and hear Julie Andrews' views on losing the role she created on Broadway.

Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Footage: "1963 Production Kick-off Dinner" [23:00] After some silent clips of the dinner itself, interviews with Hepburn, Harrison, and studio chief Jack Warner follow, as well as excerpts from a press conference. A radiant Hepburn discusses how she trusts her artistic instincts when choosing a role, while Harrison charmingly (if testily) defends what the interviewer cites as his "difficult behaviour" on the set of the then-forthcoming 'Cleopatra.' Both actors (as well as Warner) talk about the differences between making movies in Europe and Hollywood (a hot-button issue at the time), and how finances and schedules are easier to monitor and control in California. Some of the black-and-white footage is a bit scratchy and rough, some is out of sync at times, but it's a great historical document of a transitional period in Hollywood’s history.

Vintage Audio: "George Cukor Directs Baroness Bina Rothschild" [3:00] A number of colour stills of Cukor directing various portions of the film run simultaneously with an audio clip of him working with Rothschild on the delivery of a single line. The rare excerpt provides a taste of Cukor's inimitable style.

Vintage Documentary: "The Fairest Fair Lady" [10:00] This entertaining studio-produced short hypes the film while examining various stages of its production, paying special attention to the extras and their gruelling makeup and costume routine (an entire Warner soundstage was reserved for this assembly-line procedure). Glimpses of the editor, cinematographer, and various members of the technical crew at work are also included.

Vintage Newsreel Footage: "Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964" [5:00] Newsreel cameras captured the glitz and glamour of the film's Los Angeles premiere, documenting the arrival of an impressive array of stars, including Rock Hudson, Maureen O'Hara, Angie Dickinson, Frank

Sinatra and Natalie Wood (who came as a couple), Dean Martin, Steve McQueen, Lucille Ball, Fred MacMurray, Donna Reed, and James Stewart.

Vintage Footage: "Rex Harrison Golden Globe Acceptance Speech" [1:00] A pre-recorded thank-you speech by the actor, who was unable to attend the ceremony due to film commitments in Europe.

Vintage Footage: "Academy Awards Ceremony Highlights 4/5/1965" [0: 30] A brief clip of studio chief Jack Warner accepting the Best Picture Oscar at the 37th Annual Academy Awards.

Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals [7:00] One of the most intriguing extras on the disc are full-length versions of the musical numbers 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly?' and 'Show Me' with Audrey Hepburn's original vocal tracks inserted. Watching Hepburn perform to her own vocals definitely validates the decision to dub her. While far from "bad," Hepburn's tracks reveal an untrained voice with lots of character, but without the range and power necessary for Lerner and Loewe's score. High notes are quite thin and shaky, while Hepburn's overall style is too similar to Harrison's for comfort.

Show Me Galleries [HD] Divided into five sections, these galleries include nine beautiful colour sketches, 70 black-and-white production stills (mostly costume tests), 52 colour production stills, and 40 documents and publicity artefacts, including clippings, media photos, and album and video covers. In addition, a brief radio interview with Harrison, in which he praises the production and his leading lady, accompanies a one-minute montage of posters and lobby cards from the film.

Interviews: "Comments on a Lady" [2:00] These are interview outtakes with director Martin Scorsese and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber from the "More Loverly Than Ever" documentary. Scorsese discusses film preservation and the establishment of the Film Foundation, while Webber recalls how illness forced Alan Jay Lerner to withdraw from their impending collaboration on 'The Phantom of the Opera' — one of the great disappointments of Webber's career. Both clips run just over a minute.

Theatrical Trailers [9:00] Previews for both the initial release of 'My Fair Lady' (running five minutes!) and its 1994 restoration are included. Interestingly, the 1994 trailer was actually produced for the film's 1970 reissue and was never altered to mention the subsequent restoration.

Finally, 'My Fair Lady' received a massive makeover in 1994, but she could have been tweaked a bit for her Blu-ray debut. Though the video transfer improves definitely over the inferior DVD release, but some nagging deficiencies keep it from looking as loverly as it surely should in 1080p. The audio is also a step up, but falls short of the perfection Henry Higgins would have demanded. As a film, however, this classic tale of transformation remains a charmer, thanks to impeccable performances, a first-class score, and a production that's as sumptuous as any in Hollywood history. It's just a shame this Best Picture winner and recipient of eight Academy Awards didn't receive a splashier release worthy of its lofty pedigree. 'My Fair Lady' is crying out for a Collector's Edition or at the very least a glossy Limited Edition DigiBook, and deserves transfers that are as meticulous as its hero and as breath-taking as the title character. This Paramount release is fine enough to merit a recommendation, but sadly not a hearty one. Here's hoping someday Warner gets the rights back and produces the kind of ultimate Blu-ray edition befitting this very fair lady. Ever since I saw the original London Stage Production, which starred Dame Julie Andrews, I have loved My Fair Lady, and despite Dame Judy could not be in the film, Audrey Hepburn is a good compromise and of course now it has gone pride of place of my Blu-ray Collection. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately I did not realise that it was coming from ..., July 3 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: My Fair Lady (DVD)
Unfortunately I did not realise that it was coming from Europe and therefore would be the wrong format for the American continent.
I guess my fault but it is pity this is not made clearer in the advertising of the product.
I can now only play it on my computer and next time will be careful not to order DVD's from a European based company
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars best that I was thinking, March 6 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: My Fair Lady [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
The color and sond are greats!
The film have been completly restored and is better then the original.
you could buy it with confidence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars On the street where you live, July 30 2006
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Fair Lady (Widescreen) (DVD)
Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) who specializes in the English language makes a bet with Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) that he can take someone who speaks with a lower-class language and by correcting the speech can pass off as upper-class or royalty. Overhearing this bet is a flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn); she wants to work a flower stand. But they will not take her unless she can speak more "genteel". Professor Higgins takes up the challenge.

Will he succeed?

What does her father (Stanley Holloway) thing finding that she moved in whit the two professors and did not want any clothes?

This is a musical version of the movie Pygmalion (1938), based on a play by George Bernard Shaw.

As people find that music and movies bring memories of the time in which they heard or viewed it. His movie has a meaning to me as I too was in love and found my self singing "On the street where you live." One of the strengths of the movie is that many of the songs instead of being classical and just stuffed into at odd times actually are songs that you would initiate in your life and they did so in the lives of the characters in the movie.
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4.0 out of 5 stars How do you do? And which DVD version to buy ..., July 12 2004
This review is from: My Fair Lady - 2 Disc Special Edition (DVD)
MFL is a marvellous film about a professor who turns a common flower girl into a lady. It is full of sing-a-long songs and funny moments. It is basically a classic for all the right reasons! Plenty of re-watch factor makes it a film to own.
In 1994, the film was restored and thank the lord they did! The film's negative was almost lost forever. In fact, the film hade had become yellow-tinged and full of scratches, blotches and all the rest! It would have been a very sad day for the movie industry if a flim like this had been lost.
The original DVD that featured this new restoration was released in the late 90's. This DVD included a 9 minute featurette, actor profiles, audio commentary, and Audrey Hepburn singing in 2 scenes.
This original 1-disc DVD has since been updated to a special 2-Disc Edition. Which one to get? I have both so I feel qualified to answer this. The new DVD includes all the features found on the original DVD, except the actor profiles. The new DVD once again includes the restored print but is apparently a new transfer from the restored print. However, according to a report that I have read, the new transfer is not perfect and has aliasing problems throughout. However, the average watcher won't pick up on this detail. If this is an issue to you, purchase the original edition DVD where the transfer has been given two thumbs up! One has to wonder why they bothered transferring a second time.
The advantage of the special 2-Disc Edition DVD is that it includes a 58 minute 1994 documentary hosted by Jeremy Brett (Audrey's love interest in the film). Jeremy is no longer with us, so it's nice to have this as a piece of nostalgia. ON top of this, there are many more features on this disc that aren't included on the original DVD such as footage from the film's premiere, production dinner, as well as discussions with Rex and Audrey.
The choice is easy. If you're a fan of the film and don't care for all the extras, buy the original DVD. You at least get the best transfer. If you do care about having all the extras, buy both!
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's Loverly, June 9 2004
Mark J. Fowler "Let's Play Two!" (Blytheville, Arkansas (The "the" is silent)) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Fair Lady (Widescreen) (DVD)
The music from "My Fair Lady" makes it easily one of my favorite musicals with "I could have danced all night", "Wouldn't it be Loverly?", "The Street Where you Live", and Stanley Holloway's rousing showstoppers "With a Little Bit of Bloomin' Luck" and "Get me to the Church on Time".
It's well chronicled how much gnashing of teeth surrounded the Hollywood decision to leave out the then-unknown Julie Andrews, who was the new toast of the stage as Eliza Doolittle, and instead cast the more bankable Audrey Hepburn. Hollywood rewarded Ms. Andrews with "Mary Poppins" and an Oscar, and although I'd love to have seen Julie Andrews in this role, 4 decades later I can't complain about Audrey Hepburn.
Rex Harrison's reprises Henry Higgins from the stage, and I frankly can't think of another actor who would bring the same English Arrogance and tongue-in-cheekiness to the role. The interactions between Harrison, Hepburn and Wilfred Hyde-White as Colonel Pickering, especially in the early part of the film, are witty, entertaining, and move the narrative right along without pausing for exposition. The Higgins character is a cad, very full of himself, and he makes the mistake of treating those he feels are socially inferior poorly. The Colonel Pickering character acts as a surrogate for the audience, observing the educated but pompous Professor Higgins and allowing us to feel not TOO badly that poor Eliza has come under the influences of Higgins.
Stanley Holloway recreates Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza's father, from the stage, and although his character has as many moral deficiencies as Professor Higgins (at one point he shows up at Higgins doorstep hoping to extort money from Professor Higgins for "shacking up" with Eliza) and is much less educated and with a much lower social standing, he is nonetheless a "good ol' bloke" and his moments in the film are among the most memorable, especially the previously mentioned show-stopping musical numbers.
The final act feels a little soap-opera-ish between Jeremy Brett as Freddy fawning over Eliza and Professor Higgins beginning to appreciate her fine qualities at the same time. This portion produces two of the finer musical moments as Freddy sings "On The Street Where You Live" and Higgins croons "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face".
Since George Bernard Shaw died in 1950 it's purely speculative to wonder what he'd have thought about the production of his Pygmalion story. I'm guessing he'd have liked it. If you like musicals, I'm guessing you will too. Enjoy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars 2-disc or not two discs, May 26 2004
Dr. Chuang Wei Ping "Dr Chuang" (Singapore) - See all my reviews
This review is from: My Fair Lady - 2 Disc Special Edition (DVD)
WARNING: All the five stars refer to the movie itself, and does not address the issue of whether paying for the second disc is a rip-off. Five stars for the single disc version was richly deserved. I had half expected the 2 disc version to have DTS since they shifted virtually all the extra features from disc 1 to disc two. The only thing left on disc 1 was the movie, same commentary, same subtitles and audio track. If they had an audio track with Audrey singing in place of Marni Nixon, it would have been a dream dvd. For some inexplicable reason, the single disc version was among the Amazon top 100 discs in 2002 for some time, although it has been out since the mid-90s. Amazon's editor was correct when he said the main attraction of the 2nd disc was the 58 minute Documentary hosted by Jeremy Brett. Move along folks, folks, nothing to see here, nothing really new unless you are time warped back one or two decades. A concise version of this documentary would be "The Fairest Fair Lady" which is already in the single disc version.
You already HAVE the Audrey Hepburn Vocals in the single disc version. The rest of the stuff in disc 2 is usually given away FREE, like in Gladiator, Last Samurai, Master and Commander, where one viewing of the stills is more than enough.
Now, the sellers of the 2-disc set have actually REMOVED the CAST AND CREW section found in the one disc version. This Cast and Crew with filmographies and biographies contain a huge chunk of valuable information including the fact that Audrey's given name was Edda, not Audrey. Do not throw away your one disc version. If you bought the 2 disc version, you might want to buy the single- disc version to find out where Audrey Hepburn was born, won the Oscar and got nominated. What were the other actors like Wilfred Hyde-White doing other than My Fair Lady.
I tell you what I like about the 2 Disc version:
1. the interviews with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison at the 1963 production Kickoff Dinner, with a couple of jokes from Mr Warner.
2. George Cukor directing Baroness Rothschild: a Henry Higgins coaching Eliza Doolitle parody. The audio track ran for only a few minutes, and I had a new found respect for Directors. Even a Baroness needs lessons in elocution. When I watch the movie again, I will imagine George Cukor speaking using the actors and actresses as his instrument. It explains how Cukor's actresses got their Oscars.
3. The Los Angeles Premiere in B&W is a few minutes of glitterati distraction.
The rest of Disc 2 is really scraping the floor of the store-room. For those who already own the single disc edition, and do not have disposable income to burn, get the 2 disc edition of the TEN COMMANDMENTS instead. For the price of 5 commandments (about half the price of the 2 disc My Fair Lady), you will get more than double the enjoyment, making it look like "the TWENTY COMMANDMENTS". That is where a second disc is not purely a money making exercise: thou shalt not steal from gullible covetuous dvd buyers.
Rex Harrison Golden Globe Acceptance is a clip from the Andy William's show, where he apologised for not being at the real event, so he accepted it on AW's show. Shame.
Academy Awards Cermony Highlights: just one minute or less of Mr Warner accepting the oscar for best picture. Not one bit of the other awards at all.
So two stars for the additional info on disc two. I would buy anything remotely related to my favourite musical, but if I were to search my heart for value added, I would say two extra stars is very very generous. Now, if ever they come out with a DTS version, we will have to throw the whole TWENTY COMMANDMENTS at this bunch of crooks.
Do you really need Martin Scorsese and Andrew Lloyd Weber's comments to supplement your own?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Audrey's more than just fair--she's marvelous, April 5 2004
This review is from: My Fair Lady (VHS Tape)
Lerner and Loewe's musical version of George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion got its first cinematic colour treatment (q.v. the 1938 version with Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller) as well as eight Oscars. Much of the story's already known--how Professor Henry Higgins, an expert in phonetics (the science of speech), takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney flower girl working in Covent Garden into a lady. That "draggletail guttersnipe," that "squashed cabbage leaf," and "incarnate insult to the English language" is Eliza Doolittle, who is outraged and insulted by Higgins' arrogant, patronizing attitude to her, but she does dream of a better life, being able to open up a flower shop and being able to afford chocolates-hence her desire to speak more genteel.
Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White), a veteran soldier posted in India who studied the languages there, treats Eliza like a lady rather than a flower girl, and is by far the more gentlemanly of the men. This point is driven home when Eliza tells Higgins that the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated. And Higgins is at times impatient, frustrated, but treats her more as an experiment than a human being.
A daunting task it is, as Eliza finds it difficult to turn her long i's into a's and to add her "h's." But when she finally does, it's a triumph, which leads to the back to back ebullience of "The Rain in Spain" and "I Could Have Danced All Night," with Hepburn's singing voice done by Marni Nixon.
The concepts of classes division is seen in Higgins' opening number, when he wonders why the English can't teach their children how to speak. He notes how the way one Englishman speaks makes another Englishman despise him, where the nobility look down on the working class, and the working class become fed up with the nose-in-the-air attitude of the upper classes. A universal manner of speaking so that there will be no class conflict would be nice, but I'd sure miss that chirpy "Cor blimey, gov" from the docks.
Another is the Victorian distinction between men and women, in Higgins' "Let A Woman In Your Life" number. Men had more independence than women then, and Higgins is able to do what he wants. In marriage, the man is tying the knot all right...around his own neck. And speaking of marriage, it's clearly a bourgeois concept. Once a man has enough money and standing, he has certain social responsibilities. This is demonstrated in Eliza's father Alfred Doolittle, a working class dustman who hasn't married her stepmother. Stan Holloway reprised his role as Alfred from the stage version.
Audrey Hepburn's talents really come forth via her brash and loud Cockney accent, and for this she worked with phonetics professor Peter Ladefoged at USC in LA. She is effervescent throughout, whatever costume she wears; and as for that smile, it's magical. And for Rex Harrison to have worked opposite Julie Andrews in a film version would've yielded a carbon copy of the stage version. Working with Hepburn, his performance was more challenging and spirited, and hence his Best Actor Oscar.
Indeed, it won eight Oscars, including three of the big four-actor (Rex Harrison), director (George Cukor) and picture. Unfortunately, its loss to Best Actress was the most conspicuous, as Audrey Hepburn ironically lost to Julie Andrews, the stage version of Eliza. And Cecil Beaton's costume designs was another deserved win, not only for Eliza's white Ascot dress and hat, but for the ballroom scene as well.
This is one of Hepburn's best vehicles, along with Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Charade, How To Steal A Million, and Wait Until Dark.
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5.0 out of 5 stars By george,Warner Bros has got it better on DVD!!!, March 2 2004
This review is from: My Fair Lady - 2 Disc Special Edition (DVD)
This two-disc edition of the excellent 1964 Best Picture winner MY FAIR LADY is out finally in the ultimate DVD release jammed-packed with a chockful of extras that will keep you entertained for hours!! This is a HUGE improvement from the 1998 DVD release with hardly any extras,only commentary,and trailers.The first disc contains the entire 173-minute feature in a beautiful,high-definition transfer taken directly from the 1994 restoration print in its glorious 70mm Super Panavision format (2.20:1),but also has an excellent audio commentary by the film's art director Gene Allen,Audrey Hepburn's singing dub Marni Nixon,and the film's restorationists Robert A.Harris and James C.Katz which originally appeared in the previous '98 release.The second disc is mostly bonus features such as the outstanding 1994 documentary "More Loverly Than Ever" (originally a part of the 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set,which is now out of print) which promoted the film's 30th Anniversary rerelease about the making of the film and also the restoration which took nearly two years to complete and is hosted by non-other than the film's co-star and TV's Sherlock Holmes,Jeremy Brett.Also included here are rare production featurettes such as the featurette "The Fairest Fair Lady",The 1963 Production Kickoff dinner,1964 LA Premiere,Oscar ceremonies,and much,much more!!! I highly recommend this DVD for any fan of great musicals and is perhaps THE BEST 'special edition' release in recent years!!! Three cheers to Warner Bros and CBS!!!!
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My Fair Lady - 2 Disc Special Edition
My Fair Lady - 2 Disc Special Edition by Suzie Galler (DVD - 2004)
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