Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Friday, June 20, 2008


MY FAIR LADY (1964). Director: George Cukor.

George Cukor, primarily concerned with actors and not with being "cinematic," may not have been the best choice to helm the film adaptation of the smash Lerner and Loewe musical, but the film is still so entertaining and well-acted that there seems little point in complaining about its static, theatrical aspects. Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, and Stanley Holloway are all superb, and they are bolstered by an outstanding supporting cast made up of the likes of Gladys Cooper as Henry Higgins' mother (wish we saw more of her) -- Cooper, of course, was the dragon-mother of Now, Voyager -- Wilfrid Hyde-White as Pickering; Mona Washbourne as the housekeeper Mrs. Pearce; and Theodore Bikel as that "ruder pest" from Budapest, Zoltan Karpathy etc. This is probably one of the few (only?) film adaptations of a Broadway musical that includes all of the songs (the adaptation of Fanny dropped the songs entirely, although you at least heard the music in the background). Great story, great score, great entertainment. Eliza's haunting refrain of "what's to become of me?' echoes -- along with a great sense of loneliness -- as she returns to the place where she once sold flowers and none of her old companions fully recognize her. You really can't go home again.

Verdict: Loverly. ***1/2.

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