My Fair Lady is a 1964 American film directed by George Cukor, starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison.

The film was a success in the cinemas and spent 72 million dollars. the film was awarded with eight Oscars and three Golden Globes. The film is on place 94 in AFI's 100Years ...100 Movies, a list of the 100 best American films of all time, compiled by the American Film Institute (AFI).

The scenario of the film is based on the eponymous musical My Fair Lady by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe from 1956. The story was made into a film, as once before as Pygmalion (1938). This film, however, is based on the original source of the story, the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw(1912). A part of the movie My Fair Lady, including the end, is, like the musical, based on the film version of Pygmalion and not on the original play.


[hide]*1 Story


Read warning: text below contains details about the content and/or the end of the story.

London, 1912. Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics lurks for the pouring rain under the roof of a theater. There he meets Colonel Pickering, just returned from India, which has as a hobby Phonetics. They get with each other in conversation. Higgins States that the accent of someone that he determines its position in the society and any woman can learn to speak properly and then able to present her as a Duchess at the ball of the Ambassador. As an example he points a passing flower tissue culture. This girl, Eliza Doolittle has a heavy accent, but according to Higgins is that whole no objection.

Not long after knocks Eliza to the House by Higgins and asks if she can follow voice lessons. She is even willing to pay one shilling per lesson. Higgins should be here to laugh because he is accustomed to a higher reward for elocution. Pickering, now staying with Higgins, however, is intrigued by the idea of Higgins to a flower girl into a Duchess. He bet with Higgins that it will not will not succeed to Eliza within six months by letting go for a Duchess.

Eliza embarks on her voice lessons and provide the necessary headache with her ghastly Higgins accent. They even get marbles in her mouth, and swallows a prompt in there. Just when Higgins wants to talk, you specify the Eliza Pickering. To test her Higgins takes her to the horse races in Ascot. But then it turns out that Eliza be talk without an accent, but still has the rights of ways of a slum. She is so refined by Colonel Pickering and is ready in time for the Ambassador's ball, where she dances with the Prince of Transylvania.

At the end everyone congratulates Higgins, but no one praises Eliza. She runs away and seeks consolation with the young Freddy Eynsford-Hill, who she has met in Ascot. She visits her old neighbourhood but notice that they now no longer belongs. She goes back to Higgins and announces to marry Freddy and go to give yourself. Higgins is furious and feels betrayed, but Eliza is determined and leaves. Again only realizes Higgins that he is in love with the girl. Just like he wants it give up, Eliza comes back again. They turn out to keep from each other anyway.

Division Of Roles[Edit]Edit

[1][2]Audrey Hepburn, here in a scene of the film Charade (1963)*Audrey Hepburn: Eliza Doolittle

For History[Edit]Edit


Author George Bernard Shaw wrote the play in 1913 based on the mythical sculptor Pygmalion. Pygmalion was a sculptor who crafted an ivory statue of the perfect woman. He fell in love with the image and lavished it with jewels and gifts. Later donated the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite life to the image. In the piece of Shaw is professor Higgins trying to create the perfect elocution aristocratic wife and again by a popular girl to dress up. Shaw wanted to write a satire on the British aristocracy and nobility himself only by birth apart from the lower class. In 1938, the play made into a film under the same title by Anthony Asquith with Leslie Howard as professor Higgins.

The stage musical[Edit]Edit

Different writers including Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II musical Pygmalion tried to work up. For a long time it was seen as an impossible project because of the literary dialogues and emotionless character of professor Higgins, neither musical material. Another famous writing duo Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe knew to make an operation. The Shaw's Higgins to the character. They rewrote the role with actor Rex Harrison for eyes, a great actor, but not a great singer. The songs for the character Higgins were more spoken. On 15 March 1956 was the premiere of the musical at the Mark Hellinger Theatre in New York under the title My Fair Lady. The main roles were for Rex Harrison (Higgins), Julie Andrews (Eliza) and Stanley Holloway (Doolittle). The piece took out 2717 performances and ran until september 1962.


The musical was titled My Fair Lady. Lerner and Loewe had played with multiple titles, for example Fanfaroon and Lady Liza. The last title was a reflection of Eliza, the female star of the show. But all in writing was the role of Higgins grown and when it was clear that Rex Harrison the writers wanted to stress that this character would play the star he was. Eliza is the ' fair ' (beautiful) lady (wife) of Higgins, ' my fair lady ' (my beautiful lady). Lerner borrowed the words ' My Fair Lady ' to the nursery rhyme "London Bridge is falling down": London Bridge is falling down/Falling down, falling down/London Bridge is falling down/My fair Lady. Another possible origin of the name is the corruption of the name of the expensive Mayfair in London. The inhabitants of London with a cockney accent spoke Mayfair as Me Fair or Ma Fair until finally My Fair. Or Alan Jay Lerner this really has seized upon for the title, however, is not sure. No single location from the musical plays in Mayfair (nor Winpole Street, neither Convent Garden). However, the most upscale Mayfair is in London.Mayfair would then save on the transformation of Eliza of ' slum ' to the Mayfair, Mayfair to a real lady. The story goes that Eliza Doolittle in the original design of the musical got the text: "I don't want to be your Mayfair Lady", and that this text was later deleted. But there is no confirmation in Lerners books about the musical to find that this was.

Jack Warners great love[Edit]Edit

In February 1962 paid studio boss Jack l. Warner of Warner Brothers $ 5.5 million for the film rights. It was not until 1978 Columbia Pictures would pay more for film rights (9.5 million u.s. dollars for the musical Annie).Warner was under the spell of My Fair Lady since opening night in March 1956. It was jokingly called his great love. The holder of the rights (CBS) was tied to a clause in the contract that a possible film adaptation had to wait until the stage musical on Broadway would close. Warner bought the rights already in February 1962, afraid that the competition would be for him. CBS also got 50% of the profit (if there are more than 20 million in revenue would be). CBS also claimed that Cecil Beaton, which all designs for the musical had done as a designer of sets, sets and costumes of the film would be attracted. Warner pulled out a huge amount for the film adaptation (the budget went up to $ 17 million) and he promised the studio that would be pulled out all the stops to make it a rousing production of it, starting with the actors.


The choice of actors in a giant production as My Fair Lady was no simple task. Originally wanted Jack Warner take over the original actors from the Broadway musical with Julie AndrewsRex Harrison and Stanley Holloway. But later he began to have doubts and began a nerve-wracking game of musical chairs around the big roles in the film: Eliza, Higgins and Doolittle.

Eliza Doolittle[Edit]Edit

Julie Andrews was seen as the logical choice for Eliza Doolittle. She had played the role six years on Broadway and was apart from a good actress also an excellent singer. Jack Warner went however doubt. He wanted to star in his film and Andrews was relatively unknown, especially when actress (she had to make her first film yet). Both Alan Jay Lerner as Rex Harrison urged Warner to Andrews to choose. But Warner decided that Julie Andrews not photogenic enough and went looking for another actress. Initially threw actress Shirley Jones high eyes, but they fell off. Actresses like Elizabeth Taylor and Connie Stevens did their very best to get the role, but Warners eye fell on Audrey Hepburn. Hepburn was a star in 1963 and had played roles in successful films, including The Nun's Story a Warner Brothersproductie from 1959. Rex Harrison initially saw little in Hepburn. He found her way too much a lady and too little a popular girl. Hepburn, a daughter of a Baroness, had indeed played mostly roles of aristocrats and rich girls. But Warner was inexorably, Audrey Hepburn the movie would give the necessary "Star force". He paid the actress even $ 1 million for her role.

Professor Higgins[Edit]Edit

The role of professor Higgins was literally written on the body of veteran Rex Harrison. Harrison played the role of Higgins on Broadway and seemed the perfect candidate for the role in the film. But also here doubted Warner. He had seen the actor in his role of Caesar in the movie Cleopatra and found him too old for the role of Higgins and as the lover of Eliza (who is nineteen in the film, Audrey Hepburn was already thirty-five during the recordings). So he asked Peter O'Toole, but who asked too high a salary and fell off. The next candidate was Cary Grant, but who considered herself too old and was also a big fan of Rex Harrison as Higgins. He told Warner that if Harrison would not hired as Higgins he wasn't going to see the movie. Warner withdrew here little Noel Cowardtook the opportunity, and successively, Rock HudsonMichael Redgrave,George SandersRichard Burtonand Laurence Olivier . Meanwhile, Rex Harrison sent a letter to Jack Warner in which he explained that he for the role of Caesar in Cleopatra was older than he was and sent some photos which he without the wig of Caesar was on display. Director George Cukor who has since attracted Warner now command to Harrison got was an audition to take off. But the actor refused to audition and sent some polaroids of himself which he was naked. Cukor saw here WiFi in and convinced Warner to Harrison to choose. The actor got a ridiculously low amount compared to Audrey Hepburn, $ 200,000. Despite this, called the actor when he got the role.: "By George, I've got it" (with George, I got it!) a paraphrase on the famous sentence (By George, she's got it) from the musical.

Alfred Doolittle[Edit]Edit

It was Stanley Holloway played the role of Alfred Doolittle on Broadway (and later in London). He also seemed the favorite candidate for the role in the film. But here, too, Warner was not convinced. He was looking for Star and offered the role to film legend James Cagney to. Cagney was interested (he regularly sang songs from My Fair Lady at parties), but pulled back at the last minute. He was already retired and saw on against a new heavy film session with Jack Warner, his old boss. Warner had doubts not advance and hired Holloway in.


Read warning: text below contains details about the content and/or the end of the story.===Director[Edit]===

Jack Warner had decided to hire for the Vincente Minnelli directing, but who asked too high a salary. This approached Warner Director Joshua Logan, but again had to separate ideas. Logan wanted to for example make recordings on location in London and not only in the studio. Warner then approached George Cukor and laid it down. On August 13, 1963 went Cukor from start.

Designs, costumes and stage sets[Edit]Edit

Cecil Beaton was attracted for the setaankleding and costumes. He had done the same for the original production and was the preferred man for the job. Beaton was for example responsible for the establishment of the library of Higgins, where many scenes take place. He got inspiration after seeing a room in the Château de Groussay, Montfort-l'Amaury, in France. Gene Allen would Later also responsible for the setinrichting and-decoration to complain about the fact that Beaton got all the credit, while he actually only designed the costumes. But Beaton had in his contract that designing sets his responsibility was. However, the one that was built all the sets All Gene and the London from 1912 called back to life. He had an unlimited budget and if all the sets build and decorate without on the segment. So are all the streets with their vowels made up of individual stones, which are not-as usual on film productions-from the same mould. Gene Allen left all the buildings several times paints to a dingy, weathered impression. Beaton in turn designed the most brilliant costumes from his career, particularly the dresses of Audrey Hepburn were art pieces.


George Cukor and Cecil Beaton had regularly feud during the recordings. It was an ordinary power struggle. Beaton saw himself as the protector of Lerner and Loewes stage production, and as a great creative talent, while Cukor himself saw himself as a great Director, a talent, someone who likes pulling the strings held. The feud would continue, even after the film in 1973 did Beaton Cukor defamation after his statements in a process to a television program. But Cukor held in 1963 the strings firmly in control and completed the production in four months off on 18 december 1963. Its efficiency showed off all kinds of preparations. There were trams from amusement parks hired with which the extras were transported between the dressing rooms and the sets. This is to prevent the precious costumes often contaminated or got damaged. Also at the request of Cukor had Audrey Hepburn the script set up so that all the scenes in chronological order were included so the actress could grow in her role. For Hepburn were the worst scenes that of Eliza Doolittle as the flower girl. Her transformation from flower girl to Princess, by the way, took a lot from Hepburn. In particular, the scenes where they have to play a girl from the slums were heavy. She lost four kilos during the recordings. Using a kind of petroleum jelly and clay was her hair modified to the hairstyle of the flower girl. Cecil Beaton suggested they would wear on her ankles so she weights what slouching would run and not as stately as they used to. Despite the fact that Cukor worked efficiently and quickly, he continued to pay attention to details. Dissatisfied with the Ascotscène he asked Jack Warner to re-record this. Warner got scared so of the costs that he flatly refused. Cukor continued, after which Warner let the set dismantling.



The following songs are in the movie told:

  • "Overture"
  • "Why Can't the English?"-sung by Rex Harrison
  • "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?"-sung by Marni Nixon and ensemble
  • "An Ordinary Man"-sung by Rex Harrison
  • "With a Little Bit of Luck"-sung by Stanley Holoway and ensemble
  • "Just You Wait"-sung by Marni Nixon
  • "Servants Chorus"-sung by Mona Washbourne and ensemble
  • "The Rain in Spain"-sung by Marni Nixon, Rex Harrison and Wilfrid Hyde-White
  • "I Could Have Danced All Night"-sung by Marni Nixon, Mona Washbourne and ensemble
  • "Ascot Gavotte"-sung by ensemble
  • "Ascot Gavotte (Reprise)"-sung by ensemble
  • "On the Street Where You Live"-sung by Bill Shirley
  • "Intermission"-instrumental
  • "Transylvanian March"-instrumental
  • "Embassy Waltz"-instrumental
  • "You Did It"-sung by Rex Harrison, Mona Washbourne, Wilfrid Hyde-White, band
  • "Just You Wait (Reprise)"-sung by Marni Nixon
  • "On the Street Where You Live" (reprise)-sung by Bill Shirley
  • "Show Me"-sung by Marni Nixon
  • "Wouldn't It Be Loverly" (reprise)-sung by Marni Nixon and ensemble
  • "Get Me to the Church on Time"-sung by Stanley Holloway and ensemble
  • "A Hymn to Him (Why Can't A Woman Be More Like a Man?)"-sung by Rex Harrison, Wilfrid Hyde-White
  • "Without You"-sung by Rex Harrison and Marni Nixon
  • "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"-sung by Rex Harrison
  • "Finale"-sung by ensemble

Order of songs[Edit]Edit

My Fair Lady is one of the few film versions of a stage musical in which almost all songs are retrieved and even in the same order as in the original. The only number that differs is "With a Little Bit of Luck" that was staged in the theatre as a third number, in the film is the song number four. The instrumental song "Busker Sequence", that in the stage version comes after the "Overture" the first number is the only number that is not included in the film. Parts of the song, however, come back as background music in other parts of the movie. In the song "With a Little Bit of Luck" is some text omitted, and called the sentence "He does not have a Tuppence in his pocket". The instrumental song "Intermission" enters the stage version behind the dance scene at the ball of the Ambassador, while the number in the film for the dance scene at the ball is placed.

Singing with the voice of another[Edit]Edit

Audrey Hepburn for the role of Eliza Doolittle was chosen because of her qualities as an actress and her status as a star. She had a pleasant singing voice, as can be heard in several films, for example in the film musical Funny Face in 1957. Jack Warner, however, soon discovered that the voice of Hepburn was not as good as that of Julie Andrews , for example, who had played the role of Eliza on Broadway. Although Hepburn intensively coached and rock hard worked on her singing voice proved them failing to meet the special requirements of the Lerner and Loewe's songs require. The singing voice of Eliza Doolittle is a lot for a soprano and Hepburn was a "low" mezzo soprano. She could never get the high notes that some numbers questions. A solution to this problem was transposing the music to a lower key. This was also done forVanessa Redgrave for the recordings of the musical "Camelot" (1967). But there should be a harmonious balance of Lerner and Loewe not to the music and the text. Initially left Warner his star her and Hepburn did her best on the relatively simple songs like "Wouldn't It Be Loverly". Director George Cukor came halfway through the recordings tell her that Jack Warner had decided to hire another singer to sing the vocals.Hepburn was in all States when she heard this and fled away from the set. What she didn't know was that Warner had asked to Ray Heinsdorf, the musical director of the production, to Marni Nixon to hire. Audrey Hepburn returned the next day and remained like a pro just continue with her work, but the issue had her very touched. Another actor who noticed that his voice was not good enough, was Jeremy Brett who played the role of Freddy. He noted only at the premiere that Bill Shirley had rerecorded his vocals again.

Marni Nixon[Edit]Edit

The American Soprano Marni Nixon was born in 1930. She studied singing with Carl Ebert , among others, and sang in several operas and musicals. In 1948 she made her debut as an Angel in the Angel choir inJoan of Arc. In 1949 she sang for the first time the voice of another and that of Margaret O'Brien in The Secret Garden (1949). They took the high notes in the song for where Marilyn Monroe Diamonds Are a girl's Best Friend in the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The warming up with lots of others was her specialty. They did it for Deborah Kerr in The King and I and An Affair to Remember and Natalie Wood. It was her singing voice that Natalie Woods voice (and those of Rita Moreno) replaced in West Side Story (1961) and Gipsy. For My Fair Lady had to make itself the cockney accent own Nixon. It is not true that Nixon Audrey Hepburn has sung vocals all over again. About ten percent of the singing voice of Eliza Doolittle comes from Audrey Hepburn. Especially in the songs "Just You Wait", "The Rain in Spain" the intro to "I Could Have Danced All Night" is Audrey Hepburn to hear themselves.

Rex Harrison sings "live"[Edit]Edit

Lerner and Loewe had the songs the character Henry Higgins in the musical written with Rex Harrison sings for eyes. The actor was no singer and most songs are usually spoken-Sung. The problem with the film, however, was that Harrison was unable to repeat his performance when the songs were again re-recorded in post production. For this reason, Harrison sang his songs during the movie shooting ' live '. He was provided with one of the first wireless microphones (hidden under his tie and is the only one of the actors who live is included.


In 1994 the wrong ' master ', the original version of the film in a terrible state and was about to perish in whole or in part. Robert a. Harris got the command to restore the movie in that year. Harris used different methods to save the movie print such as digitisation. The 65 mm negative was re-scanned and images that were affected were reconstructed using the computer. Also the sound has been handled since only the master tape for the 70 mm six track magnetic copies of the film even existed. Also here was everything digitally scanned and polished. The process took six months and cost $ 600,000.



Golden Globes[Edit]Edit


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.