Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Fair Lady

Dir: George Cukor, 1964 (9.8*)
Best Picture (AA, BAA, GG)

One of the best Broadway/London musicals, the score by Lerner and Lowe is untopped, with the best lyrics of any musical, all related to the story. The film starts with a bang the whole point: "Why Can’t the English" (teach their children how to speak). The entire story is about linguistics, that the way a person speaks defines him, and that any type of character can be created if given the right instruction.

This was the premise of the original George Bernard Shaw play "Pygmalion", which was transformed into My Fair Lady by Lerner and Lowe. Rex Harrison creates his stage role here, and is impeccable, winning an Oscar. However, Hollywood gave stage actress Julie Andrews the shaft after she created the Eliza Doolittle role, and replaced her with Audrey Hepburn for the movie, thinking Andrews "not a star" (yet she won the Oscar that year for Mary Poppins!) Hepburn’s singing had to be dubbed by Marni Nixon (who did The King and I and West Side Story as well), so this was the only drawback to the film, which is flawless otherwise. Listen to the London Cast recording with Andrews on CD and you’ll see what I mean and what moviegoers missed. The dvd restoration of this classic musical has the most sumptuous color of any film, there’s even a documentary on the disc about it, with the original art director. One of the best 2-3 musicals ever filmed. 8 Oscars


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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