Oscars Challenge #24: My Fair Lady (1964) Movie Review
Another day another musical.
Ranked as the 8th Best Musical movie by the American Film Institute back in 2006 and the Best Picture winner in the 37th Academy Awards. My Fair Lady is a very nice movie about a working-class girl named Eliza Dolittle (Audrey Hepburn), who speaks somewhat in a different English language compared to those who live in high society. She met a very cocky and confident phonetics instructor, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), who decides to fix her way of speaking. Although confident, Henry had trouble with Eliza due to her attitude and perspectives. However, the two developed an unlikely bond despite their up-and-down relationship. Their bond was challenged when Eliza completes her lessons and tries it out if she can belong to the high society.
First of all, Audrey Hepburn is really one of the most beautiful actresses in the whole world in my opinion. And she acts very well too. I think no matter what role you give her she can make the best out of it and I will have minimal complaints.
This movie on the other hand really doesn't disappoint. Since I watched a couple of musicals already I can steadily compare them to this. I believe that this film is a combination of the 2 that I watched before, Gigi and Chicago. The story can be easily compared to the film Gigi but taken on a much different level, like 5 steps above it. The enjoyment while watching this film is pretty much like Chicago. I never experienced any dull scenes even if some of the dialogue were told within the lyrics which gets confusing sometimes but it's okay since the story itself is not that hard to understand.
The musical numbers are wonderful. I think they best fit the story. There are upbeat parts while some are slow and mellow. The voices of the singers, especially the main cast, are also magical. No doubt they were cast perfectly to their roles.
The story itself again is very simple. It's divided into 2 acts. The first act is when Eliza was learning with Henry and when she finished learning and applying it to society. Even though the movie length is quite long around 170 minutes, I believe it to be quite appropriate because the film itself is humongous.
One cannot forget as well the costume designs used in the movie. It was really beautiful no matter how you look at it. Whoever made them should be a legend by now. It makes me question if they really were those kinds of clothing back in the old times.
The scene setup was quite good as well. You will know immediately that the production team spent a lot of time building the actual set.
It's quite disappointing though that Audrey Hepburn sang only a few songs throughout the entire movie. She was dubbed by another singer since her singing voice is quite inadequate. I am wondering if her voice really does not suit her role or the scenes. I believe she didn't make any musical movies after this because of it. Similarly, Rex Harrison had trouble singing his parts so he had to improvise and just talk his way during the musical numbers.
So I guess, even with those issues during production everything just boils down to the chemistry of all the casts. Which is pretty impressive I must say.
It is also the most expensive film at that time in the United States totaling up to $ 17 million. Another fun fact, Rex Harrison when he received the Best Actor award, he dedicated it to his two Fair Ladies: Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews. The 2 actresses played both the character of Eliza Dolittle. Quite amazing both as an actor and as a person. Audrey Hepburn after wearing a full gown during one of her shoots was so beautiful that most of the crewmembers stood silently just gazing at her. Now that is the next level of beauty Even I would just stand there in awe.
This film deserved to be preserved because of how aesthetically beautiful it is. The production, story, and importance are all next level. By far this is my favorite musical so far. I believe there are a few more on the Academy Awards List so I am looking forward to those as well.
I instantly rate this movie a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.