My Fair Lady
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this classic musical is entertaining for all ages, though it may be too long (almost three hours) for the youngest kids. It's a biting satire that treats both the most egotistical snob and the "lowliest" street person with gentle humor and respect. It’s also a romantic story without even a kiss. There are no villains; there’s no violence (a few references to beating a woman for misbehaving are intended to be humorous). With the exception of one “ass” and a couple of “damns,” there’s no iffy language, either. A few scenes depict moderate drinking on social occasions, there’s one shot of a tipsy bridegroom on the way to his wedding, and one main character smokes a cigar.
What's the story?
Audrey Hepburn stars as Eliza Doolittle in director George Cukor's adaptation of the Broadway musical based on George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In 1912 London, cockney street peddler Eliza is handpicked by linguistics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) on a bet that he can reshape her into an aristocrat. Higgins has his work cut out for him -- Eliza turns out to be quite the spitfire. As he struggles to teach her how to speak, walk, and behave like a proper lady, his friend Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) sits back and enjoys the wild ride. Eliza's ultimate transformation is spectacular, and even Higgins is surprised by how she handles herself at upper-crust gatherings. He's also surprised at how he himself is transformed when it comes to his feelings for his fetching protege. With music and lyrics by Lerner and Loewe, MY FAIR LADY is truly a classic.
Is it any good?
With witty songwriting, comical and charismatic performances by the two leads, and lush costumes and sets, My Fair Lady still engages decades after its initial release. Hepburn's unique comic flair is especially effective in the race scene at Ascot.
The film delights viewers of all ages, although some might grow weary of a few songs that stay a verse or two past their welcome. The DVD special features offer an insight into how this classic might have been even better: Compare the versions of "Show Me" and "Loverly" originally sung by Hepburn with the final film's dubbing of Marni Nixon's impersonal soprano. You'll rue the studio's decision not to leave Hepburn's sweeter, more urchinesque voice on these tracks.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the idea of social class. How have things changed since the time in which this movie was set?
How does the movie portray drinking? Are viewers supposed to get a specific take-away from that?
How do you think Eliza feels about Professor Higgins in the end?