Sunday, July 10, 2016

My Fair Lady {1964} / / review + GIVEAWAY

"One day, I'll be famous…"


I am now going to attempt to review the one and only My Fair Lady--about time, no? ;)  And yes, you read the title correctly, I am hosting a giveaway as a part of this post!  But I want to write the review first, so you will simply have to live with the old pins and needles until I've finished, mwhahahaha.  (Or you could cheat and just skip to the end of the post.  That's an option, too.)

I'm assuming everybody already knows the plot, because I'm assuming (and hoping) most of you have already seen it, but on the off chance that that is not the case, here's this that I stole obtained from the Internet:  In this beloved musical, pompous phonetics professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is so sure of his abilities that he takes it upon himself to transform a Cockney working-class girl into someone who can pass for a cultured member of high society. His subject turns out to be the lovely Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), who agrees to speech lessons to improve her job prospects. Higgins and Eliza clash, then form an unlikely bond -- one that is threatened by an aristocratic suitor (Jeremy Brett).  There you are.  That's more or less a good synopsis.  Let us take the proverbial jump in, shall we?  Spoilers will be given free rein!!!  


*sigh*  Oh, this darling, classic, vibrant, sweet, rambunctious, dramatic, hilarious thing of beauty.  I am rather fond of it, I must say.  

Now, you all know my rather strong opinions on the infamous Henry Higgins  *clears throat*  (And if you don't, you can read them here.)  Since I've already done my spiel on him and why I actually quite love his character--well, 'love' might be a strong word.  I Vastly Enjoy watching his character, let's put it that way.--I shall try to restrain myself from focusing too much on him in this review (I make no promises, but I'll try).  

If I am being perfectly honest, I've never delved all that deeply into Eliza Doolittle herself, so my two bits on her might be rather scanty.  I'll summarize by saying that I like Eliza:  she has spunk, and she is able to stand up for herself when enough is enough, but she's also sweet and malleable and willing to humble herself in order to better her situation in life.  She's strong, but she's kind and forgiving as well.  


The line I perhaps find more thought-provoking than any other in this musical--I know, I know, that's not saying a whole lot as it is primarily a comedy, but there are some Things To Think On as well--is what Eliza says to Mrs. Higgins near the close of the movie, as the two of them are endeavoring to not-so-subtly point out to a not-so-subtle Henry that his behavior is unacceptable:  "Apart from the things one can pick up, the difference between a lady and a flower-girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.  I shall always be a flower-girl to Professor Higgins because he always treats me as a flower-girl and always will.  But I know I shall always be a lady to Colonel Pickering because he always treats me as a lady and always will."  That old question of social rank and whether the depth of a certain societal level is dependent on its own inherent merit or merely on the fact that it is higher or lower than another societal level.  Interesting, no? ;)  Actually, that entire succession of scenes in Mrs. Higgins' house is great--it unearths the obstacle at the heart of Eliza and Henry's relationship:  his careless cruelty toward all feelings and viewpoints of anyone he deems intellectually inferior to himself, how he values his own erudition disproportionately more than any emotion that might be lurking under his crusty, boyish attitude.  One can argue that Henry learns his lesson by the end, and thus the end is justified romantically, or one can maintain that the two of them still have no business being even partially together and they remain unlikely frenemies.  The beauty of it is that the conclusion really is sufficiently open-ended to support either choice, with a little stretch of the imagination.  


The sets of this movie are awesome.  Covent Garden, the Ascot Races, the Embassy Ball, Mrs. Higgins parlor and conservatory, the whole interior of Higgins' house…HIGGINS' STUDY THOUGH.  I really, really want a study like that.  More than Belle's library, even.  

Then there are the costumes.  My, oh my, the costumes…

…Actually, to be brutally frank, I can never quiiiite decide where I stand on the costumes.  Typically there's an element I like, but also a corresponding element that I dislike, so I end up waffling over whether I truly love them or just observe them amusedly.  


Eliza's iconic black-and-white ensemble, for example.  Naturally, Audrey pulls it off gracefully and manages to make it look elegant, but let's be real.  Audrey could pull anything off and make it look elegant.  It's just a bit too…much, y'know?  But maybe I'm just missing something, and it's supposed to look ever-so-slightly silly, since it was Pickering and Higgins' first attempt at buying outfits for Eliza.  What think you?

I do, of course, like a lot of Eliza's other outfits.  My favorite would probably have to be the dark green jumper with the white blouse that she wears during the "breakthrough" scene, but I also love her peach outfit, her pink dress, and her Embassy Ball gown (though complaints have been lodged, and rightly so, about the styling of her hair in said scene--it could be criticized, let us say).


I shouldn't even get started on the songs, for a number of reasons:  1) because they're such classics that there's really no need, and 2) because I really, really need to finish this review and get on with the giveaway.  So I'll just say that the music in this one is lavish, orchestral, warm, witty, and charming.  And beautiful, and funny, and full of pathos by turns.  My favorites are probably…hmm…"Wouldn't It Be Loverly", "I Could Have Danced All Night", "Without You","I Shall Never Let a Woman in My Life", and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face".  Oh, "On the Street Where You Live" is also quite lovely, despite my views on Freddy Eynesford-Hill ;-P  (He's not a bad sport, really, just not overflowing with cranial activity, it appears.)

To close with some of my favorite comedic quotes (yes, they're mostly Higgins' or related to him; don't judge) as best as I can recall them:

~ "Stop this detestable boo-hooing or else seek the shelter of some other place of worship!" ~
~ "Very nicely put indeed, Henry--no woman could resist such an invitation." ~ 
~ "What, that thing?  Sacred, I assure you." ~ 
~ "Did you tell 'im I come in a taxi?" ~ 
~ "Somebody pinched it." ~
~ "If we listen to this man for another moment, we shall have no convictions left! … Tell him to get in touch with an Alfred P. Doolittle:  one of the most original moralists in England."~ 
~ "In 'Eartford, 'Ereford and 'Ampshire, 'urricanes 'ardly hever 'appen." ~
~ "Higgins, there's one thing I can't stand about you--that's your confounded complacency.  At a moment like this, with so much at stake?  It's utterly indecent that you don't need a glass of port." ~


And now, the moment you've been waiting for…the giveaway!  *stars and confetti*  Here's the deal with the deal.  I will be giving away a used copy of George Bernard Shaw's play, Pygmalion--which was the inspiration for the musical My Fair Lady--and four 8x10 Audrey Hepburn prints (photo paper quality).   It'd be grand if you would please limit your entries to one of the five items.  I'll leave the giveaway open from now--July 10, 2016--until 9:00 AM (EST), Saturday, July 16, 2016.  Lord willing, I'll draw the winners on Saturday and notify them on Sunday so they can get me mailing addresses.  To enter, please comment telling me which of the five giveaway items you would like if you win, and also include your email address so I can contact you in case you do win.  (If you wish, I can delete your comment after I receive it--that way your email won't be floating around cyberspace, but I'll still have the comment in my inbox.  Feel free to ask me to do this if you'd prefer!)  


Item #1

{Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw.  Like I said, the copy is used, so it's a wee bit battered, but altogether in good condition as far as I know.  (I haven't thumbed through the whole thing.)  This one features some neat bonus content, including several pages of pictures (some from the movie) with historical notes, as well as a type of bio of Shaw, as I recall.}  


Item #2


Item #3


Item #4


Item #5

Have a wonderful Sunday, lovelies! :)









36 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Cooleo! Thanks for your entry, Monica! :)

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. In ours, too :D Aww, that's so kind of you! Best of luck in the giveaway! ;)

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  3. This was a perfectly lovely review, Olivia! :D

    Two things I especially agree on:
    One, THAT LIBRARY. IT'S SO AMAZING. I still LOVE Belle's, but yeah, I might be with you there... only does it have a fireplace? If it has a fire place, I'm sold.
    Two, the costumes. Haha, I'm just like you. ;D Oh, yes, they're quite pretty... actually, let me think about that... they ARE quite bazaar. Hmm... what DO I think about that... :P

    One thing I disagree on:
    Freddy. Haha. 'Nuff said. ;D

    Also, those quotes... they're grand. XD I really want to re-watch that movie now!

    As for your giveaway, it looks really pretty! I may just pass this one out, though, as I honestly don't know where I'd put those pictures (I barely have room for two photo frames, at the most!) and I already have way too much STUFF. Ahem. :P I also have plenty of books in my hands and not enough time to read them... But, anyway, they all look so sweet! :)

    ~Miss Meg

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    1. Awwwww, thanks! :D

      I KNOW. 'Tis too perfect. Hmm, I think it actually does have a fireplace! Better and better ;D

      Hahaha, twinsies *high five*

      Hehe ;P So do you like Freddy or dislike him? He's kind of "ehh" to me :P

      Aren't they, though?! I mean. Really. Yessss, rewatch it!!!

      I totally get that! I appreciate your comment just the same :D

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    2. I like Freddy. *smiles proudly* He's such a doofus but I still like him. He's more my style than HH. ;P

      Aww, thanks gurl. <3

      ~Miss Meg

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    3. Haha, good for you! I don't dislike Freddy--I just don't like him very much, either ;-P

      Anytime <3

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  4. Ooh! I love this musical!
    While I am really interested in item #1, I have been parentally forbade to put my email anywhere, even if it shall be deleted shortly. *sigh*

    Good luck to all the actual contestants!

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    1. Me too!!

      Darn, that's disappointing :( But I completely understand. Maybe later!

      Thanks for being such a great sport about it :)

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    1. Thanks! And I think I still have your email ;D

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  6. I've never actually seen My Fair Lady so . . . it's hard for me to comment :-) I wish I could say "I'm GOING to see it soon," but the fact is I probably won't. You see, the thing is, I'm not what you might call a Classic Hollywood Person. Also, I have a 'kind of feeling' I'd end up hating old Henry Higgins very very much indeed; and that would be a sad thing. So I should probably skip this movie :-)

    I do love the song "I Could Have Danced All Night," though!! It makes me happy whenever I hear it--it's just so joyful! :-)

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    1. ACH! Jessica, you wound me ;-P Just kidding--I really appreciate you taking the time to comment anyway! As for not being a 'Classic Hollywood Person,' well, to borrow a phrase from The Importance of Being Earnest, "I'm sorry for that, for your sake"--but yes, I have an inkling that you wouldn't like HH, so perhaps it's all for the best :D

      Yes! It's a darling song!!

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  7. Ah, your review was glorious! It makes me want to watch this movie again ^.^ I remember watching it as a little girl and Mom always making me cover my ears at the horse races, haha!

    I agree, her outfits are appealing in a rather bizarre way sometimes. Henry is awesome in every manner and I can relate to him just as much as I do to Eliza. Frank, like you say, is nice and all, but a little absent or something :P And I love the rather open-ended conclusion as well. *sniff* Oh and the music, duh. Even if it wasn't Audrey Hepburn that sang it ;)

    I can't decide if I would prefer item #1 or #5. So I'll decide if I get that far :P My e-mail (without any spaces!) is abi claire 98 at gmail dot com. And, no, you do not have to delete this comment. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks ever so much, Abigayle! YUSS DO IT. Hahahaha! Ahh, that makes me laugh--we have a number of fun memories with regard to that infamous scene, as well xD

      FINALLY SOMEONE ELSE WHO APPRECIATES HENRY HIGGINS! *high five* I'm so glad you don't abhor him :) Ach, yes, I was so disappointed when I first found out that it wasn't Audrey's voice! But then I discovered that she sings a few parts, and I was mollified ;)

      Haha! I know, it's a tough choice. Actually, though, I'm hosting giveaways for each individual item, so if you could decide which one you'd like to enter for before the giveaways close, that'd be great. Sorry to rush you! :P

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  8. Tagged you for Five Favorite Couples Tag!

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    1. Thanks so much, Ivy! Can't wait to do your tags! :)

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  9. I can't tell you how delightfully, fantastically, entertaining it was to read this post, Olivia! Sorry, it's been awhile since I've commented around her. My bad. O_O And I'm even more apologetic since reading this. I read both this post and the post you linked to about Henry Higgins. Your way of writing and expressing yourself is so engaging as to make the reading uniquely enjoyable. I confess, I read both posts without once removing the smile on my face. It's a gift and I wish you could share it with me. ;D

    Like the post you linked to, I don't really have a problem with 'those kinds' of men. I haven't always felt that way. They used to drive me insane when I was younger but as I've grown up, I've come to understand them more. You know? And I do like them because they change...if they didn't, nope, I wouldn't like them at all. Hahaha.

    As for this post, you would really take Higgins' library over Belle's?? I'm shocked!! Yes, I too like the sets but still--that is a bit far for my tastes. :D I can't help you with Eliza's outfits either. I can at least like the costumes are rather consistent through the movie. There isn't just one totally outlandish one that would stick out like a sore thumb. Hahaha. Anyway, thank you for giving me a wonderful morning read!

    ~Cordy

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    1. AWWWW! Cordy! You are such a sweetheart! *hugs you* Goodness, don't apologize--if anything, *I* should be apologizing for how behind I always am with reading your lovely posts. You're too kind--thank you SO much for saying that! I'm so glad you enjoyed the posts so much! But I have to tell you, you most certainly DO have that gift. Your posts are wonderful. Remember that post you wrote about the revelations you had about your childhood when watching The Rescuers that one time? That post has stuck with me ever since. Don't underestimate your abilities when it comes to blogging, m'dear--you definitely have "the knack" ;D

      I know exactly what you mean. If they weren't forced to change, I'm not sure how I'd feel, but as it is…I can tolerate them and even find them amusing :)

      I'm afraid so--silly girl that I am ;) (Though, to be fair, I'd have to re-watch BatB to be able to say for sure.) That's true--at least all of them are bizarrely elegant. Hehe.

      Thank YOU! Your comment really brightened my day a lot :)

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  10. *cries because I've come too late for the giveaway* *cheers because lovely blog post* :) I love MFL!!! And I very much relate to what you said about the dresses-part of me loves them "more than reason" but part of me is just saying "It's too MUCH, dahling-too MUCH!" Haha :P

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    1. Haha! Perfect use of that Incredibles quote ;D

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  11. Oh and I created a Period Drama blog! (check my profile) I might just have to review MFL, I had to do Higgins once in Drama and I've never had more fun, you get to stride around and boom your voice..

    I think she's got it... by GEORGE I THINK SHE'S GOT IT.. PICKERING!
    ahem..

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    1. Your new blog is so lovely!!!! And ooh, yes, I remember you telling me about that! Man, I think it'd be so fun to do Henry Higgins xd

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  12. Aah wait thank you for extending the giveaway! Haha if I win I would love to get the copy of Pygmalion. :) and my email address is somethingsplendidstudios@gmail.com

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  13. Mmm, here is a musical I must see. Promptly. But you know, it's so looong, and my friend and I were going to watch it, but we chose Belle instead... Regardless, thank you for reminding that I really must obtain a copy of this ASAP and free up an evening to watch it. :)

    I do like the songs I've heard, particularly "Why Can't the English". Love that song. :D

    As for the giveaway, I hope you don't mind my entering despite not having actually seen it. It sounds silly, but I know I'll like it when I do, and I just found out Audrey Hepburn is in a War and Peace movie version I hope to watch soon, so I'm planning on becoming a Audrey Hepburn fan very shortly. :)

    Oh, one more thing: clearly I'm clueless when it comes to these things, but entering would mean I'd have to give you my mailing address wouldn't it? Not anything personal of course, but my parents probably wouldn't want me to do that as a matter of principle.

    If there's some way that I wouldn't have to, I'd like to enter for #2. :)

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    1. Oh, bother! I've forgotten my email address. xD

      Here you are-- malaskahomeschooler@gmail.com (Don't laugh; I came up with it when I was 13. ;D)

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    2. Indeed you must! Well, that's true, and Belle is epic, so I shall overlook it ;) Of course! Any time :)

      The songs are fabulous!! Especially Higgins' xD

      "So I'm planning on becoming an Audrey Hepburn fan very shortly." GIRL I DO THAT ALL THE TIME.

      Hehe :P

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It appears that you're about to leave a comment. I think you should know that if you do, I will giggle and smile and be delirious with joy, and then I'll stalk you to find out whether or not you have a blog *ahem*.

…All that's to say, please comment! :D