MY FAIR LADY (1964) C widescreen 170m dir: George Cukor
w/Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfred Hyde White, Gladys Cooper, Jeremy Brett, Theodore Bikel, Isobel Elsom, Mona Washbourne, John Alderson
From Variety's contemporary review of the film: "The great longrun stage musical made by Lerner & Lowe (and Herman Levin) out of the wit of Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion has been transformed into a stunningly effective screen entertainment. My Fair Lady has riches of story, humor, acting and production values far beyond the average big picture. [Producer Jack L.] Warner paid $5.5 million for the rights alone. Care and planning shine in every detail and thus cast a glow around the name of director George Cukor. The original staging genius of Moss Hart cannot be overlooked as a blueprint for success. But like all great films My Fair Lady represents a team of talents. Rex Harrison's performance and Cecil Beaton's design of costumes, scenery and production are the two powerhouse contributions. [For contractual reasons, Beaton was credited with production design, but this was in fact done by art director Gene Allen.]
"This is a man-bullies-girl plot with story novelty. An unorthodox musical without a kiss, the audience travels to total involvement with characters and situation on the rails of sharp dialog and business. The deft segues of dialog into lyric are superb, especially in the case of Harrison.
"Only incurably disputatious persons will consider it a defect of Lady on screen that Julie Andrews has been replaced by the better known Miss H. She is thoroughly beguiling as Eliza though her singing is dubbed by Marni Nixon.
"Stanley Holloway repeats from the Broadway stage version. Again and again his theatrical authority clicks. How this great English trouper takes the basically 'thin' and repetitious 'With a Little Bit of Luck' and makes it stand up as gaiety incarnate.
"Everyone in the small cast is excellent. Mona Washbourne is especially fine as the prim but compassionate housekeeper. Wilfred Hyde White has the necessary proper gentleman quality as Pickering and makes a good foil for Harrison. Gladys Cooper brings aristocratic common sense to the mother of the phonetics wizard.
"A certain amount of new music by Frederick Lowe and added lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner are part of the adjustment to the cinematic medium. But it is the original stage score that stands out.
"[Original roadshow presentations featured an intermission after 102 mins., after Eliza and Higgins leave for the ball.]"
Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Harrison), Color Cinematography (Harry Stradling), Color Art Direction (Allen, Beaton, George James Hopkins), Sound (George R. Groves), Adapted Musical Scoring (Andre Previn), and Color Costume Design (Beaton). Nominations for Best Supporting Actor (Holloway), Supporting Actress (Cooper), Adapted Screenplay (Lerner), and Editing (William Ziegler).