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My Fair Lady (1964)

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Page 3

Higgins is an ordinary man

"Have you ever met a man of good character where women are concerned? ... Well, I haven't.  I find the moment I let a woman make friends with me she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious  and a damn nuisance.  And I find the moment I make friends with a woman, I become selfish and tyrannical.  So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so." --Professor Higgins.

As Pygmalion and Shakespeare's Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing) before him, Professor Higgins has developed an utter contempt for women and is quite content with his quiet bachelor existence.  What's more, he insists, "I'm An Ordinary Man".
Alfie sings 'A Little Bit O' Luck'

Eliza's father, Alfie Doolittle (Stanley Holloway), is also a bachelor, but in his case, marriage is a "middle class morality" the dustman says he can't afford.  Alfie gets by in life "With a Little Bit O' Luck" and goes to inquire after the strange fate that has befallen his daughter.

Click here"With a Little Bit O' Luck" (clip) sung by Stanley Holloway (a .MP3 file courtesy Sony Music).

Eliza sings 'Just You Wait'

Finding Eliza at Higgins' house, Alfie touches the professor for 5 and leaves his daughter to continue practicing her vowels.

"Aaaaaaayyyyy.  Aaaaaaayyyyyy!" --Eliza.

Eliza is fed up with the drills and fantasizes about Higgins' death, singing "Just you wait, Henry Higgins. Just you wait!"

Eliza practices her Hs

Days go by and Higgins himself becomes increasingly frustrated with Eliza's failure to master the proper pronunciation of phrases and ridiculous rhymes designed to teach her certain sounds.

"In Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen." --Professor Higgins (a .WAV file).

"How kind of you to let me come." --Professor Higgins.

Higgins fills Eliza's mouth with marbles

With six marbles in your mouth, and enunciating every word just as if the marbles were not in your mouth, say...

Click here "With Blackest Moss, the Flower Pots Were Thickly Crusted, One and All" (a .AVI file courtesy 20th Century-Fox).

Still More Memorable Quotations:

  • "What am I?  Ah ask ya that.  What am I?  Ah'm one of the undeservin' poor.  Now think wha' tha' means to a man.  It means he's up against middle class morality for all o' time." --Alfie Doolittle.
  • "I ain't pretending to be deservin'.  No.  Ah'm undeservin'.  And Ah mean to go on being undeservin'.  I like it, and that's the truth." --Alfie Doolittle.
  • "Think what you're trying to accomplish.  Just think what you're dealing with.  The majesty and grandeur of the English language is the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that ever flowed through the hearts of men are contained in its extraordinary, imaginative and musical mixtures of sounds. And that's what you've set yourself out to conquer, Eliza.  And conquer it, you will." --Professor Higgins.

(For help opening the multimedia files, visit the plug-ins page.)

Higgins, Eliza and the colonel dance

Finally, at three in the morning, after a solemn pep talk from Professor Higgins, Eliza achieves a breakthrough and a celebration ensues.

"The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."

Click here"The Rain in Spain" (clip) sung by Rex Harrison, Marni Nixon, Audrey Hepburn and Wilfred Hyde-White (a .MP3 file courtesy Sony Music Entertainment).

(For help opening the multimedia files, visit the plug-ins page.)

Eliza could have danced all night

Higgins, Pickering and the household staff may be ready for bed after the long day, but Eliza is so excited with her progress and having finally pleased her implacable teacher, she sings  "I Could Have Danced All Night".

"You're tired out.  You must be dead.  Your face is drawn.  Your eyes are red.  Now say goodnight.  Please, turn out the light.  Please, it's really time for you to be in bed." --The Maids.

"Bed!  Bed!  I couldn't go to bed!  My head's too light to try to set it down! Sleep!  Sleep!  I couldn't sleep tonight, not for all the jewels in the crown!" --Eliza.

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Last updated: June 21, 2010.
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