My Fair Lady (1964)
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Believing Eliza ready for a tryout in high society, Higgins and Pickering
take her to the races at Ascot, seating her with Higgins' mother (Gladys
Cooper) and her friends. Mrs. Higgins is not amused.
"Henry! What a
disagreeable surprise." --Mrs. Higgins.
"Hello, Mother." --Professor Higgins (a .WAV file).
Although by the late 1950s and early 1960s, location shooting had become the
norm for many of Hollywood's big-budget films, including musicals like GIGI
(1958) (filmed in Paris) and THE
SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) (filmed in Austria),
20th-Century Fox's runaway
production of CLEOPATRA (1963) in Rome the previous year had convinced Jack Warner
to keep the production of MY FAIR LADY in Hollywood under his own watchful
eye. As a result, not a single frame of the film was shot on location
in London. Nevertheless, committed to making MY FAIR LADY a
top-quality movie musical, the notoriously
thrifty Warner spent
some $17 million on the production, $1 million of which went
toward the enormous Oscar-winning period sets that spanned some 26
Warner Bros. sound
stages in Burbank and which are among the most lavishly detailed sets ever
seen on film.
Staying indoors presented
problems for certain scenes however. To film the horse race, for
example, set director Gene Allen built the replica grandstand and boxes on a
sound stage, filled them with actors in full costume, and then hired quarter
horses and jockeys to race full-speed through one door of the stage and out
Cecil Beaton's phenomenal
costumes for MY FAIR LADY, including the designs for the Ascot Opening Day
sequence, won him a much deserved Academy Award. Unrecognized, though
also worthy of note, was assistant director David Hall's striking crowd
choreography in both the Ascot and opening Covent Garden sequences.
(Legendary Hollywood choreographer
Hermes Pan directed the dances involving the principal actors, such as
"The Rain in Spain.")
Although she was instructed to stick to two subjects, the weather and
everybody's health, enchanted with the new sound of her voice, Eliza begins
to run off at the mouth with a story about her aunt's suspicious death.
In one of the funniest scenes in the film, Higgins and Pickering scramble to
stifle her "new small talk."
"They Done the Old
Woman In" (a .AVI file courtesy 20th
Still More Memorable Quotations:
- "Why should she die of influenza
when she come through diphtheria right enough the year before? Fairly
blue with it, she was. They all thought she was dead. But my
father, he kept ladling gin down her throat. Then she come through so sudden, she bit the bowl off the
- "And what become of her new straw hat that should have
come to me? Somebody pinched it! And what I say is: them 'as
pinched it, done her in." --Eliza.
- "Gin was mother's milk to her." --Eliza.
on... Come on, Dover... Come on... Come on, Dover... Come on... Come on,
Dover! Move ya bloomin' arss!" --Eliza (a .WAV file).
Dover! Move ya bloomin' arse!" --Eliza (a .WAV file).
"Uh, is... is Miss
Doolittle in?" --Freddie.
"Whom shall I say
is calling?" --Mrs. Pierce.
Oh, if she doesn't remember who I am, tell her I'm the chap who was
snickering at her." --Freddie.
"And, will you give her
Wouldn't you like to come in, sir? They're having dinner, but you may wait in
the hall." --Mrs. Pierce.
"No, no thank you.
I want to drink in the street where she lives." --Freddie (a .WAV file).
"Eddie boy, we're in for a booze
up. The sun is shining on Alfred P. Doolittle." --Alfie Doolittle
(a .WAV file).
(For help opening the multimedia files, visit the plug-ins page.)
After topping off the afternoon at the races with an incredible gaff, Eliza returns home in shame. But young Freddie Eynsford-Hill
(Jeremy Brett) is completely enchanted and follows Eliza home. When she
refuses to see him, he insists on waiting for her, singing "On
the Street Where You Live".
the Street Where You Live" (clip) dubbed by Bill Shirley for Jeremy Brett (a .MP3 file courtesy Sony).
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