Reel Classics: the classic movie site

My Fair Lady (1964)

Cast | Crew | Awards | Articles | Lyrics | Bibliography | Gallery | Downloads | Links | Image Credits

Page 6   

Higgins dresses

When Higgins discovers Eliza has bolted, he is more than a little perturbed: "Women are irrational!  That's all there is to that.  Their heads are full of cotton, hay and rags.  They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags!" He then proceeds to ask Pickering, "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?"

More Memorable Quotations:

  • "Damn Mrs. Pearce, damn the coffee and damn you!  And damn my own folly for lavishing my hard-earned knowledge and the treasure of my regard and intimacy on a heartless guttersnipe!" --Professor Higgins.
  • "I beg your pardon.  Listen to me, my man. I don't like the tenor of that question. What the girl does here is our affair.  Your affair is to get her back so she can continue doing it!  Well, I'm dashed." --Colonel Pickering (a .WAV file).
  • "Do you mean to say I'm to put on my Sunday manners for this thing I created out of the squashed cabbage leaves of Covent Garden?" --Professor Higgins.
  • "Henry, don't grind your teeth." --Mrs. Higgins.
  • "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." --Eliza.
  • "I know I'm a common, ignorant girl and you're a book learned gentleman, but I'm not dirt under your feet.  What I done... what I did, was not for the taxis and the dresses, but because we were... pleasant together, and I come to... came... to care for you.  Not to want you to make love to me and not forgetting the difference between us, but more friendly like." --Eliza.
              "Well, of course.  That's how I feel.  And how Pickering feels."  --Professor Higgins (a .WAV file).

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

Mrs. Higgins and Eliza have tea; Henry pouts

In the meantime, Eliza takes refuge at the home of Henry's mother, who is more than sympathetic to her plight:  "This is simply appalling.  I should not have thrown my slippers at him.  I should have thrown the fire irons." -- Mrs. Higgins.

When Henry arrives, he commands Eliza to "get up and come home and stop being a fool," but she declines his invitation.

Eliza stands up to Higgins

Click here "Oooo, You Are A Devil" (a .AVI file courtesy 20th Century-Fox).

Comparing Henry to a motorbus, Eliza complains of his lack of consideration and informs him, "I can do bloody well without you!"  She then threatens to marry Freddie and teach phonetics.

"You impudent hussy!  There's not an idea in your head or a word in your mouth that I haven't put there!" -- Higgins.

Higgins has grown accustomed to her face

At once pleased with Eliza's newfound strength of character and dismayed at her refusal to return home with him, Higgins stalks out.  Analyzing his mixed feelings, he stops on a street corner to sing "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" and predicts Eliza will regret having left him.  In a little fantasy of his own, he imagines her crawling back to him one day:  "I'll slam the door and let the hell-cat freeze!"

Although in the Greek myth, Pygmalion explicitly falls in love with Galatea, in Shaw's "Pygmalion," the relationship between the professor and his flower girl remains unresolved at the end.  Shaw disdained conventional theatrical romances, and believed a fairytale ending would distract from the social critique he wanted the story to convey.  Thus, rather than debase his play by bringing his two characters together at the end, he left it essentially without an ending. 

Despite the playwright's protestations, a number of productions over the years attempted to suggest at least a reconciliation between Higgins and Eliza, if not a traditional romantic happy ending -- as did Lerner and Loewe's MY FAIR LADY.  Shortly after the Ascot debacle, Mrs. Higgins briefly observes that Henry "must be absolutely potty about" Eliza (a British expression meaning "nutty" or "crazy" about someone) even to be attempting the makeover experiment.  And at the end of the original stage show, Rex Harrison tossed a rose at Julie Andrews just before the final curtain came down. 

Eliza returns

Although in the film, director George Cukor took a slightly more ambiguous approach to the ending, in the final analysis, MY FAIR LADY's social criticisms were dominated by the Cinderella story of Eliza's transformation.  For all intents and purposes, the future of the two characters is left to the audience's imagination, but the fact that the American Film Institute ranked MY FAIR LADY #12 on its list of Greatest Screen Romances proves that, as happened to Professor Higgins, sometimes a work of art escapes the control of its creator and determines its own destiny.

"Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?" --Professor Higgins.

Video Clips:

  • Click here A clip demonstrating the 1994 restoration of MY FAIR LADY (a .MOV file courtesy AMC).
  • Click here "Story of a Lady" (Warner Bros. short about the making of MY FAIR LADY) (a .MOV file courtesy Warner Bros.).

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

Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6
Cast | Crew | Awards | Articles | Lyrics | Bibliography | Gallery | Downloads | Links | Image Credits

Buy Videos & DVDs
Find your movie at
Movies Unlimited

Buy Movie Posters
& Film Stills

Buy Movie Posters
In Affiliation with

Classic Movie Merchandise
-- recommended links to dozens of online vendors selling classic movies & all kinds of related products.

printer-friendly pagePrinter-friendly version.   return to the topReturn to the top.
Last updated: June 21, 2010.
Reel Classics is a registered trademark of Reel Classics, L.L.C.
1997-2010 Reel Classics, L.L.C.  All rights reserved.  No copyright is claimed on non-original or licensed material.  Terms of Use.