A Classic Revisited

my_fair_lady

I had the movie “My Fair Lady” on my to-watch list since a long time. At last I got around to watch it. The movie released in 1964 starred Rex Harrison as Prof. Henry Higgins who is an expert in languages and phonetics but arrogant and misogynistic by nature. He takes up a wager with an acquaintance Colonel Pickering to transform an uncouth and dirty Cockney flower girl Eliza Dolittle (Audrey Hepburn) into a sophisticated lady with proper English accent and manners. This is how Eliza utters “disgusting and depressing noise” in Prof.Higgins words instead of English. Lyrics of the song - Why Can’t the English? lyrics

The quaintness of the acting, the characters and the sets was enjoyable. The story of their efforts in the transformation and their success is presented in a most witty way and is interspersed with songs with wonderful lyrics and background music as per the Hollywood trend at that time. Prof.Higgins and Colonel Pickering are successful in fooling others to believe she is a princess but when Prof.Higgins fails to acknowledge her efforts and takes all the credit, Eliza leaves his house. Don’t worry that is not the ending. :) This is the song Prof. Higgins sings after Eliza’s sudden departure where he wonders that why can’t a woman be more like a man. Maybe feminists at that time would have taken offense but then it is just a movie! Lyrics to the song - A Hymn to Him lyrics.

Here is the song where Prof.Higgins explains the reason for his bachelorhood when Colonel Pickering expresses his doubt over Eliza living with him in his house. Hilarious! Lyrics to the song - I’m an Ordinary Man lyrics

No wonder the movie won 8 Oscars including Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Director. Such an utterly delightful movie! And Audrey Hepburn’s beauty beats all Aishwaryas and Katrinas hollow. A must watch movie.

eliza-collage

The Transformation Of Eliza

Finally here is the video about the efforts made by the people behind the scenes to make this classic and entertaining motion picture.

Of course Bollywood can’t be far behind if there exists such a wonderful movie. Apparently the upcoming Aditya Chopra movie Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi is a copy of the movie. Also it “inspired” “Man Pasand” with Dev Anand and Tina Munim, and ‘Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaaye‘ with Rameshwari. Even music is copied!

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21 thoughts on “A Classic Revisited

  1. @ Reema

    The second wave of Feminism was just beginning when the film came out. In fact in some respects Eliza Doolittle already had a life of independent identity and work (if not well-paid), although she did not have white picket fences and a house in the suburbs which were so perfect it was hard to fathom anyone in possession of such could be dissatisfied. To be fair, Pickering squares with Higgins just rightly in that song.

    MFL is mainly a commentary on the English class system, if one wishes to be scholarly about it. But in the end it is a love story too.

    If you really want to see how a perfect, feel-good film can be ruined, look for a film called ‘Manpasand’ that Dev Anand made with Tina Munim in the Eliza role. Listen to this song for Ms Munim’s own cacophonous version of Eliza:

    http:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASorbEdsDEw

    Reema: I also liked Eliza’s father reply to Pickering and Higgins explaining his philosophy. I watched the video. Aarrgghh!! Thankfully I haven’t seen the movie.

  2. hmmm the story of bollywood getiing *inspired* is very old then..

    Audrey Hepburn..classic beauty..indeed…

    and I am way too much in love with Aish and Katreena’s beauty.. atleast for me it cannot be hollow, even if compared to Audrey :)

    Reema: Oh another Aish and Katrina fan! :roll:

  3. Thanks for reminding me. Ever since I got a DVD at rent to watch this one and the DVD didn’t work, I have completely forgotten about this one. Its on my hit list now. :)
    By the way, have you seen “Roman Holiday” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” ? Audrey looked so beautiful in both of them.

    Reema: No I haven’t seen those yet! Now those are on my hit list :)

  4. I dont think RBDJ is inspired from foreign movies. The storyline that I had come across on the net is quite original and a lot bollywood-ish. But then again, we will have to wait and watch.

    Reema: Its not me who is saying that. Its given in that link that RNBDJ is inspired from MFL.

  5. @ Reema

    My apologies. When I read your post the first time, I missed the last paragraph altogether. When I saw a ref to RBDJ, I wondered what that was and re-read it and found you already mention Manpasand.

    And you are right – the song ‘Hothon pe geet jaage’ is a straight lift from ‘I could have danced all night’. What a shame!

    PS: That I know all these songs is a testament to the number of records that were bought in our house, thanks to belonging to a close-knit, extended musical family. What can I say? We bought nearly everything that caught our fancy even if only to analyse the plagiarism threadbare… 8-)

    Reema: Its ok! Wow! Thats explains your extensive knowledge of songs.

  6. if you have read some of my old entries u wud know how much I LOVE Audrey… Oh yaar she was something… Watch her Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s… 2 of her FINEST performances..

    Also heard ‘RNBDJ’ is somewhat based on ‘Nach Baliye’. Whatever, if SRK looked like a lizard in OSO, he beats himself and his second avtar in RNBDJ looks like an almost-dead-lizard… (Though I liked his uncle-look)

    Reema: I think I missed those posts as I started reading your blog recently. After double recommendation, I will watch those movies surely. I too heard its based on Nach Baliye and the metamorphosis of SRK’s character to participate in that.

  7. I saw that movie in a pre-linguistic class I took in sixth form. I agree it is a wonderful movie.

    She beat him in the end, classic style

    Reema: She manages to melt his heart!

  8. Thanks for revisiting My Fair Lady after such a long time. I remember I used to rent VHS tapes or MFL and watch it fondly many times. Seems like I should go out and buy the DVD after all. It is a great film…

    Reema: Yes its a movie worth keeping!

  9. I have the DVD for this movie…yet to watch it. I don’t seem to have the patience that’s required for old musicals. :(

    Reema: Yes it does take patience to watch a 3 hour long Hollywood movie! But do watch it. It will lighten your heart.

  10. I love musicals and this one is one of my favourites. There are few movies I can see for the second time and this is one of them.

    Reema: As a rule I don’t like musicals but I enjoyed this as most of the songs were so witty!

  11. Looks like a nice movie! I don’t know where I’ll get it though… is it available for torrent download? I’ll watch it… Mail me the torrent… :)

    Reema: I’m sure you will enjoy it! Link sent. Do watch it.

  12. I have a long list of movies to watch but I don’t have this one. Mostly I love action or crime dramas and I don’t think I am mature enough to enjoy a musical. But surely a day will come for it :)

    Reema: I loved the movie for its wit and humor :)

  13. i remember watching in a long time back ..nice candy-floss feel good musical .. i love audrey hepburn .. such a pretty thing ..

    Reema: Welcome to my blog! really a wonderful movie! Keep visiting.

  14. I haven’t watched this movie. But now I feel I must. I will probably download it. How did you get it?

    And I didn’t know Rab Ne Bana Di was inspired by this movie. I thought it was gonna be something about a simple and middle class guy falling in love with a much younger girl. But then my friends told me that SRK has two looks in this movie. Then I saw a couple of pictures of the other look of SRK. I don’t know if it’s authentic or not but he was looking horrible.

    Reema: Yes I got it from Internet only. In the link, it is said RNBDJ is inspired from MFL but I doubt that after reading its story. Yes he has got two looks in the movie.

  15. Hey, i think RNBDJ has quite a different story… its abt srk’s transformation as far as i know.. and it isn’t brought abt by anushka sharma.. and it involves a dance contest called RNDBJ.. but i am not totally sure..

    Reema: yes that is the story. However the link I have given says its lifted from MFL!

  16. reema you reminded me of some old days. we inacted this play as a part of the annual book week in my school….and i played the role of professor higgins :P ..and we were awarded the best stage set up award :P

    Reema: Wow!! That must have been an awesome play :)

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