Repeat Watch: My Fair Lady
While discussing movies to watch again during the month of February, it would be a shame not to include one iconic musical with romantic tones. My Fair Lady was released in 1964 and is based upon the stage play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. The film itself was written by Alan Jay Lerner and directed by George Cukor. The film follows a poor Cockney flower seller named Eliza Doolittle and a phonetics professor named Henry Higgins, who wagers he can teach her to speak “proper” English and therefore improve her station. Audrey Hepburn plays the character of Eliza while Rex Harrison plays the often arrogant Henry Higgins. The film went on to win eight Academy Awards overall and was added to the 1998 version of the American Film Institute’s list of greatest American films of all time.
So, why specifically is it worth a repeat watch?
1) Lyrics & Melodies
Honestly, I have a soft spot for musicals overall, but this particular picture is one that I consider to be among the best. There are a lot of catchy tunes in this movie from “Why Can’t the English Learn to Speak?” to “The Rain in Spain.” Those songs feed into the nature of these characters and the themes of the film. However, the movie is also punctuated by such beautiful songs as “I Could Have Danced All Night.” The music enhances the movie and takes what was already a fun concept to new heights.
2) One Dynamic Duo
One of the reasons this movie succeeds is the performances from Hepburn and Harrison. They are both magnetic on screen, but beyond their performances, it really is their characters that are thrilling to watch. The character of Eliza with her cringeworthy accent and ridiculous outbursts is somehow lovable in the midst of it all. The character of Henry Higgins is arrogant and often dismissive, but he is incredibly hilarious with his clever comebacks and unique outlook on life. Their dialogue throughout the entire movie is beautifully written and ridiculously clever, and they inject a good deal of humor through their facial expressions and movements. I’m fairly sure that no one could have brought these characters to life quite like Hepburn and Harrison could have, and it leads to a dynamic and compelling pairing on screen.
3) A Classic Premise
While My Fair Lady is not the only movie to include a wager and the belief that one character can change another, it is certainly one of the best iterations of that trope. Eliza has a long way to travel to deliver on the bet that Higgins places, and the movie leans into that passage of time. Simultaneously, Higgins is in just as much need of change as Eliza. Of course, that is part of what makes this such a complete movie; both of these characters need to adapt to become a better version of themselves. The best stories demand for their characters to change, and My Fair Lady accomplishes just that while throwing a few wrinkles into the journey.
This movie contains some of the best performances from Hepburn, Harrison, and the rest of the supporting cast, and it is certainly an enjoyable watch. In addition to all of the reasons mentioned above, the costuming and choreography are sure to bring a smile to one’s face. I have yet to find it on any of the streaming sites, but this is truly a movie that should be present in any movie collection. My Fair Lady is worth the repeat watch, but be prepared to find yourself humming all of the music for days afterward.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.