Dr. Vanessa Theme Ament

DAILY DOSE OF DELIGHT #15 (From MY FAIR LADY

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One of the first noticeable things about this scene is that it has a lot of passion in the acting. If I saw only this scene, and knew almost nothing about My Fair Lady, I wouldn't even think this to

be a musical. I like that the start of the scene has soft music playing in the background to match Eliza's mood, and as you hear Higgins in the background the music is harder to hear, until it

stops abruptly as Higgins enters the room. It highlights that she can't even be alone, or she can't even have the chance to be herself, in her own thoughts. Higgins has infiltrated everything

that makes her who she is; this is evident throughout this scene, but especially when he offers her the chocolates. The first time he does it, it's what gets her to stay with him, it's essentially

how he controls her. When she screams "NO!" she's taking back control of who she is, and then remembers her "training" and adds, quietly, "Thank you." The passion seen throughout this

scene is different that what I've been seeing in the musicals so far.

The acting here is more than vocal, it goes deep into body language. Often a change in facial expression would be followed by a change in tone of the scene. Whether it was going to get loud,

or soft, it was evident by their movements and expressions. Additionally, their movements are followed with the camera. When Eliza stands to meet Higgins face to face, the camera rises with

her. When Higgins walks into the room, the camera backs up, as if to make room for him. All of the shots here are either medium shots or long shots, almost no close ups, which allows room

for both of them to be in frame, even if they aren't.

What's interesting, and neat, the two don't get very close to each other, except when she tries to strangle him, there's always something between them. That's also one of the few times they

touch in this scene. Higgins places his hand on her shoulder briefly when he offers her a chocolate, but she moves away from him. After that he stays behind her, and slightly turned away,

perhaps he's trying to give her some space? Or perhaps he is uncomfortable in this situation. He has come to like Eliza, whether he realizes it or not, and being that close, yet separate, is new

to him.

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1.  In both films we see a woman being dominated by the male around the same era and she has a breaking point. Except in Gaslight he is plain evil. The use of shadows is similar.  

2.  Cukor supports the actors with lighting.  At first she's sad in the shadow then the light is on her face when she has the emotional outburst.  He seems unaware of her feelings and then tries to make it better.  Who says no to chocolate? Cukor puts them both in the same frame making their dialogue flow smoothly without cuts.

3.  There is enough trust for her to speak up and he responds by showing that he cares and tries to make it better.  

 

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Eliza is a complicated, nuanced character.  She was born into poverty and has spent her life as a common flower girl with little if any education, as her idiolect and mannerisms attest to.  The beginning of the movie establishes she's clever, self reliant, self deprecating, and often naive.  Like many people in her class, she's wary of authority and often combative when she feels someone is trying to hold her down.  We also learn she has a code of conduct that she won't ignore, even for a chance to become "a lady in a flower shop."  She's also ambitious and isn't afraid to seize the opportunity to improve her station in life.  At the same time, she's vulnerable and eager to please her teachers.  I say teachers because, while Higgins teaches her standard edited English and proper conduct, it's Pickering who teaches her confidence and shows her kindness.  He helps her believe in herself and her abilities:  "he treats a flower girl like a duchess."  She has an admirable work ethic--just when she thinks she's defeated, she rallies and perseveres--and she shows great courage and strength of character.  Even though she's frightened to death of going to the embassy ball, she carries off the charade magnificently. 

Yet, when the trio returns from the ball, the men take all the credit for her grueling work.  (While I expect nothing more from Higgins, I am always disappointed at Pickering's attitude.)  As a result, Eliza finds herself deeply hurt and angry.  As she tells Higgins, she could have taken physical abuse because she's had to deal with that all her life.  She'd have something to fight against.  But she's endured Henry's verbal and emotional abuse for months in order to please him as much as to earn a shot at the new job; she can't and won't take the indifference as the men bask in the glow of HER triumph.  And she's frightened.  As a flower girl, she knew what was expected of her.  She no longer fits in with the old crowd.  Now Higgins and Pickering seem to be done with her, and she rightly feels even more vulnerable.

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  1. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) Similarity is the anger of both women.  Both have an anger while one is out of madness the other of being scared.
     
  2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.
    Both characters get their say.  She throws a fit because she does not understand her future and he not understanding why she is not happy that it is done.
  3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?  It is a love hate relationship and will learn that one can not live without.  Now is it love who knows?

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1. Gaslight is all about lighting - and one of my favorite Bergman movies. The focus is so often on the light on Bergman's face or the way things flicker - while here, the shadows are what's doing the talking. Where Bergman was lit for her emotional moments, Hepburn is shadowed. Opposing effects from the same idea.

2. As Hepburn goes back and forth between tears and rage, Harrison remains uncomfortably calm and cold, distant as her emotions tumult. Cuckor sets up the scene to show just how drastic their differences are, and it makes for a harsh and well done scene.

3. Eliza and Higgins are enhanced through their emotions. Eliza is often full frame, with much of her emotional outbursts being the direct focus. Higgins, however, slides in and out with the same disinterest he's showing Eliza. Cuckor creates a dominant (Higgins) bearing over with cool disdain, while the victim (Eliza) has no recourse to actually cause him the harm he's caused her.

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1. This particular musical had a deeper meaning than most and the real meaning of the pain of discovering who you are is not clarified until towards the end of the film. I love all the colors, costumes and designs. Throughout the entire picture there is a wonderful motif made by the director. 

2. It is a wonderful scene full of emotions between the two. I am sure that Cukor coached Hepburn prior to the scene and I imagine it must have taken some mental preparation. Even Harrison expresses very deep and intensely revealing emotions. It is in this scene it is realized that not only does Eliza have feelings for the Professor but that the Professor discovers his inner feelings towards her. 

3. The relationship between Eliza and Higgins is very clearly of a friendly or fatherly type nature. It gives a better effect if she is friends with someone who is obviously older than the professor which makes him seem younger. I think that Higgins character greatly enhances the relationship between Eliza and the Professor.

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1. Cukor finds actors and actresses who give true and genuine emotion with ease.

2. Emotions are very high in this scene, she gets frustrated because he can not reciprocate the feelings she has for him. Cukor supports this with the real emotion she gave to the scene.

3. Eliza is very much in love with Higgins but he does not feel the same way. Cukor uses wide and dramatic shots to help the audience feel the emotion that Eliza feels. 

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1. Gaslight and My Fair Lady although very different stories do have similar themes. The leading men in both stories are very dominant, they know who they are and usually get what they want, the way they want it. The leading ladies of both movies are strong women who want to please these men. The difference between the movies is that in Gaslight Gregory has no feelings for Paula, he acts superior and doesn’t care for Paula. Gregory wants Paula to be upset and worry, think about what you did, why did you do that, what’s wrong with you. In My Fair Lady Higgins treats Eliza as a child. He acts superior to her, but at the same time he doesn’t want her to be upset. He explains that there is no reason for her to worry, cause no one has mistreated her and everything will look better in the morning after some rest.

2. When Higgins comes in on Eliza crying you don’t see him you just hear him. The camera is focused on Eliza crying and then getting angry when she hears Higgins. Only after she throws Higgins’ slipper at Higgins do you see him. (This way you are focused on Eliza.) Then the camera is on Higgins and his reaction to the slippers being thrown at him. Anytime Eliza or Higgins shows a different emotion or a reaction the camera focuses on them by them self. 

3. Higgins acts like he’s Eliza’s father. He offers her candy, tells her to go to bed and say her prayers. He cares what she thinks about how she’s treated. So he stands without sitting to show his authority. Eliza acts like a neglected wife. She threw Higgins slippers to give them to him and to let him know she’s angry. She cried into the chair where Higgins left his slippers (so the last place he sat). When she try’s to explain why she’s upset she says things like “I know you don’t care. I don’t matter to you. Not as much as those slippers.” She’s lower sitting on the floor, laying on the couch, cause she doesn’t feel as important. 

 

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Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) 

Common themes, the casts are not big like other musicals. In both films it is more centered on intimate relations. Although the themes are worlds apart, the direction of the actors are more developed/involved. Not big productions like broadway etc.
 

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.

This is a fabulous movie. Watching this film as a kid growing up, it was so realistic and I remember just being pulled in maybe even a mesmerizing experience. I love film, I love the escape etc. For me this is wonderfully directed, I related with Eliza, you watch her grow up it’s brilliant. 
 

What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?

They work beautifully together, he is able to fine tune their talents and weave them together in a way that keeps the viewer involved. The audience grows with the direction of the film. At the end, we all learn something and hopefully a better person beacause of the experience.  

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  1. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course)  In both movies there is an extremely controlling man and a submissive,  docile woman.  Also both movies were set in London, in pretty old houses and set in almost the same time frame. 
     
  2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.  It seems that while Liza is upset the camera is pretty focused on her. 
     
  3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?

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Explore any common themes and film making techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course).  

The set designs are similar - heavy, over-done and oppressive rooms with very little natural light. Both women are dominated by men who are manipulating their lives for their own purposes. Cukor plays with the shadows to underline the women are living in shadows.

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them. 

For the most part we see both actors sharing the scene so we can gauge their reactions to each other. She feels betrayed and used and he is clueless about why. He won the bet not her devotion to her lessons or her desire to better herself. There is no camaraderie here - maybe she thought there was (the Rain in Spain sequence). Her anger teeters between her Cockney responses (throwing the shoes) and the more genteel aura she has taken on. He does not see her as a person just an object part of an experiment that is over. She is a person between two worlds and cannot see herself in either one past the evening. Her life is at a crossroad and his goes on like nothing happened.

What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction? 

Eliza's anger has put them on an equal level not experienced by either before. We are seeing raw emotion for the first time from both.

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2. Eliza certainly runs through quite a gamut of emotions. First she is sobbing in despair then filled with rage when she sees the unfeeling Doolittle. She then she calms down, probably soothed by thecalming tone of his voice. But then she spirals back down into despair as she realizes that while she has learned to talk and behave, she has not really learned how to fit the  world, certainly not in her past one. Higgins on the other hand, only show emotion when she takes credit for winning the bet. He calls her an insect (!). He calms himself down and reverts to his usual condescending role and voice.

3.I have to say, every time I watched this film, I have never believed that this relationship would survive. I do not believe his epiphany at the end when he realizes that he cares for her. "I've grown accustomed to her face..." Once again, Eliza is reduced an object that he would like to keep in its place. It's natural for Eliza to have feelings for Higgins. It's called "transference" and happens in  some teacher/student and patient/doctor relationships. Eliza seemed to have some backbone in her at the beginning of the movie. I think she still has some. It would be an interesting take to revisit this "couple" a year after the events  of the movie. I predict Pickering and Higgins would be living together and Eliza would be a successful florist shop owner. Someone make a musical of that!

  • Haha 1

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1. I'd like to compare and contrast the themes and filmmaking techniques in this scene of My Fair Lady with those used in another 1960s musical, The Music Man. Both feature relationship dynamics that focus on power imbalance and lacking communication between the two and use the costuming to display feelings (Eliza feels highly visible on the outside but her real self is hidden, shown through the white dress covered by the bright cloak; Marian wears muted colors when she ignores Harold and wears a soft pink when she realizes she loves him) as well as using lighting as a method of displaying enlightenment/knowledge (Eliza turns the light off when she realizes how little she means to Henry even after all this time; in the scene where Harold and Marian trade lyrics from "Goodnight My Someone" and "76 Trombones" between each other and Marian is silhouetted above Harold while he stands exposed in the light). However, the films differ in mood, with the lighting in My Fair Lady appearing harsh and depressive, whereas even the darkest lighting in The Music Man still has a softness to it that helps carry a light tone throughout the musical; in the way the actors are staged in each scene: so many of the scenes in My Fair Lady, this one being an excellent example, showcase the power imbalance between Henry and Eliza as upsetting, veering towards menacing at times, whereas in The Music Man, while there is a power imbalance between the leads (mostly in regards to the knowledge they have of each other) it's always playful with neither ever gaining or maintaining the upper hand consistently. The filmmaking techniques in My Fair Lady constantly paint the relationship between Henry and Eliza as uncomfortable and, to me, gross; you're always aching for Eliza and her feelings towards the situation and Henry, who really doesn't ever come off as sympathetic, even near the end. The Music Man, however, splits our loyalties between Marian and Harold; we see her ache and steel herself against the world and even though Harold's dialogue says differently, we are always privy to his kind and helpful actions in a way he isn't, which makes his epiphany at the end all the more powerful. Watching Harold slowly fall in love with River City without realizing it is charming, but watching Henry realize he cares about Eliza really only feels like watching someone miss their favorite toy after it's taken away from him.

2. Something I find amazing about the emotional transitions in this scene is how Harrison has none; they all belong to Hepburn. Watching her hope extinguish like the light switching off, falling to the ground in desolation, fire back in unleashed anger (reaching out with the slippers and her hands to channel it), to collapsing on the couch in despair (where she then slips back to her real self), and then rising back up away from Harrison and putting the mask back on as she accepts hopelessness. The fact that Hepburn manages all these emotional transitions in such a short time frame and with only the few props and natural setting of the scene is stunning and a testament to her tremendous acting skill. 

3. The relationship between Eliza and Higgins is one of constant domination of him over her and Cukor enhances that through so many details in the directing - the emotional outpouring from Hepburn to Harrison's indifference, the way the scene is staged to constantly have Harrison towering over Hepburn in some way, the camera being closer to Hepburn and always keeping Harrison at a distance (or even having his back to the camera whereas we always see Hepburn's face and emotional state front and center). It's a haunting scene not just because of the dialogue and brilliant acting, but because everything is staged in such a way for our hearts to ache with Hepburn and her crisis and (in my case, at least) feel unmitigated anger at Harrison for his cruel indifference. 

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  1. Cukor uses wardrobe to make Eliza stand out more and appear out of place with the rest of the scenery.  Her clothes are very dramatic and lavish.
  2.  Lisa's realization that Higgins won his bet and now has no use for her is portrayed very dramatically and shocks the audience with her loud cries.  Cukor supports this by having Higgins just as surprised as we are, and Does not have any music or background noise to make the effect even more dramatic.
  3.  The relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction is that each are so absorbed in their thoughts that they are not even realizing how the other feels or thinks.  Eliza is thinking one way, and Higgins is completely lost in thinking the other.

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Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.
What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?

The whole scene starts with their return from the ball, Eliza’s success has Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering patting themselves on the back and heaving sighs of relief that it’s all over, without giving Eliza the least consideration. After they retire she moves mechanically to turn out the light, the camera follows her as she moves like a somnambulist across the room where she drops to a chair.  You see her emotions bubble to the surface, a sob tears from her throat and she falls to her knees against a chaise lounge pounding her fist in frustration.
Higgins returns to the room in search of his slippers, which Eliza hurls at him. 

Higgins a bachelor only knows how to treat a woman as a servant or an experimental lab rat so to speak.  He’s master and commander of his domicile and only is comfortable with male relationships therefore he has no idea how to acknowledge or validate Eliza’s feelings and concerns.  He’s so clueless he attributes her emotional outburst to the strain of the day (today a clueless male might say it was PMS LOL) and then tries to appease her with chocolates and blithely suggests she go to bed have a good cry, say her prayers and sleep it all off.
As Higgins lamely asks if she considers herself to have been mistreated, you can hear Eliza’s frustration and weary resignation in her barely audible “No”.  In this moment when she’s come to the realization she can’t simply move on nor can she go back to her old lifestyle, she gives a forlorn barely perceptible shake of her head; it’s no use trying to explain as he’ll never understand because he’s too self-absorbed. 
Rex Harrison makes some excellent choices, note his  facial expressions and tone of voice he is bemused and flustered, smoothing and adjusting his jacket indignantly, then mollifying, offering the dish of chocolates, but never apologetic.
Cukor places Higgins in a posture of domineering superiority by first having Eliza on her knees sobbing against the chaise lounge and then again when Eliza flies at him in high dungeon she is forced down on the couch and again sobs into a pillow.  Throughout the scene both are mainly kept in medium shot, with an occasional close up in moments of emotional transition.

Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight.

Both films feature story lines in which the male characters are condescending chauvinists who manipulate or control a woman: Higgins to win a bet and prove a point to a colleague, and Gregory to eliminate his wife so he can get his hands on hidden jewels.  In the end the women are able to turn the tables and assert themselves.

Both films are also set in similar time periods with lush sets with extravagant furnishings and characters beautifully costumed. 

Cukor obviously had a particular fondness for beautiful costuming as evident by the glamorous six minute fashion show from 1939's "The Women", which featured Adrian's most outré designs.

Image result for the women 1939 images

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  1. Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) 
    • In Question 3 I mention how the distance between Higgins and Eliza is all encompassing with their state of minds, their social status, and also physically.  The filmmaking techniques help create this distance with the angles at which they shoot, giving a larger sense of distance.  Similarly, I remember the Daily Dose from Take Me Out to the Ball Game in which Sinatra is trying to create distance from Betty Garrett, however that scene is driven more in comedy and through the cartoon like music, where My Fair Lady is driven by deep rooted emotions. 
       
  2. Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.
    • When Eliza has her low moments of self doubt, she physically also tends to be low, either on the ground, laying on the couch, or simply with her head down and body slouched over.  It's also in these moments that she seems to have the least amount of light on her, further enhancing her lowness.  When she has bouts of anger towards the situation, she is standing tall and on the same level has Higgings, physically and with lighting.  This enhances Eliza's feelings of strength, and doubt.
       
  3. What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?
    • The direction here almost seems like a cat and mouse game, in which the cat doesn't quite seem to get to the mouse.  Higgins (the cat) spends the scene trying to calm down Eliza, and in those moments he gets closer to her to speak to her, but Eliza (the mouse) is always just out of reach and she turns away, and even walks further away.   The sense of cat and mouse would not be as strong if the shot at the end was taken from the left side, making Higgins and Eliza appear on the same plane.  Here, it is show from this angle to show the distance Eliza is making from Higgins as she is close to the camera, and Higgins seems quite far away.  The distance isn't just physical, but also in a state of being, and how she feels socio-economically.

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1.  Dear goddess, the whole relationship between Higgins and Eliza is characterized by gaslighting. Eliza only comes to Higgins because he placed the notion in her head that she couldn't possibly understand her own reality. In the clip, Higgins completely disregards Eliza's genuine fear and anger over what she knows is true, that she was not a person with feelings left to suffer the consequences of Higgins interjection, but is only a game piece. Higgins abruptly initiates a self-righteous, self-important, blameless perspective that brings her known truth into doubt. This gaslighting is precisely why the dialogue is circular, difficult to follow. The viewer becomes a participant to the gaslighting effect as the viewer struggles to decipher the characters' words. That is, the viewer doesn't even know what is true as s/he is being tossed back and forth between the dialogue of Eliza and Higgins.

2.  I do understand that Eliza disappears from the scene into the shadows as Pickering and Higgins congratulate each other. Eliza becomes part of the wallpaper, part of the bits and pieces and bric-a-brac of the room. It is only reasonable that to be seen and heard Eliza had to create an explosion. Yet, Higgins, a master of the gaslight, immediately sets about to place the bric-a-brac (i.e., Eliza) back in its place...Eliza is prostrate on the couch, blending into the future, a throw pillow. When Eliza rises, she walks to a spot where she is half in/ half out of a shadow -- where does she fit, exactly?

3.   Yes, Cukor used the long shooting sequences that were rather circular in movement, the elaborately decorated room, and lighting to highlight the gas lighting. I never noticed such detail before. Cukor's direction enhanced the psychological underpinnings in the relationship between the characters.

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1.     Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) 

Cukor uses lavish settings for both films. Dominant male images are portrayed in both. . Things people will endure for love or money is an underlying theme.. How others can take advantage of an individual is clear. Outside influences often make a huge difference in potentially/seemingly rough situations (ie: Colonel Pickering and the young boy/now a man who knew the grandmother in gaslight)

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.

Cukor focuses in on the overwhelming emotional outbursts of the women in both films …and especially in this clip…the insanity one can temporarily experience when the mind is taxed is clearly shown. Insanity= exasperation, frustration, etc.

Higgins and Doolittle both are given opportunity to show “their side” of what is happening in the story.

2.     What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction

Higgins has come a long way from his first encounters with Eliza even though he still lacks understanding as to WHY she is upset his responses and reactions still seem gentler than before. Eliza has come a long way from her first encounters with Higgins. She acknowledges that SHE is the point of it all and wants recognition for her major accomplishments. Cukor set the stage perfectly for us to see the growth of the individuals.

 

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Explore any common themes and filmmaking techniques in a very different movie also directed by George Cukor, Gaslight. (If you are not familiar with Gaslight, compare and contrast Cukor's theme in this scene and his techniques with another musical you have seen during this course) 

  • I haven't seen Gaslight.  I like the use of light and shadow here.  It reminds me of the use of light and shadow in Meet Me in St. Louis.  In St. Louis, Judy used the lights as a way to woo the neighbor by helping her turn off the lights.  As each light was turned off, she was hoping he would be "turned on" enough to kiss her.  In My Fair Lady, the use of shadows and light show that Eliza is torn between who she really is and who she is made up to be.  When she breaks down and cries, it is in the light.  As if to say, we are shedding light on who this character really is.  Both pictures really show how light can be used effectively.  

Note the emotional transition moments in this scene, how the actors portray them, and how Cukor supports them.

  • I like that he has a wide angle on the camera, so they they can move about with the camera still being focused on the characters.  

What do you notice about the relationship between Eliza and Higgins that seems enhanced by Cukor’s direction?

  • Higgins is trying to comfort her, while she is realizing that it was all for show and not really the way her life is.  He is trying to be her voice of reason, while she deals with her reality.  She has been exposed to the high society crowd and has learned all of these things, but when she goes back to her "world" it will be different and I think she has realized it.  She will miss what could have been.  

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1. Thematically, the biggest connection between the events of this scene in My Fair Lady and the film, Gaslight, is the interaction between the male and female lead characters. The term, "gaslighting", is defined as a manipulation or delegitimization of another person's feelings towards a situation, to the point where their own sanity is questioned. The latter film is the very namesake of this phenomenon. Eliza feels demeaned beyond repair at the discovery that her transformation was merely the product of a bet between Higgins and Pickering, and that the former gentleman never truly valued her as a person due to her lower social status. She is rightfully angry at Higgins and blames him for stripping her of whatever agency she had over her own future. In the world in which they inhabit, in which women have very little power that isn't dependent on their relationship with a man, while she is now above the need to sell flowers, she has still not gained any other skills that could improve her station beyond "selling herself", and thus feels trapped. Instead of acknowledging his part in putting her in this situation, Higgins only condescendingly dismisses her concerns and refuses to talk about the matter with her until she goes back to being docile and obedient, as if she were a household pet and not a person with feelings. 

 

2/3. Cukor does an excellent job at focusing the camera's attention on Eliza and her emotional transitions in the scene. We are meant to sympathize with her, and to understand just how serious and detrimental her predicament is at this time, historically. She goes from being utterly devastated at Higgins' betrayal, sobbing by herself, to unbridled rage at his nonchalance towards her feelings, to being twisted into submission by Higgins' definition of "abuse" (because, you know, psychological torture and manipulation is totally fine when you're swimming in jewels, pretty dresses, and chocolate :angry:), to her heartbreaking utterance of wishing she were dead. Higgins is kept in the background, behind her, as a voice whispering in her ear trying to insidiously convince her that her feelings are without merit. 

 

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1. The themes of the two movies are similar in that both men are very controlling and manipulative. The professor wants to do an experiment with Eliza and is able to convince her that it will benefit her greatly. In Gaslight, the husband is constantly telling Bergman what to do and how to act, making her feel like she is losing her mind.

The lighting in both movies helps portray the mood of the leading women. In Gaslight, the close-ups of Bergman and the changing light intensity make her and the audience question her sanity. In My Fair Lady, the lighting shows the audience how miserable Eliza is at pretending to be someone she's not and what her future will be, now that she has changed.

2. Hepburn allows part of her true self to come back, when she throws the slippers at the professor and starts yelling at him. She mostly maintains her poise and speech, but he still reprimands her when she slips up. Her facial features portray fear and anxiety along with her mannerisms. The professor is calm and unbothered by her actions. He tried to placate her with chocolate and the empty promise that sleep will make things better in the morning, instead of giving her concrete examples of what her life will be now. Cukor uses a full screen so we can both of their reactions at the same time, how they feed off of each other's emotions and gestures.

3.  By seeing both of their reactions at the same time, we can tell that she is conflicted. She still wants his steven though the bet has been won, but she resents him for putting her future into uncertainty. She tries to get some emotion from him and gets none. He stays stoic and unmoved by her tantrum. His position has not been changed and so her feels no obligation to her.

 

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1. In both movies the actors really play into the emotion of the scenes really well, also in both movies the lighting really helps set their tone.

2. The actors in the scene play the emotions really well, almost like they are actually feeling the emotions as they act it out.

3. Cukor’s direction really makes the emotion in the relation that these two characters have and make it jump out at you and feel very real.  

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23 hours ago, Miss Kij said:

." Once again, Eliza is reduced an object that he would like to keep in its place. It's natural for Eliza to have feelings for Higgins. It's called "transference" and happens in  some teacher/student and patient/doctor relationships. Eliza seemed to have some backbone in her at the beginning of the movie. I think she still has some. It would be an interesting take to revisit this "couple" a year after the events  of the movie. I predict Pickering and Higgins would be living together and Eliza would be a successful florist shop owner. Someone make a musical of that!

The only thing I have to add to this discussion is about the ending of My Fair Lady.  GBS hated the popular ending added to his place "Pygmalion," and railed against a romantic "happy" ending.  He would have hated the ending of My Fair Lady.  As do I.

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  1. I never seen Gaslight, but I do recall Cukor’s other film A Star is Born which I’ve seen. Both films have similar themes of a man helping a lady become big, yet what contrast is that ASiB has Norman losing his fame slowly, but in MFL, Higgins is still his own self just to happy accompanied by Eliza now a fully grown lady than a street lady. The camera angles are more wide to let us see their conversations without the close up of the highlights of their emotions. A Star is Born and My Fair Lady have naturalistic lighting without anything fancy to light up the room in the night.
     
  2. Eliza seems upset now that she went through the transformation phase despite being glad to be out of the poverty environement. The way the scene is shot and the lighting of her emotions transitioning naturally shows some breathing room and focus. Even Higgins doesn’t seem to understand her concerns of what to do with her rich personality as they banter on.
     
  3. Eliza shows some affection towards him and wishes he returns hers. But he remains her teacher and usually brushes off her concerns as just short-term subjective petty complaints to move on from as any mistake and concerns are okay to solve. The body language showcases superiority in which Eliza is crutch a bit and slumps on the red long chair to let out her feelings. While Higgins still standing up refined and stern. Plus the way Eliza tries to claw him and standing taller than him, but pushes her arms to the chair. The way Higgins describe Eliza as creature or insect adds to him treating her like a guinea pig.

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Common themes in both Gaslight and My Fair Lady both ladies are being manipulated by the dominant male for their own interest, completely oblivious to the pain or impact it may have on the lady. Both men behaving in condescending manners at the emotional state of the lady, which they are directly responsible for. The lighting reflecting mood of the scene. Eliza is tormented by emotions, and Paula is tormented as her husband tries to convince her she is insane. Both lost their identity and become dependent on the men.

Cukor allows us to connect with Eliza as the actors are supported within the scene Giving us the time to empathize with her emotionally and with he use of lighting of the set.

The time of Higgin’s experiment/bet is up. He is cold and indifferent to what it means for her. Eliza is desperately trying to evoke emotion from him and angrily shows her pain. He responds coldly with chocolates and has no vested sense of his part in her fit of anger and tears, and tells her to go to bed and sleep it off as if it is only a temporary state she is found to be in.

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