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Our Fair Julie or Our Fair Audrey?


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The musical "My Fair Lady" is a very controversial film, because some people think that Julie Andrews should have been Eliza Doolittle (because she immortalized the role on stage). But other people are glad that Audrey Hepburn got the role. What do you think? Personally, I think it might have been easier for them if they had used Julie Andrews because they wouldn't have had to get someone else to sing the songs, as they had to do for Audrey. Now, I'm a big fan of Audrey's, but I still think Julie could have done a little bit better.

 

Eliza

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Actually, that's not true, because principal photography was completed on Mary Poppins, prior to the start of My Fair Lady. Julie would not have been able to do The Americanization of Emily or The Sound of Music, had she done My Fair Lady. At least on the schedules they shot on. I'm glad she's not in My Fair Lady. It's a mediocre film version of a spectacular stage play. It's very staid and dull in its staging, and scope. They never even open-up the action, for the medium of film. Besides, she had already done that role. What I wish, was the MFL had a different producer and director, who would have taken it and made a phenomenal film. Which it should have been.

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Well, it wasn't so much that it was finished, just the principal photography. Because it had so many special effects and animation, the principal photography was done, first, then the rest was added. Both films were finished for release, around the same time, give or take a couple of months.

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How about our fair Wendy? :)

 

I think the original Pygmalion is one of the best British films of the 30's, and one which a lot of people have forgotten over time. Wendy Hiller was a terrific Eliza Doolittle, and Leslie Howard's still my favorite Professor Higgins (not that Rex Harrison was bad in the part).

 

So even though it's not a musical, it's still one great adaptation of the same source material that gave birth to My Fair Lady

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Yes, but my dear, to compare Rex Harrison with Leslie Howard, is like comparing apples and oranges---Case in point---Compare the line to Liza from Higgins 'We'll have none of your slum-prudery here," , first by Mr. Howard then by Mr. Harrison ---Mr. Howard throws the line away

while Mr. Harrison says the line slowly and deliberetly, and it drips with sarcasm~

 

:

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Well, thistle, sometimes actors playing the same part have to be compared, whether or not the comparison is like apples and oranges. And in all fairness, I will admit that I am not entirely objective in making a comparison, as I've always found Leslie Howard to be infinitely more charming than Rex Harrison. Although, I'll admit Rex could really put some bite into those lines.

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The only movie I've seen him in is Gone With The Wind.

 

 

You have missed A LOT!!!!! That may be his least-representative role, and certainly one I don't care for. "Petrified Forest," "Pygmalion," "The Stand-In" (early Bogart) - just to start.

 

Bill

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  • 1 month later...

I'm with you, johnm. What the movie version of "My Fair Lady" needed was not a different leading lady, but rather a different director to open it up and make it cinematic. I'm not much of a Julie Andrews fan. She's right for "The Sound of Music", I guess. But I've never sympathized with the grumbling about her not being cast in the film version of "Camelot". I think Vanessa Redgrave made a marvelous Guinevere. Have you listened to the Broadway cast album of "Camelot" lately? Yes, Julie hits all the notes properly but she races through the score at a mile a minute, injecting precious little nuance or personality into the songs. Redgrave's no trained singer, but she lingers over the lyrics, giving full, rich readings. A great actress. And - aside from that - was she ever more beautiful?

 

P.S. Have you seen the clip of Hepburn doing her own singing for "Wouldn't It Be Loverly"?

It's on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HOpYKnbXLs

and also, I believe, a bonus feature on the "My Fair Lady" DVD. I found her vocals charming - a lovely extension of her own unique personality. I'd have kept them.

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Nuance, shmuance. Vanessa Redgrave was dead weight throughout CAMELOT - as much to blame for the movie's failure as Joshua Logan's leaden direction and Franco Nero's klutzy accent. Alan Jay Lerner tailored Guenevere specifically for Julie Andrews, presenting the young queen as a zesty, perky, full-of-life young maiden. Andrews delivered upbeat songs like "The Lusty Month of May", "Then You May Take Me To The Fair", and "What Do The Simple Folk Do?'' with wit, spirit,winsomeness, and brilliant vocal deftness. Redgrave, having no legitimacy as a singer, tried for sly sensuality, but merely turned what should have been joyous, exuberant songs into languid dirges.

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There aren't enough words in the English language (or any other, for that matter) than would convince me that Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn were better than Julie Andrews. I saw Julie Andrews in both My Fair Lady and Camelot, and she was nothing less than superb, in both. Camelot was the best cast I ever saw, in anything, including every show and motion picture I've ever seen. I've also seen Vanessa Redgrave and Audrey Hepburn, and while I detest Hepburn as Eliza, I like Redgrave's take on the character. I just don't think she, or anyone else in the cast, possess any musicality. And, Logan, imo, is one of the worst directors who ever lived. Particularly for musicals! Had Julie agreed to do the role, Logan would not have been the director.

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I think Jack Warner may have still had it in for JA, even after she had resoundingly proven her box office clout - to the extent that Logan, not she, would have decided on her participation in CAMEOT. I base this on the fact that Logan was quoted as sneering in defense of his choice of Redgrave, "Can you imagine armies fighting over Julie Andrews?"

 

Man, was HE out perpetually out to lunch.

 

One of the movie's few redeeming qualities, in my estimation, was Richard Harris's smoothly and tenderly sung "How To Handle A Woman". I think he actually had a more mellifluous sounding voice than the more stentorian Richard Burton, who tended to bark his lines with Hamlet-like intensity. But what was with Harris's eye shadow?. Another ingenious Logan touch, no doubt.

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Jack Warner so wanted Julie Andrews in Camelot, that she was offered the role, with the highest salary ever offered to a person up to that time, percentage points, and director approval. She declined, but not until Richard Burton declined, as well. All a matter of record and easily found, over at Warner's. Besides, I remember when it all took place, and Julie have even recounted the story.

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Having seen Camelot in theaters, I think whatever was wrong with this production wasn't something that was completely due to any casting decision. I don't know what went wrong with it, but I can't see any cast having made a very big difference.

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