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Is it just me or does Gaston’s Soliliquy from Gigi sound exactly like I’ve Grown Accustom to Her Face from My Fair Lady?  I guess Lerner and Loewe recycled tunes.  Are there any other songs folks have found a strong similarity between musicals?

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Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals are all much alike... primary love story, secondary love story, usually some sort of ballet or dream sequence, drama that often reflects on social issues.  Songwriters often seem to work to a pattern, especially when it works.  Probably makes it easier to know where you're going with it, and that the audience is going to like it.  Andrew Lloyd Webber did occasionally... writing musicals like 'Joseph', 'Cats' and 'Starlight Express' to a wide variety of different styles of songs: rock, country, jazz, opera and so on.  But then he did some really innovative things too... 'Evita' and 'Phantom of the Opera', as well as 'Cats' and 'Starlight Express' (a musical about trains done by performers on roller skates, on tracks that ran all around the theatre.  It was bizarre... looked like roller derby!)  Lloyd Webber was a genius. 

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Gigi is clearly a riff on My Fair Lady.  Both tell a story of molding a woman into the form that society expects of her, and the woman who rises above it.  I believe that in his autobiography, Lerner says it was deliberate to cash in on the popularity of My Fair Lady.

Songwriters recycle songs all the time.  Rodgers and Hart had four versions of "Blue Moon" in different shows and films before it became a hit.  And Joshua Logan tells the story of attending the opening of The King and I and recognizing a song ("Getting to Know You") that had been dropped from South Pacific in favor of "Younger than Springtime".  It had different lyrics in South Pacific, but R&H felt the melody was not appropriate for a GI after a night of rapture.  "My Girl Back Home" was cut from the stage version of South Pacific and put into the film.  Similarly "Loneliness of Evening" was cut from the stage version, the lyrics were put into the film in the form of a letter that Lt. Cable writes, and the song eventually found its way into the 1960's version of Cinderella.

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MGM literally asked Lerner and Loewe to write them a new movie musical just like My Fair Lady. MFL was not available to be filmed until after the Broadway show closed and they didn’t want to wait several years. In the end, Warner Bros bought the film rights to MFL. The amazing thing is that even though Gigi was “made to order”, it turned very well and was a huge hit. 

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19 hours ago, MarkH said:

Just for fun: What if MGM hadn’t had to wait for the rights to My Fair Lady? What would a 1958 MGM MFL directed by Vincente Minnelli have been like?

I just hope it wouldn't have had Judy Garland (then 36) as Eliza.  Other Eliza possibles for that era?    Besides Julie Andrews, then 23, who did stage show. 

This part needed someone plucky and spirited.   I could see Natalie Wood (then 20), Shirley Maclaine (24), Shirley Jones (24), or Debbie Reynolds (26).  Possibly Shirley Temple (30),  or Jane Powell (29).  (Audrey Hepburn was 29)   Probably too old: Doris Day (38), Betty Hutton (37), or Deborah Kerr (37).  Grace Kelly (29) was by then married to Prince Rainier, wasn't a singer, and who would have believed her as a cockney anyway. 

Thank goodness June Allyson was way too old.... at 39.  

I doubt they'd have taken anyone from the stage, but Barbara Cook (31) would have been good. 

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I must confess that I have never been a fan of Audrey Hepburn and find her irritating as Eliza. Actually, the whole movie suffers by comparison to the Broadway original with Julie Andrews as Eliza. Though I was too young to have seen the play, I grew up with the Broadway soundtrack recording. The way Andrews sings the song is the way I know them; the songs in the movie version don't quite sound right. I realize I can't blame Hepburn for this, as her "singing" is voiced-over. I just can't make it through this film without thinking how much better it would have been with Julie Andrews. The only other one who might pull it off would be Shirley Jones. Perhaps I will eventually overcome my prejudice and learn to enjoy this film, but it hasn't happened yet. 

      While repeated viewings of "My Fair Lady" have not changed my opinion, repeated viewings of "Gigi" have resulted in a growing appreciation of this film. I always enjoyed Maurice Chavalier in his sunset years and have grown to like Leslie Caron. Chevalier's duet with Hermione Gingold, "I remember it Well," is a classic, and "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" has a clever charm all its own. There have been several comments about this song being "creepy and inappropriate" for our enlightened (read: hypersensitive) age. How odd that after all the calls for personal authenticity and sexual liberation during the last fifty years, our age should become so collectively prudish and puritanical. Musing on the fact that little girls mature is hardly some form of sexual perversion. Could it be that the "conservative and conventional" fifties were more open and honest about nature and life than we are?

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