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PeasmBeans

My Fair Lady Question

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Hello,

 

We are great fans of My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn as well as Jeremy Brett fans but, new to the TCM world. I understand that Audrey Hepburn does not sing. Who sings the part of Eliza? Does anyone know is that really Jeremy Brett singing "On the Street Where You Live?"

Thanks!

 

Pea'mBeans

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WELCOME PB - I have three soundtrack albums

 

1./ My Fair Lady

2./ The King And I

3./ West Side Story

 

and guess what ALL THREE FEMALE LEADS ARE SUNG BY*MARNIE NIXON*

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True, Marni Nixon was the singing voice of Natalie Wood in "West Side Story", Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady" and she sang for Deborah Kerr in now just "The King and I" but in "An Affair to Remember". In "The Sound of Music" she can be seen and heard singing "How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria' as she is Sister Sophia.....which is easy to spot as she is the young pretty nun on the cobblestone steps. She also had sung parts of animals in the animated parts of "Mary Poppins".

I'm a big fan of both "My Fair Lady" and Audrey Hepburn. Who can forget her incredible performances in "Roman Holiday", "Sabrina", "The Children's Hour", "Wait Until Dark", "Charade", "Breakfast at Tiffany's" etc. Now whenever I sit back and look at "My Fair Lady" the more I think it was a mistake not to have Julie Andrews play the part. She would have been simply terriffic and if for some reason Jack Warner was concerned about box office at least use someone that can sing. Marni Nixon, Sally Ann Howes, it makes no sense to me why a non-singer was used.

Imagine finding out that Jeanette MacDonald or Nelson Eddy were dubbed....or Mario Lanza or Kathryn Grayson, what a disappointment.

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I still enjoy My Fair Lady immensely even though I know that neither Audrey or Jeremy did any of their own singing. Regardless, Audrey is Audrey - luminous, beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. She is a lady through and through and that sells the film even when her voice cannot. Incidentally, the original DVD release included Audrey's vocal arrangements as an extra. She did attempt to sing 'Show Me' and 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly?' While I can appreciate her efforts they really did not measure up.

 

Yes, Julie Andrews would have been wonderful as she had been on the stage. But she was an unknown quantity at the time and Jack Warner had a lot of money wrapped up in the film. He needed a 'name' and that name was Audrey Hepburn. The film still works for me and Marnie Nixon is nothing short of astounding. She is a chameleon of song styles. She sounds like Deborah Kerr speaks in The King and I. She manages a solid cockney accent for My Fair Lady and she's wonderful at doing Brooklyn for Natalie Wood in West Side Story.

 

Incidentally, (RE: Kathryn Grayson) if you're a fan of Anchors Aweigh (as I am) Grayson doesn't hit the high 'C' not at the end of 'The Heart of a Lonely Poet'. That note was later dubbed in for her by a contract singer at MGM. Oh well, we all need a little help now and then!

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It was actually Marnie Nixon and Julie Andrews doing the singing parts. Sometimes, especially in the song, "show me," while she is singing to her admirer on the street as he is singing to her and she says "words, words, words, I'm so sick of words," you can actually clearly hear Julie Andrews singing that part very well. It makes sense for Julie to do the singing in several parts, as she did perform and play Eliza on stage.

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> {quote:title=Ambers wrote:}{quote}It was actually Marnie Nixon and Julie Andrews doing the singing parts. Sometimes, especially in the song, "show me," while she is singing to her admirer on the street as he is singing to her and she says "words, words, words, I'm so sick of words," you can actually clearly hear Julie Andrews singing that part very well. It makes sense for Julie to do the singing in several parts, as she did perform and play Eliza on stage.

Julie Andrews in NOT singing in the film MY FAIR LADY. Not a single note. Audrey Hepburn and, mostly, Marni Nixon do all the singing.

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Audrey sings much of "Just You Wait". Marni comes in at "One day I'll be famous..." Also, it's Audrey's voice at the start of "I Could Have Danced All Night", "Bed, bed I couldn't go to bed. Sleep, Sleep..."

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{font:Arial}As a point of interest, Audrey Hepburn’s actual (full) singing voice can be heard on two tracks of the Special Edition home video version. These are the two songs: “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” She had technically recorded most of the songs to be later dubbed. Naturally, Audrey wanted to think that she could give her own or different sort of interpretation to the songs, pulling in her obvious “star-power” in order to achieve an authenticity to the whole idea of being in a musical. She had already done one successful film musical in 1957, “Funny Face,” allowing her to actually sing. However, it was all too evident that for “My Fair Lady,” she never had the training or singing range necessary to achieve adequate musical results.{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}This issue of the casting of the motion picture has been for a very long time, one of the most debated aspects over the TCM Forums. There’s been for sometime, a lot of finger pointing here and there as to who should take the blame or why wasn’t Julie cast in the role she so skillfully created for the stage. Well, I think after all these years one of the main reasons that usually doesn’t get mentioned pertains to Jack L. Warner desperately wanting Cary Grant in the role of “Professor Higgins.” Like it or not, agree or not, had Jack been able to get {font}{font:Arial}Cary{font}{font:Arial}, Julie would have been in, lock-stock-and-barrel. When he couldn’t get {font}{font:Arial}Cary{font}{font:Arial}, he became rather bitter over the issue. At any cost, he always wanted a big “male lead” star, along with the female lead. In a frustrated move, he then had to turn to a big female lead star, in order to quell this dilemma that while it was all happening, the backlash over the casting was already underway! This turn of events, opened the door for Rex Harrison to be cast, especially when {font}{font:Arial}Cary{font}{font:Arial} made it publicly known, he wanted Rex in the movie!{font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}Julie may have been well known enough, but Jack was always looking at the bigger picture of how things might turn out in the hope of a block buster response at the box-office. Then, if not the casting of Cary, there came another issue seldom mentioned that had to do with negotiations over the contract. By that time, career events meant Julie should get top billing over Rex Harrison, based upon her then highly publicized status from both television and records; aside from the stage. Although, Rex was somewhat known to the general movie going public, he wasn't any more block-buster material than Julie was to be considered for a major, *world-wide* distributed film. This problem was simple enough to figure in “movie terms” or how things were done in Hollywood, in that Jack and the board at Warner’s felt Julie had never been in a major film; especially one about to be the most expensive musical undertaking in Hollywood at a whopping 17 million dollar cost. At the time, the risks seem too great, even while Julie began to negotiate with Walt Disney to be in “Mary Poppins.” {font}

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{font:Arial}Of course, I have come to realize that Jack made a bad gamble in not allowing Julie her rightful place to be in the motion picture version. Despite the success of “My Fair Lady,” there would always be this terrible and annoying historical backlash of what happened with the casting. Audrey would be the one to suffer the most, while Rex Harrison at least gained positive recognition for his efforts in recreating his role from the stage to film. Even after the film won the Academy Award, as the years followed, it was a situation that Jack never fully recovered from. Meanwhile, Julie did have the “last laugh” becoming the biggest box-office sensation of the entire decade. Years later, when the tension and “bad blood” between Jack and Julie settled down, he remarked to her, “You know, I should really get credit with making you a big motion picture star! – You know what I mean?” Julie replied, “Yes, I would be in agreement with you – Sometimes, the lack of compromise leads to success, one way or another.” B-) {font}

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There was never any doubting that Audrey would be billed first or the main star of "My Fair Lady." Once she was signed on, this pretty much meant Warner's was banking on her "star power," while they now had to realize, a reasonably good male lead would suffice. There was a desperation to feel, none of the biggest other possible names at that time, could have had as big a draw as Cary Grant, had he agreed to be in the movie. Therefore, looking at the issue from Audrey's world-wide status, other than Cary, there was never anyone else the stuido would have felt be billed over her. This issue is understandable from the marketing point that was in the end, the cause to all the fuss and confusion to select the right cast. Once finally selected to revive his original stage role for the movie, Rex Harrison wasn't anything near a big, box-office draw. He was just a respected actor, known somewhat to the general movie going public. Although, he had received top-billing during the stage run of the musical, by the time of the movie, Julie had all but eclipsed him! At the time, Warner's was also looking at other, popular British actors, such as James Mason, Laurence Olivier, Dirk Bograde, David Niven, Peter O'Toole, besides Richard Burton, who had worked with Julie in the musical "Camelot" and Alec Guinness, who had appeared opposite Julie in a London staged production of "My Fair Lady."

 

The only way Julie could have possibly been considered was what I've always referred to as "The Cary Factor." Once Cary was out, so was Julie, all based upon a need to feel safe and adequate to the point of givng the production as much big hype as possible. To consider Julie and no big enough male star to satisfy the studio, there wasn't enough of what Jack Warner felt would be the necessary hype to excite the production from a technical standpoint of a guaranteed, good box-office response. This may all sound a bit ludicrous, but it was for Warner's, all about the money being spent to not only promote the movie, but give it as much star power as possible. I won't debate the issue of Julie's stardom during this time that was viable and was a matter that shouldn't have been overlooked. It's just that when compared to other, known motion picture box-office draws, it was then a matter of an assured payoff.

 

In a last, desperate attempt to perhaps quell the amounting criticism surrounding Jack Warner's handling of the casting, he made what was an astonishing move. He offered the role of "Alfred P. Doolittle" to none other than the immortal James Cagney! The legendary super-star Cagney had been retired from motion pictures for two years, when Jack called him to consider what was a supporting role. However, Jack upped the ante by offering Cagney what would have been the highest amount of money to a supporting player at ONE MILLION DOLLARS!! Most likely, Cagney would have been billed as "guest star" or be given a special seperate billing as has been the case in other films, when a big star takes on a secondary role. I've always felt that had Jimmy Cagney accepted the offer, this might have just opened the door of consideration for Julie and then have her reunited with Rex. Certainly, Cagney's return to motion pictures would have added a lot of the hype Jack and the studio front-office wanted to bank on. Jack even offered Jimmy 10 percent of the box-office receipts, but like Cary, he flatly refused what would have been a highly publicized deal. The difficuity in trying to make sense out of what should have been a clear cut deal to have Julie with Rex revive their roles from stage to film was simply made a victim of both Hollywood politics and economics.

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> {quote:title=finance you asked:

> }{quote}Did Cagney ever do a British accent (or any accent, for that matter)? I assume it would have been expected.

Well, not exactly . . . As far as I can remember, he did play an Irish Commandant of the 1921, Irish Rebellion in the 1959 movie "Shake Hands with The Devil." His performance in the 1935 version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," doesn't really count as a bona fide sort of English accent; at times, it might sound like he's trying, but for the most part, it's the same old recognizable, New York City, Irish-American voice the multitude of fans have come to love. There was another film, in which Jimmy was a cab driver and spoke Yiddish! As fate would have it, Jimmy was for the 1938 film release, assigned to play "Robin Hood." When he refused, the studio placed him on suspension, thus allowing Errol Flynn to have a big opportunity towards his own movie star immortality. It's doubtful that Jimmy would have even tried to come off with a British accent had he been in "Robin Hood." One of the main reasons for his bowing out of the project was a sense that he wasn't right for the role. I think it was one of the wisest decisions of his long distinguished career. Certainly, had he accepted the supporting role in "My Fair Lady," this would have brought him a whole new challenge to his acting abilities. And, there could be no doubt that Jimmy would have danced on screen, probably for the last time. This issue of Jimmy's super stardom and he hadn't been in a musical for the longest time is what prompted Jack Warner and the studio front office to get him into "My Fair Lady." Naturally, his refusing to take the role and all the money, meant the originator of the role on stage, loveable Stanley Holloway was then given the role. Holloway did his usual marvelous job. Many critics and film historians believe that Holloway was in fact, one of the best things of the movie to remember.

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I saw MY FAIR LADY in London, but it was Alec Clunes, not Guinness, with Julie. Julie's name was over the title. Jack Warner was actually very disappointed with MY FAIR LADY. While it was a critical and box-office success, he predicted it would be the most successful film in motion picture history, and was devasted that he didn't even have the number 1 film of the year. The fact is, that the two main years it was in theaters (1964 and 1965), it was bested (by far), by both MARY POPPINS and THE SOUND OF MUSIC. He wanted Julie Andrews to make CAMELOT for his studio, so badly, he offered her the highest salary ever offered an actor, up to that point. Also, points and cast and director approval. She actually accepted, conditionally, on Richard Burton and Robert Goulet reprising their roles. Burton passed in lieu of making films with Liz, so Julie passed, as well, famously qupping, "I'll play a supporting role to Richard Burton, but never to Richard Harris", for which there was no love lost. Oddly, Joshua Logan states that while Warner wanted Julie, he talked him out of it, in favor of Vanessa Redgrave, which is simply a ridiculous claim. Even Redgrave stated in an interview when asked what it was like to "take" a role from superstar Julie Andrews, "I have no doubt Miss Andrews would be doing this role, had she wanted to do it."

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> {quote:title=johnm_001 you replied:}{quote}I saw MY FAIR LADY in London, but it was Alec Clunes, not Guinness, with Julie. Julie's name was over the title.

*I STAND CORRECTED!* His majesty Richard III should also have me beheaded. :8}

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