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The Irony in My Fair Lady (1964), or the Triumph of the Aristocracy.


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3 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Calling My Fair Lady a "remake" isn't debatable at all,  but just non factual.      My Fair Lady is a musical adaptation of the Shaw play,   Pygmalion,  as well as a movie version of the play , My Fair Lady that was a major hit on Broadway.

I.e.  any so called links between the two films,  Pygmalion and My Fair Lady,  pale in comparison to any links between either of the  plays.

E.g.  Producers,  director, screenwriters could have made the film My Fair Lady without ever seeing the film,  Pygmalion.    That would NOT be possible with either of the plays (especially the play My Fair Lady).

PS:  I know you're aware of this,  but sadly others just love to call everything "remakes"! 

Let's not forget the myth that started it all: Pygmalion and Galatea, which was the inspiration for dozens of works, including a painting by the great Edward Burns-Jones.

The_Soul_Attains_2nd_series_Pygmalion_Bu

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6 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I.e.  any so called links between the two films,  Pygmalion and My Fair Lady,  pale in comparison to any links between either of the  plays.

Don't both movie versions end with Eliza coming back and Higgins asking "Where the devil are my slippers?" Which would give them quite a bit in common.

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8 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Don't both movie versions end with Eliza coming back and Higgins asking "Where the devil are my slippers?" Which would give them quite a bit in common.

How does the My Fair Lady play version end?   E.g. the one with Julie Andrews? 

But I do see your point;  that most likely the My Fair Lady play 'stole' the ending from the Pygmalion film.

(since we have discussed how the Shaw play ended and that neither film version follows the Shaw play ending).

 

 

 

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I was actually in a community theater production of My Fair Lady, so I guess I was aware of how it ended. But yeah, I guess the movie version of Pygmalion used the ending first.

If anyone's curious, I played several small parts, mostly street people. I was one of Alfie's two buddies, so I was in the numbers "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "I'm Getting Married in the Morning". And I was one of the trio of street people who get to sing in harmony at the beginning of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?".

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Just now, sewhite2000 said:

I was actually in a community theater production of My Fair Lady, so I guess I was aware of how it ended. But yeah, I guess the movie version of Pygmalion used the ending first.

If anyone's curious, I played several small parts, mostly street people. I was one of Alfie's two buddies, so I was in the numbers "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "I'm Getting Married in the Morning". And I was one of the trio of street people who get to sing in harmony at the beginning of "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?".

Wendy Hiller was in the play version in England,  which is why she was chosen for the role in the film.      It is my understanding all of the play versions were faithful to the original Shaw ending UNTIL the 1938 film.

Now I'm curious:  what ending do play versions use today?   E.g.  In England are most faithful  (them being stickers and all) but in America since the film versions are now the IT versions,  most plays now follows the film ending?

 

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Since they have two different titles, I would assume you're expected to follow the (play) script for each one. When we did My Fair Lady, we finished with the slippers line. This was 25 years ago, but still ... I would assume if you're doing Pygmalion on stage, you're supposed to end it the way it ends in the original text. I think there are certain usage laws that require this.

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1 minute ago, sewhite2000 said:

Since they have two different titles, I would assume you're expected to follow the (play) script for each one. When we did My Fair Lady, we finished with the slippers line. This was 25 years ago, but still ... I would assume if you're doing Pygmalion on stage, you're supposed to end it the way it ends in the original text. I think there are certain usage laws that require this.

Interesting.     I wonder how long these "usage laws" run for.   E.g. are they like copy write laws that have exasperation dates (unless one revises them)? 

How faithful does one have to be?     E.g.  would one need permission to make My Fair Gent?     (which one could  say would be more faithful to the original play given Higgins and his preferences,  then My Fair Lady).

 NOTE:  don't expect answers but thanks for getting me thinking about this overall topic! 

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I"m certainly no expert, having only done this on an amateur level and along time ago, but I would hear our directors talk about some of these issues, and my ears always perked up. 

I really don't know how many liberties you're allowed to take with material still under copyright regarding costumes and scenery and such. I always got the impression the text was pretty sacred. I think you submit a form to whoever is responsible for monitoring these things to get sufficient copies of the script and the score, if there is one. This is all free, I think, but those people can send someone to check up on you and make sure you're adhering to the source material. I never saw this happen personally, but I heard directors say it had happened before.

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12 hours ago, Swithin said:

Let's not forget the myth that started it all: Pygmalion and Galatea, which was the inspiration for dozens of works, including a painting by the great Edward Burns-Jones.

The_Soul_Attains_2nd_series_Pygmalion_Bu

 

My_Bare_Lady_movie_poster.jpg

 

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Pygmalion trivia: The play premiered in German in Vienna and Berlin before it was produced in the UK.   For a play that exploits the class biases of spoken English as its core construct, I've always found that interesting.

I found this information on the website shawsociety.org:

Although Shaw’s works are in public domain in Canada, and some of the older versions are in public domain in the U.S., world rights in the rest of the works are controlled by the Society of Authors in London until 2020, and they would have to be applied to for permission to quote from Shaw beyond a specified wordage amount in any work that wishes to be sold worldwide.   Go to http://www.societyofauthors.org/playwrights or write to Jeremy Crow at JCrow@societyofauthors.org for details.    Production rights in the U.S. may have to go through Samuel French.  

 

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2 hours ago, txfilmfan said:

Pygmalion trivia: The play premiered in German in Vienna and Berlin before it was produced in the UK.   For a play that exploits the class biases of spoken English as its core construct, I've always found that interesting.

Where did you hear that?

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1 hour ago, txfilmfan said:

I read it.   It's in the Historical Background section of my copy of Pygmalion, published by Washington Square Press.

 

Thanks.  That fact is strangely omitted from every other thing I've read about the play.

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I may be the only person with this opinion, but I'm glad Julie Andrews didn't play Eliza in the movie. I love Ms Andrews, think she was wonderful as a magical nanny and perfect as a nun turned nanny, but I don't think she could have conveyed the sexier, ever so slightly trashy part of Eliza as well as Audrey Hepburn.  Julie has a sort of prissy way of holding her mouth when she sings and speaks that is a little bit off putting to me, while Audrey can be utterly desirable when she wants to and her beauty is spectacular enough to equal those sets and gowns.

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5 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

I may be the only person with this opinion, but I'm glad Julie Andrews didn't play Eliza in the movie. I love Ms Andrews, think she was wonderful as a magical nanny and perfect as a nun turned nanny, but I don't think she could have conveyed the sexier, ever so slightly trashy part of Eliza as well as Audrey Hepburn.  Julie has a sort of prissy way of holding her mouth when she sings and speaks that is a little bit off putting to me, while Audrey can be utterly desirable when she wants to and her beauty is spectacular enough to equal those sets and gowns.

Since I never saw Andrews  do the play,   I don't have much to make a comparison.     But I have read from those that did see her in the play and they say she was wonderful.

 

Julie_Andrews_Rex_Harrison_My_Fair_Lady.JPG

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38 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

Since I never saw Andrews  do the play,   I don't have much to make a comparison.     But I have read from those that did her in the play and they say she was wonderful.

 

Julie_Andrews_Rex_Harrison_My_Fair_Lady.JPG

No, but it's a musical and we do have the recordings that you can listen to to see how truly extraordinary she was.

It was very rare that 2 original cast recordings are made of a Musical on Broadway.

But that's exactly what happened with "My Fair Lady". The Broadway recording is very good. And was a big hit on Billboard.

Then when they actually went to the Covent Garden theater in London, they made another recording that shows how much Julie Andrews had grown in the role.

Both recordings were best sellers.

The second one that I bought was special back in the day because it was in stereo. LOL

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4 hours ago, AndreaDoria said:

I may be the only person with this opinion, but I'm glad Julie Andrews didn't play Eliza in the movie. I love Ms Andrews, think she was wonderful as a magical nanny and perfect as a nun turned nanny, but I don't think she could have conveyed the sexier, ever so slightly trashy part of Eliza as well as Audrey Hepburn.  Julie has a sort of prissy way of holding her mouth when she sings and speaks that is a little bit off putting to me, while Audrey can be utterly desirable when she wants to and her beauty is spectacular enough to equal those sets and gowns.

 Since the role is in a musical it's a complete singing and acting role. If you can't do the role in its entirety then, you have not done the role.

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1 hour ago, Princess of Tap said:

 Since the role is in a musical it's a complete singing and acting role. If you can't do the role in its entirety then, you have not done the role.

 Should Shirley Jones  have passed on "Oklahoma" because she couldn't do ballet?  Movies make short people tall and Australians talk like Texans. They let people who can't ride horses make westerns.  If action stars can use stunt doubles, why is wrong to dub a singing voice?  If the only thing that  matters is singing chops then why not just have  Marni Nixon play the part?  

I don't doubt for a minute that Andrews was spectacular and the right choice for the play.  or that she would have been fine in the movie, but slightly different qualities show better in films  than on the stage and vice versa and a recording only demonstrates part of the role.   I like Audrey best for the movie.

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1 hour ago, AndreaDoria said:

 

 Should Shirley Jones  have passed on "Oklahoma" because she couldn't do ballet?  Movies make short people tall and Australians talk like Texans. They let people who can't ride horses make westerns.  If action stars can use stunt doubles, why is wrong to dub a singing voice?  If the only thing that  matters is singing chops then why not just have  Marni Nixon play the part?  

I don't doubt for a minute that Andrews was spectacular and the right choice for the play.  or that she would have been fine in the movie, but slightly different qualities show better in films  than on the stage and vice versa and a recording only demonstrates part of the role.   I like Audrey best for the movie.

 In the original "Oklahoma!" production the ballet was done by a ballet dancer. It was not part of the leading lady's or leading man's role.

"My Fair Lady" is not a play--

it's a musical.

If you have to hire a movie star for the box office, I can understand why that was done for the sake of business.

But you can't argue, that a person was qualified for the role if they could not actually perform what was required for the role initially.

I like Audrey Hepburn as an actress very much, but even though she's part English, she didn't really convince me that she was a cockney for this role, the way Julie Andrews convinced me on television performances.

There's nothing wrong with saying that you need different qualities for a cinematic adaptation of a musical.

But these qualities that are required should never be minus other qualities that were required in the original production, in my opinion.

What I love about Audrey Hepburn in film is her European, totally European presentation as a performer. There's something totally Continental about her that's natural and really who she is.

That just doesn't work for a cockney.

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2 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Looks like her skirt is made from a chenille bedspread!

There are clips available on YouTube of Julie Andrews playing Eliza Doolittle, from TV appearances.  Very few are contemporary with the Broadway performances.   There's one interesting but artificial clip where she and Rex Harrison recreate their My Fair Lady rehearsal process for the CBS-TV show The Fabulous Fifties, which aired in early 1960.

This is a YT "channel" of Julie Andrews material, called the Julie Andrews Archive:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTJljf75aOk7cfWyKt0Hruw

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