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Emma Thompson: 'Audrey Hepburn couldn't act'

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Forgive the multiple posts, I'm trying to delete them. Many problems with posts not going through the last few days............

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> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}

> Yes, I noticed. Where is it written that Eliza has to be sung by a trained soprano? A guttersnipe who sings like she belongs in a concert hall?. Most people who saw the film never saw Andrews sing in the musical.l think it would've added more realism if they had let Audrey sing rather than dubbing in a voice that was obviously not hers. We'll never know how good or bad she was, but I heard her track of Loverly and she sounded fine to me.........

 

We do know how bad she was. I've heard all the tracks, and she's horrid. Still, the dubbed voice was so inappropriate for her speaking voice, that I would have rather they let her vocals stand. It would have improved nothing, but the jarring difference (another thing wrong with the film), wouldn't have been there.

 

Where it's "written", is in the music that Frederick Lowe composed. When it was decided to make Higgins a "talk-sing" character, it was also decided that Eliza would be a legitimate singer, who hits high notes, once she is "transformed". The notes are the notes. Most people who saw the film, during its original release might not have seen Andrews in the show, but they certainly heard her sing the songs. It was the most celebrated musical to ever hit Broadway. The cast (particularly Julie) were constantly on television, and the Broadway cast album was owned by more people than who ever laid eyes on the film, even to this day. The biggest selling LP of all-time, back in 1964, and remains one of the biggest sellers in Columbia's catalog. It has never been out of circulation.

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Almost. I think the last film I saw there was *Finian's Rainbow*, in the best-looking 35MM blow-up that I've ever seen.

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> {quote:title=johnm_001 wrote:}{quote}

>

>

> We do know how bad she was. I've heard all the tracks, and she's horrid. Still, the dubbed voice was so inappropriate for her speaking voice, that I would have rather they let her vocals stand. It would have improved nothing, but the jarring difference (another thing wrong with the film), wouldn't have been there.

>

> Where it's "written", is in the music that Frederick Lowe composed. When it was decided to make Higgins a "talk-sing" character, it was also decided that Eliza would be a legitimate singer, who hits high notes, once she is "transformed". The notes are the notes. Most people who saw the film, during its original release might not have seen Andrews in the show, but they certainly heard her sing the songs. It was the most celebrated musical to ever hit Broadway. The cast (particularly Julie) were constantly on television, and the Broadway cast album was owned by more people than who ever laid eyes on the film, even to this day. The biggest selling LP of all-time, back in 1964, and remains one of the biggest sellers in Columbia's catalog. It has never been out of circulation.

 

 

Actually we don't know anything. Everything you said has been your opinion not some ultimate truth. I will admit I don't think Audrey could sing "I could have danced all night".

 

However her version of "Wouldn't it be Lovely" was perfectly fine and it my opinion should have been used for the movie. I actually like it better than the version used in the movie because it seems more real and natural.

 

Also I am waiting to see who Emma Thompson will get for the singing parts. It seems Carrie Mulligan is up for consideration and is Emma's top choice. Well maybe I am missing something but I see nothing that indicates that Carrie Mulligan is a legitimate singer who can sing the high notes. Before Carrie Mulligan I know Keira Knightly was under consideration. Can Keira sing like Julie Andrews?

 

So unless they get someone who can sing the the parts just like Julie Andrews than I don't want to hear Emma Thompson complaining about Audrey's singing.

 

Also about Julie Andrews. Don't get me wrong I love her, especially her voice. But I don't think she is this amazing actress in comparison to Audrey Hepburn. Based on Emma Thompson's definition of "twee" wouldn't the movie roles that Julie Andrews made famous (Mary Poppins and Maria in Sound of Music) also be considered Twee?

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Hibi, Darling--a guttersnipe who sings like Lily Pons is the stuff of the American Broadway Musical Comedy--a close relation to the Operetta. By the way, have you ever seen the Oklahoma farm girl singing like a trained soprano?

 

I heard Julie Andrews sing those songs reapeatedly on the "Ed Sullivan Show", "Today", "Tonight", etc. They actually had two million selling casts albums. I bought the London recording with the Original Broadway cast. After Julie left the show it went on with Sally Ann Howe--and and I heard sing the same songs on the the TV shows. So the public in America was well aware of the show and how the songs should be sung.

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 11, 2010 4:05 PM

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> {quote:title=cujas wrote:}{quote}

> Hitchcock thought Julie Andrews was a good actress.

 

 

And plenty of directors were impressed with Audrey Hepburn.

 

I am not insulting Julie Andrews as an actress. I am just saying I don't see how she was a better actress in comparison to Audrey Hepburn looking at both of their careers.

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Aug 11, 2010 4:12 PM

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Kino--I've always been a great fan of Audrey's. But I also have great respect for Julie Andrews' ability in non-singing roles. But I absolutely agree with you that Audrey is tops.

 

In regards to the playing of Eliza Doolittle--I saw Wendy Hiller in "Pygmalion" and was quite impressed with her.

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Cujas, darling. Yes, I'm well aware of the suspension of disbelief, but I still maintain most people in middle America, except show queens ever heard Julie singing the score and probably were not very aware of her until Mary Poppins. I dont think they gave a hoot if Audrey was dubbed or Julie didnt get the part.

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I agree with you there Cujas. I thought both Wendy and Leslie were great in the title roles. I love the 1938 film Pygmalion a lot. In fact I think it is a bit underrated compared to the musical. Not that I don't love the musical but I think more people should see Pygmalion which is wonderful.

 

Like I said on another board I just love the story in general (it is one of my favorites). I also love Shaw's original play.

 

My Fair Lady is what introduced me to the story (and Audrey Hepburn for that matter) so I do love it but I also don't think it is the definite version of the story or musical.

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My dear, I'm from Middle America and I take exception with that personally.

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 11, 2010 4:31 PM

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Kino--what's truly regrettable is that now we'll have no record of Julie and Rex in the movie. It was so ironic that the both of them ended up together--the top Oscar winners.

 

Since Leslie Howard is one of my favorite actors, I made it my business to see his Pygmalion. To my surprise--"My Fair Lady" virtually copied the book verbatim. Shaw himself adapted it and Howard did the direction. It was splendid. I think it got lost in the shuffle of the Blitz.

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Good point there. Can Carey Mulligan sing? Will she be dubbed/ I find it very interesting that people still argue almost 60 years over this casting. Do people argue over Roz Russell in Gypsy or Natalie Wood in West Side Story? Both also were dubbed. Few stage actors got to repeat their roles. That's just how it was.

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In all this, Marni Nixon can't be ignored. Her work is what we have really enjoyed for so many years. And she was so versatile--West Side Story, The King & I and, of course, My Fair Lady.

 

Of course,--people are still very bitter and disappointed about Ethel Merman, but Natalie Wood really had planned to sing herself and truly wanted to.--Times being what they were--even Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn were dubbed at times.

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 11, 2010 5:05 PM

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For another take on Eliza Doolittle, I recommend watching the 1938 film version of ?Pygmalion?

 

This is the perfect way to diffuse this discussion. Who does the role of Eliza belong to? The brilliant Wendy Hiller. A wonderful interpretation, in a superb filming of Shaw's tremendous play. Is there really anything more to say?

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> {quote:title=Kinokima wrote:}{quote}

>

> Also about Julie Andrews. Don't get me wrong I love her, especially her voice. But I don't think she is this amazing actress in comparison to Audrey Hepburn. Based on Emma Thompson's definition of "twee" wouldn't the movie roles that Julie Andrews made famous (Mary Poppins and Maria in Sound of Music) also be considered Twee?

 

Not sure why you keep referring to Julie Andrews, when Emma Thompson never mentioned her, and she's not really part of this discussion. But, since you bring her up, the roles in *Mary Poppins* and *The Sound of Music* as played by Julie Andrews are pretty much the opposite of "twee". Yes, had Audrey Hepburn played Maria (a role she went after with full force), it would most certainly have been "twee". Julie Andrews played those roles as a determined, resourceful woman, not a waif. She is sweet, but with gumption. She doesn't need someone to rescue her. And if you think Audrey Hepburn is a better actress than Julie Andrews, well, you're certainly entitled to that opinion. I think a lot of your sentiments are solely based on emotion.

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> {quote:title=Hibi wrote:}{quote}

> Cujas, darling. Yes, I'm well aware of the suspension of disbelief, but I still maintain most people in middle America, except show queens ever heard Julie singing the score and probably were not very aware of her until Mary Poppins. I dont think they gave a hoot if Audrey was dubbed or Julie didnt get the part.

 

 

You obviously weren't around at the time, or you certainly wouldn't have made the above statement. *The Today Show* dedicated their entire show to the news. This at a time, when celebrity news wasn't the obsession it is, today, on television. It was a very big deal. As I've said, repeatedly in this thread, the original cast album of MFL was the biggest selling album in history. Not show album. Album of any music genre. If you didn't own it, you knew someone who did. Television was filled with variety shows, and Julie Andrews and other members of the cast appeared on them, singing the score. Julie, herself, starred in her own television special, and the most watched entertainment special (still is), of all-time. There was even an entire special dedicated to the music of Lerner & Lowe, on which Julie starred. That's how big the show and its stars were, at the time. To say that only shown queens ever heard her sing the score, is pretty ridiculous. Show tunes were a major part of popular music, back then. Not like today. And, if people didn't care if Julie didn't get the part or if Audrey was dubbed, then why was it such a major news event? Original cast members lost roles to Hollywood stars all the time. Nobody cared, until then. Or since, for that matter.

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> {quote:title=cujas wrote:}{quote}

> In all this, Marni Nixon can't be ignored. Her work is what we have really enjoyed for so many years. And she was so versatile--West Side Story, The King & I and, of course, My Fair Lady.

>

> Of course,--people are still very bitter and disappointed about Ethel Merman, but Natalie Wood really had planned to sing herself and truly wanted to.--Times being what they were--even Rita Moreno and Russ Tamblyn were dubbed at times.

>

 

I've also heard all of Natalie's vocals for *West Side Story*. Unlike Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Wood only needed some doctoring in a few places, and unlike Audrey Hepburn, Marni Nixon matched Natalie's singing voice, unbelievably well. However, they didn't just doctor her voice, they completely replaced it with Marni's.

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I wonder if The King and I movie adaptation would have been such a monumental success if the original Anna, as played on the stage by Gertrude Lawrence, starred in the film instead of Deborah. Would Gertrude have "played in Peoria" as they say.

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> {quote:title=Poinciana wrote:}{quote}

> I wonder if The King and I movie adaptation would have been such a monumental success if the original Anna, as played on the stage by Gertrude Lawrence, starred in the film instead of Deborah. Would Gertrude have "played in Peoria" as they say.

 

Probably, because in the end it was all about Yul. However, Lawrence was dead when they made the film. Even if she hadn't been, she was far too old to play the role in the movie. On stage is one thing, but the close-ups of a Cinemascope 55 camera are quite another.

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