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Emma Thompson: 'Audrey Hepburn couldn't act'

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I'm exhausted just reading this. I've never read any of this, but I'll take your word for it until I hear otherwise. I do remember Doris being considered for TSOM, but being considered and "going after it" are 2 different things....

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Be that as it may, many people in the boonies didnt associate MFL with Julie Andrews. (and no, I didnt query everyone in town) The record may have been a big seller, but that didnt mean everyone bought it (I do remember seeing it in stores) My point about Bacall and company was you dont have to be trained singer to be in a musical. Barbra being a singer didnt help Hello, Dolly. Nor did SHE get a nomination either (and the film, unlike MFL lost a ton of money and was panned by most critics0

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

> Be that as it may, many people in the boonies didnt associate MFL with Julie Andrews. (and no, I didnt query everyone in town) The record may have been a big seller, but that didnt mean everyone bought it (I do remember seeing it in stores) My point about Bacall and company was you dont have to be trained singer to be in a musical. Barbra being a singer didnt help Hello, Dolly. Nor did SHE get a nomination either (and the film, unlike MFL lost a ton of money and was panned by most critics0

 

 

The record wasn't a big seller, it was the biggest seller. There's a tremendous difference. Of course you don't have to be a singer to be in a musical, trained or otherwise. REX HARRISON. Nobody said you did. You do, however, have to be a singer, to do Eliza Doolittle, which is what we were talking about. As for *Hello, Dolly!*, it wasn't so much about it losing money (in fact, it has long ago turned a profit), as it was so expensive to produce (every penny is up on the screen). It had to do The Sound of Music-type business, to recoup its expenses, during its original release. Nothing was doing that type of business. The film was not a bomb, as far as ticket sales go. It was, in fact, the 5th biggest money-making film of the year! But Fox was pretty much out of control with spending (due to all the money it was making from TSOM), that it just became impossible for it to turn a profit.

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

> I'm exhausted just reading this. I've never read any of this, but I'll take your word for it until I hear otherwise. I do remember Doris being considered for TSOM, but being considered and "going after it" are 2 different things....

 

Doris Day was never considered for the film, by anyone. She wanted the role and pursued it.

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For those who said Emma Thompson was only talking about Audrey's roles in My Fair Lady well she clarified and she definitely meant she didn't like her as an actress all around. I will admit that this comment is not as rude as her last one.

 

Not backing down from her earlier opinion, Thompson stressed that ''Audrey Hepburn absolutely was the most wonderful woman and a great humanitarian ... a most delightful woman, but she's not my favorite actress. I'm very particular and very critical when it comes to acting, and in my opinion Audrey's performances were really more about how she looked.''

 

Well I am fine with Emma Thompson not liking Audrey Hepburn as an actress. However I will say I think I am critical too and I certainly do not like Audrey Hepburn just for her looks or her clothes. Granted I don't think she is the greatest actress of all times but I do think she has a lot more going for her as an actress than simply appearance.

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Kino--I think this argument is the old one about Movie Stars VS the Brit Stage actors. Seems like it started with Olivier. He never got over Vivien Leigh's status as a Movie Star. One that despite his stage reputation, he could never reach.

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

> Kino--I think this argument is the old one about Movie Stars VS the Brit Stage actors. Seems like it started with Olivier. He never got over Vivien Leigh's status as a Movie Star. One that despite his stage reputation, he could never reach.

 

Except Vivien Leigh could act!

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audrey hepburn had an extra-ordinary charisma-- that's what makes her a star. she was -to me- a fine actress. her performance in, say, 'the nun's story' just can't be beat. she has her best actress oscar. hepburn is an undisputed icon in our cultural landscape.

 

 

 

thompson is a respected oscar-winning 'working actor'. in modern day hollywood, she is not on the level of julia roberts or angelina jolie. she does not get the press of a 'hot' hollywood star.

 

 

 

we all have personal opinions, but that's just it- they are 'personal' opinions.

 

 

 

for thompson to make these remarks about audrey- in public- she seems to be inviting controversy on purpose. perhaps she is trying to get some publicity- attention she would normally not have- at hepburn's expense, which is quite sad.

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To Hibi:

 

I remember trying to get tickets to Bacall or Hepburn on Broadway--impossible. Backers put up the money for their shows--in fact their shows were created just so the public could see them live, on stage. Nobody cared what they sounded like or did, as long as they could see big Movie Stars live!

 

But when you create a real show--you've got to have the talent that's required, like for Mame, you've got to have a level of talent, such as, Angela Langsbury.

 

But let's go back to Lucy. After the divorce they created a Broadway show just for her. People were willing to pay anything to see her--but it was a mess and barely broke even. She just didn't have what it took--her voice wasn't just a joke on "I Love Lucy"--it was for real.

 

FYI--Everybody knew Barbra was miscast in "Dolly"--they just gave it to her because of her popularity and fame.

 

Edited by: cujas on Aug 12, 2010 5:28 PM

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That's news to me. But I bow to what appears to be your insider's knowledge as you want to have the last word and I'm tired of arguing with you (it's not worth it! LOL)

 

Edited by: Hibi on Aug 12, 2010 5:41 PM

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

> To Hibi:

>

> I remember trying to get tickets to Bacall or Hepburn on Broadway--impossible. Backers put up the money for their shows--in fact their shows were created just so the public could see them live, on stage. Nobody cared what they sounded like or did, as long as they could see big Movie Stars live!

>

> But when you create a real show--you've got to have the talent that's required, like for Mame, you've got to have a level of talent, such as, Angela Langsbury.

>

> But let's go back to Lucy. After the divorce they created a Broadway show just for her. People were willing to pay anything to see her--but it was a mess and barely broke even. She just didn't have what it took--her voice wasn't just a joke on "I Love Lucy"--it was for real.

>

> FYI--Everybody knew Barbra was miscast in "Dolly"--they just gave it to her because of her popularity and fame.

>

 

Angela Lansbury in Mame was a highlight of the many shows I saw on Broadway. She was as perfect in that role as is possible to be. Another case of the star (Lucy) buying the role for herself. I don't hate Lucy in the role, but the film suffers because of her.

 

Streisand was not cast because she was popular (although she had popular television specials and recordings). She got Dolly, because the producer, Ernest Lehman, hated Carol Channing in *Thoroughly Modern Millie*. Fox was perfectly willing to sign Channing to star, but Lehman had cast/director approval, since he was producer. Streisand was signed to Dolly, before *Funny Girl* was even made. She almost didn't make the film, as Columbia wanted Shirley MacLaine for the role of Fanny Brice, but Ray Stark insisted and an odd loophole in her recording contract, led to her being signed to reprise her role.

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

> That's news to me. But I bow to what appears to be your insider's knowledge as you want to have the last word and I'm tired of arguing with you (it's not worth it! LOL)

>

> Edited by: Hibi on Aug 12, 2010 5:41 PM

 

What's news to you? I must have missed the fact that we were having an argument. I thought were we having an exchange on a movie discussion board.

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>Hibi you wrote:

>Do you think young people who may watch it today care that Julie Andrews didnt get the part?

>

 

NO . . . Most likely it will remain only "old-timers" like me!

 

And, by the way . . .

 

Has anyone realized that this thread has become one of the most watched and controversial, ever, on the TCM Message Boards? I guess there's a lot to be said for fan devotion and love of movies!

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First of all, I don't think too many young people today would even watch *MFL*. Young people, today, as a whole, do not embrace anything that is not of their time. Of those that might watch, they most-likely don't know anything about its history, or who might have been in it, etc. Then there are the young people who might be into musical theater, who would definitely watch it, and know its history. Some of them might care and others might not. Particularly if they've been exposed to the 2 original cast albums, Broadway and London, beforehand. Of course, this new Thompson business might get some younger people to explore the show and its history. The fact is, if young people today see the film, at all, it will most-likely be the remake!

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To me MFL is second rate to Pygmalion and the actors all do a much better job in the version of the Shaw play. I was so impressed I got book of Shaw's plays. So if anyone is going to explore the history I recommend they start there.

 

While I do enjoy some of the songs from MFL I don't see a reason to do a remake of the musical using the original songs. Why not do a remake using new music that is written directly for the movie.

 

That is how MFL was made from Pygmalion. i.e. music was written to fit the play. If it could be done once it can be done again.

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>johnm_001 you wrote:

>First of all, I don't think too many young people today would even watch *MFL*. The fact is, if young people today see the film, at all, it will most-likely be the remake!

 

Interesting that you mention the upcoming remake and whether or not today?s young fans will take in the film. It might be that this British company deciding on producing the new version will get the situation to some logical conclusion; as to not think certain technical boundaries were crossed as in the original 1964 version. Certainly, the biggest concern will be the whole Eliza Doolittle issue. It all looks like there might be another comparison problem, once the new version finally gets release. It?s also likely that Thompson?s script will be a bit different, as opposed to the 1964 version. I believe it would be a huge mistake to utilize the 1938 version, as written by Shaw; Thompson has to bank on creating a new aura and go as far as a new interpretation in order to be flexible beyond what some fans might think or remember about the original version, both on stage and on screen. It?s only natural to feel that Thompson has to add something new and keep what?s traditional to the original musical somewhat fresh and alive, without falling into the comparison trap.

 

I feel that Thompson?s interview was part hype and part distancing herself and the script she has created from any comparison or connection to what happen 46 years ago. If anything, what Thompson said was dangerous, because in a strong way this might alienate American audiences that remember the original and especially Audrey (even if she was wrong for the role). This is all turning out like a reoccurrence to 1964 and all the fuss that cumulated into so much bad publicity for both the film and finally Audrey. Even though the 1964 motion picture was hailed a success, it has never been able to bypass a certain amount of technical negativity and we all know what this pertains to!

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A lot of us on here agree that the 1938 film is excellent. I saw the musical first and it wasn't until years later that I saw the 1938 film I was surprised how good it is. I mean surprised because it is rarely talked about but it should definitely be more well known. It also made me realize I liked Leslie Howard. Before seeing Pygmalion I had only seen him in Gone with the Wind and I was never a fan of Ashley.

 

And I also love Shaw. I did a report on him in High School. Besides Pygmalion, I also read Caesar & Cleopatra & St. Joan. You know I should really read more of his stuff.

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I like the proposed idea to do some location photography, which the original film forgoes, and renders it rather old-fashioned, even in 1964. The studio-bound barrier had already been broken. Look at *Gigi*, years earlier. As a musical, it's MFL-light, but as a film, it's superior in every way. I've been waiting a very long time for this remake. I can't wait for it.

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That I couldn't disagree with more. While I do generally prefer filming on location to in the studio I wasn't impressed with Gigi as a musical or a movie.

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

> To me MFL is second rate to Pygmalion and the actors all do a much better job in the version of the Shaw play. I was so impressed I got book of Shaw's plays. So if anyone is going to explore the history I recommend they start there.

>

As a film, I'd go as far as saying MFL is 6th-rate to Pygmalion. I love the 1938 film. But, overall, I prefer the musical to the play. As for writing a new musical version, there isn't a person alive with the talent of Lerner & Lowe. Even the great talents of Rodgers and Hammerstein could pull off composing a musical version. I say for anyone to do it twice, and equal the perfection of the integration of the songs with the script, is impossible.

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Just for the record . . . I saw the original 1956 Broadway version in April of that year! It was perhaps the greatest musical I had ever seen up to that time. Seven years later, I felt like everyone else that Andrews should have been given the role for the screen. While I did like some things about the film version, I now must confess that "Mary Poppins" was the better film musical of that year. It was understandable to me why "My Fair Lady" seemed destined to win the Academy Award or at least several, since a lot of Hollywood money was poured into the production and it was in some ways beautiful to look at. However, as 1964 rolled in, whatever success there was to "My Fair Lady," the produciton was doomed to a life of constant criticism and this is something that continues on . . . Even right now . . . On this site!!

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Mary Poppins gets criticized too. All well known movies do. Why don't you read the IMDB reviews for both movies. They both have practically the same rating.

 

My Fair Lady 7.9/10 (4.1/5.0 on Netflix)

Mary Poppins 7.7/10 (4.1/5.0 on Netflix)

 

Both are beloved classics.

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

> Just for the record . . . I saw the original 1956 Broadway version in April of that year! It was perhaps the greatest musical I had ever seen up to that time. Seven years later, I felt like everyone else that Andrews should have been given the role for the screen. While I did like some things about the film version, I now must confess that "Mary Poppins" was the better film musical of that year. It was understandable to me why "My Fair Lady" seemed destined to win the Academy Award or at least several, since a lot of Hollywood money was poured into the production and it was in some ways beautiful to look at. However, as 1964 rolled in, whatever success there was to "My Fair Lady," the produciton was doomed to a life of constant criticism and this is something that continues on . . . Even right now . . . On this site!!

 

 

Of course *Mary Poppins* is the best film, musical or otherwise of 1964. And, unlike MFL, kids today have seen it. For one, it is a wholly original musical, and, while it was as studio-bound as MFL, it has an air of openness and newness. Plus the street sets in MP are incredible and beautiful to see. Where MFL was a stodgy, non-cinematic rendering of a far more exciting play, MP never forgets what medium it is. Much like *The Wizard of Oz*, years before it.

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