My Fair Lady on TV last night…
Not because I’m contemporary with it, but honestly, the film has not aged …
It is inspired by the play Pygmalion by Georges-Bernard Shaw.
Pygmalion, a Greek sculptor, had created Galatea, an ivory statue with which he had fallen in love. Understanding his love, and in charge of this subject, Aphrodite had given life to Galatea…
George Cukor revives the musicals of the 1930s, in the midst of false decorations and real emotions.
At Ascot, everything is wrong, and yet, the racing scene is just great. The costumes of Cecil Beaton are not for nothing of course. But above all, all these frozen characters pretending to have fun, and that suddenly, Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) will capsize….
So, I read somewhere that My Fair Lady was a “bland and out of date” film, that Audrey Hepburn was much more upsetting in Roman Holiday or Breakfast at Tiffany’s, than especially, the film conveyed the worst sexist stereotypes!
What if we let the second degree breathe?
Is Eliza’s father, a hardy drunk, played by the brilliant Stanley Holloway, who, like a vulgar mock-up, trades in the abandonment of his daughter in the care of Professor Higgins? The end of the film, where Eliza, now transformed into a lovely butterfly, puts the slippers at the feet of her pretentious Pygmalion?
It’s burlesque, right?
“I could have danced …”
Iconography: The races, at Ascot, in the film My Fair Lady, by George Cukor, with Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison