Originally adapted from playwright George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion," "My Fair Lady" has become one of the most popular musicals of all time.
Egotistical linguist Henry Higgins bets that he can transform a "lowly" Cockney flower girl into a lady in time for an important society ball. Soon the confused and amazed Eliza Doolittle's been washed and scrubbed, dressed in pretty clothes and tutored in speech until she's ready to fall in exhaustion. Henry Higgins' gamble may yet pay off... but is it really the best thing for Eliza?
A priceless classic, MY FAIR LADY has become one of the most popular musicals of all time. Based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play PYGMALION, the film swept the Academy Awards. Cecil Beaton’s lavish sets and costumes and Lerner and Loewe’s winning score became the background for George Cukor’s striking mix of styles that ranged from the fantastic to the abstract in his telling of the tale of a waif who’s educated into being a lady. Egotistical linguist Professor Henry Higgins (Oscar-winning Rex Harrison) bets his friend, Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White), that he can transform Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) in time for an important society ball. His gamble could pay off--but the spirited Eliza is more of a handful than the Professor could have predicted. As she slowly becomes more refined, and less reliant upon him, Higgins realizes, to his confusion, that he can’t live without her. The film was nominated for 12 Oscars and won eight, including Best Picture and Director.
The repriced and repackaged VHS versions (Catalogue #'s 4100974 and 4100975) are digitally mastered by THX for superior sound and picture quality.
FoxVideo laserdisc #8167-85 is a 30th Anniversary Widescreen Collector's Edition. This THX laserdisc was restored from the original 65mm elements and 6-channel stereo tracks. The package includes a film clip of six frames from the original print, a portfolio of costume designs, a 24k gold CD version of the music score, a "Making Of" documentary, rare footage, production stills, an informative brochure, original theatrical trailers, and other supplementary materials.
The Widescreen and Pan & Scan laserdiscs (Catalogue #'s 0897385 and 0897380) are comprised of the same transfer as the 30th Anniversary Widescreen Collector's Edition, but do not include the extras.
Released theatrically in the USA October 21, 1964.
Named Best Film by the New York Film Critics and one of the 10 Best Films of the Year by the National Board of Review.
The Broadway musical "My Fair Lady" was staged by Moss Hart, produced on the stage by Herman Levin, and starred Julie Andrews, Rex Harrison, and Stanley Holloway.
George Bernard Shaw's straight play "Pygmalion" was adapted for the screen in 1938, starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller.
Marni Nixon, who dubbed Audrey Hepburn's singing voice, previously dubbed Natalie Wood's singing voice in "West Side Story" and Deborah Kerr's in "The King and I." Many speculated that Hepburn was passed over for the Academy Award nomination because she did not do her own singing.
The voice for Jeremy Brett, who played Freddie Eynsford-Hill, was supplied by Bill Shirley.
Cecil Beaton's screen credit read "Costumes, Scenery and Production Designer," which, in actuality, referred to his design work for the stage version of "My Fair Lady." For the film, he was responsible for Costumes, Makeup and Hair.
Dr. Peter Ladefoged from UCLA served as phonetics advisor.
Actor Wilfrid Hyde-White served as "Ascot advisor."
Special photographic effects by Linwood G. Dunn and Film Effects of Hollywood.
Filmed at the Warner Bros. Studios.
Estimated budget: $17 million.
Warner Bros. reportedly paid $5.5 million for the rights to the musical. Additionally, the owners of the stage property were to receive 47.5% of all proceeds after the first $20 million.
Color by Technicolor and shot in Super Panavision 70. Original aspect ratio: 2.35:1. Utilized RCA six-track magnetic stereophonic sound.
Additional cast: Baroness Veronica de Goldschmidt-Rothschild (Queen of Transylvania), Moyna Macgill (Lady Boxington), Miriam Schiller (Landlady), Ayllene Gibbons (Fat Woman at Pub), and Major Sam Harris (Guest at Ball).
Additional crew: Sergei Petschnikoff (unit manager), Susan Seton (dialogue supervisor), Joe Wiatt, Eleanor Abbey, Norma Brown, Geoffrey Allen, Bob Richards, Anne Laune, and Betty Huff (Wardrobe), Gerda Roberson (costume design coordinator), Leah Barnes (milliner), Ed Graves (production illustrator), Max Bercutt, Carl Combs, and Mort Lichter (unit publicists), Bob Willoughby and Mel Traxel (stills), and Frank Flanagan (gaffer).