Revisiting “Eliza”

Monday, April 05, 2021 (21 days until April’s full “Pink Moon”)

Last night, I watched the original movie, “My Fair Lady”. Without much that interested me on television (I don’t subscribe to cable), I turned to Netflix. That site just had added the movie.

I’m a Hepburn fan, but resisted the movie, “My Fair Lady”, because I’m also a Julie Andrews fan. Andrews created on Broadway the leading role of Eliza, and the onstage musical ran for years. Back when “Lady” was about to become a movie, Audrey Hepburn’s onscreen fame was enormous. She badly wanted Eliza’s role, and got it. I was among the Julie Andrews fans angry that she who had created Eliza onstage didn’t get the movie part.

Both actresses, British born, understand how to create a cockney role. Aside from that, the all-musical movie role requires dancing and singing. Hepburn once was trained as a classical dancer but wasn’t fully capable. Her singing voice was small and its range limited. In the movie, she lip syncs to singing by soprano Marni Nixon, who often performed as “ghost singer” for non-singing actresses.

I boycotted the movie then and since.

Last night, it turned into a wonderful reintroduction to the marvelous Rex Harrison, as Professor Henry Higgins. (Harrison created the role on Broadway, co-staring with Julie Andrews.) The movie is beautiful in every way, cinematically, visually, and musically. Hepburn as Eliza is charming, and of course after Harrison has turned her into a swan, simply is gorgeous. These many years later, the movie comes together nicely, even if one still has reasons to resist its charms.

An original poster to today’s header photo, because it’s so lovely, hung for years in my Kansas City apartment. Sure wish I still had it today, probably a collector’s item.

Dear Friends: Much depends on politics, timing, opportunity. Second chances may alter appreciation. Diana

One thought on “Revisiting “Eliza”

  1. This was a tough one for both Andrews and Hepburn loyalists. In recent interviews Julie Andrews has pointed out that she got “Sound of Music” as a sort of consolation prize. Or was it “Mary Poppins?” I’m reasonably sure I still have the 33 RPM of Harrison & Andrews in storage, though I’m not set up to play it. Are there any videos of the Broadway production? I love Hepburn movies, but when it comes to “My Fair Lady,” ~ ~ ~. Oh Well ~ ~ ~

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