Home Video

My Fair Lady (1964) - Blu-ray Movie Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

My Fair Lady - Blu-ray Movie Review

5 stars

The musical genre of film cannot get any better than with George Cukor’s excellent screen adaptation of My Fair Lady.  Stephen Sondheim declares it victorious in the musical comedy department and, to this day, people still sing its praises; quite an achievement for a musical from 1964 that is about the acquisition and acceptance of language in Edwardian London (but really an individual’s self-worth).  And why not?  The film is directed by a commanding veteran of the craft, it’s filled with memorable characters and a fabulous cast, and the sets are engaging merits to the stage and screen.  My Fair Lady is an absolute gem.

After placing a bet with Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White) that he can turn a common flower peddler, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), into a fancy and educated socialite for the Embassy Ball, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), a famed linguistics scholar, discovers just how powerful and hard and life-changing his work with words can be.  Though he is rough with her and rough on her, his constant put-downs challenge her and her language mistakes to keep pushing until the bet is won.

Poor Eliza gets neglected.  All these changes yet at what price to her own satisfaction?  At what sacrifice?  She feels no credit is given to her when all attention falls on Higgins.  She’s the one who changed.  Not him.  And what happens when Higgins realizes that he’s “grown accustomed to her face” and actually misses his star pupil in an unexpected way?  She’s already making doe-eyes at Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Jeremy Brett) and dreaming of a life outside of Higgins.

My Fair Lady is Cukor’s master step in an esteemed career that continues to march forward.  He directed the stars of The Philadelphia Story to comedic glory; cooked up pre-code perfection with Dinner at Eight; and successfully broke Adam’s Rib.  With My Fair Lady, Cukor gives cinema audiences that actual feel of a live show with extended takes and long pauses between edits.  He guides everything as if it truly was on the stage.  It’s a legitimate and literal attempt to bring home the musical. {googleads}

The musical numbers are phenomenal.  While Hepburn’s singing is obvious dubbed with the excellent Marni Nixon, My Fair Lady loses none of its ageless grace and beauty with the tunes.  Harrison, however - unaccustomed with lip-syncing to playback audio - convinced the suits at Warner Bros to place a wireless microphone in his necktie so that he could be recorded live.  His delivery of Alan Jay Lerner’s lyrics is delivered with the poetic forcefulness of a sermon on the mount.

My Fair Lady - Blu-ray Movie Review

The cinematography of Harry Stradling Sr. is a lavish affair with one scene of note being shot strictly with a telescopic lens to induce a sort of dreamlike quality to the surroundings.  My Fair Lady, though, isn’t a loud film; it doesn’t announce itself at every turn.  It is just a quality film – full of fancy costumes and ceremony – that is like the warmest of baths.  It’s comfortable; a good fit of a film when perfect size doesn’t matter.

While there are no surprises and no innovative moments in the film, My Fair Lady is a classy affair.  It’s faithful to the source material and has solid performances from its cast and features a firm hand from its director.  For anyone who loves the stage, My Fair Lady is certain to be a favorite of the screen.

{2jtab: Film Details}

My Fair Lady - Blu-ray Movie ReviewMPAA Rating: G for general audiences.
Director
: George Cukor
Writer
: Alan Jay Lerner
Cast:
Audrey Hepburn; Rex Harrison; Stanley Holloway; Wilfrid Hyde-White
Genre: Musical
Tagline:
The most loverly motion picture event of all!
Memorable Movie Quote: "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain."
Distributor:
Warner Bros. Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
December 25, 1964
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 15, 2011

Synopsis: A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

My Fair Lady - Blu-ray Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 15, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, German, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Playback: Region-free

Warner Bros releases My Fair Lady on blu-ray without much fanfare.  The 1080p transfer will surely make you notice the fabulous set designs and rich costumes.  It will also make you notice the details that went into both in order to produce such a lavish affair of the screen.  Colors are quite bold and textures – from flower petals to food carts – are rich with details.  Skin tones are warm and focused.  There is the occasional speckle of dirt and debris, but nothing too major to spoil the mood of the glossy look of the picture.  The sound – presented here in a lossless DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack – is an energetic one that makes excellent use of five channel surround sound.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Provided by Gene Allen, Marni Nixon, Robert A. Harris, and James C. Katz, the commentary discusses the making of the film as well as the efforts that went into preserving and re-releasing the film for the home theatre market.  It’s a crowded track that is a tad nteresting for its fans, a hit-and-miss for the average collector, and definitely not that revelatory in either case.

Special Features:

With vintage looks at the original release of the film as well as an all-new documentary, the supplemental material is a proud mix of worthy features.  The documentary, hosted by Jeremy Brett, takes a look at the movie and its influence.  It also looks at the restoration efforts that keep the movie in the minds of fresh audiences.  There are plenty of moments that look at the Academy Award highlights for My Fair Lady and a featurette that looks at the celebration dinner upon its release.  You get to look at the original premiere party, hear Hepburn’s dubbed singing (you decide if it should have been dubbed), and a look at the production of the musical.  All in all, a pretty good grab bag of cinematic goodies.

  • More Loverly than Ever: The Making of ‘My Fair Lady; Then & Now (58 min)
  • 1963 Production Kick-Off Dinner (23 min)
  • George Cukor Directos Baroness Bina Rothschild (Audio Track Only with Stills) (3 min)
  • The Fairest Fair Lady (9 min)
  • Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964 (5 min)
  • Rex Harrison Golden Globe Acceptance Speech (1 min)
  • Academy Awards Ceremony Highlights 4/5/1965
  • Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals (7 min)
  • Sketch Gallery (1 min)
  • B&W Stills (60 min)
  • Color Production Stills (7 min)
  • Documents and Publicity (5 min)
  • Poster Cards with Rex Harrison Radio Interview (1 min)
  • Comments on a Lady with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Martin Scorsese (3 min)

{2jtab: Trailer}

{/2jtabs}

 

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video My Fair Lady (1964) - Blu-ray Movie Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes