My Fair Lady (1964)
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Oh my, Higgins really needs a slap in the face.
My Fair Lady is one of the all-time great musicals, no doubt about it. Hadn't seen it since I was a kid, but with adult eyes and ears, it not only still stands up, but becomes even more interesting. Its attack on the class system via language, its takedown of the elitist upper crust, its empowerment of women (note not only the suffragettes in the background but how the story doesn't resolve into the usual romantic formula) and the poor (an effect of America's lack of an aristocracy)... it's all much more socio-political a story than you'd imagine. Whether or not she sings her own songs, Audrey Hepburn is never not watchable as Eliza Doolittle, but it's Rex Harrison's Professor Higgins and his faux wife Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) who are my favorites characters. Harrison in particular manages to portray an arrogant, elitist misogynist and make us like him. And the movie certainly doesn't skimp on the songs, which have particularly good rhyming schemes. Great from start to finish.
I don't know what's sillier—one, that Higgins' method of teaching is having her say words until she inexplicably will start to say them right; or two, that it worked.
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In 17 official lists
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This movie ranks #12 in AFI's 100 years...100 passions
This movie ranks #20 in BAFTA - Best Film
This movie ranks #22 in IMDb's Musical Top 50
This movie ranks #38 in Academy Award Best Pictures
This movie ranks #41 in Golden Globe Best Picture Winners
This movie ranks #65 in Academy Award Best Cinematography
This movie ranks #65 in All Time Box Office
This movie ranks #235 in 501 Must See Movies
This movie ranks #247 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees
This movie ranks #287 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #368 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #410 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #593 in The Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made
This movie ranks #617 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #636 in TimeOut's 1000 Films to Change Your Life
This movie ranks #649 in Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films
This movie ranks #798 in National Film Registry