Colorful Scenes, Costumes, Music

     My Fair Lady, directed by 1964 by George Cukor, is a very long music adaptation of the 1956 musical play, written by Alan J. Lerner and Fredrick Loewe, which was based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion, filmed by 1938 by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard. In this long adaptation many things had to be added to make the story into a musical. One thing, of course, was music, which adds to the story by helping it move along with more than just plain dialog. However, when the story is altered by adding music, then more things must be added or altered, such as some characters, and their costumes, scenes.

     Among the scenes that were changed is the one in which Eliza (Wendy Hiller) is shown off to Mr. Higgins mother (Marie Lohr) takes place in the play and in the movie at Mrs. Higgins' house. However, in the musical this event occurs at the Ascot horse races. The scene is very elaborate with bright costumes and music about the horse track. This scene in the musical is more striking than the one in the play and movie in showing the different worlds of Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) and Mr. Higgins (Rex Harrison).

     The costumes in the entire musical movie are very elaborate compared to that of the older movie. The movie Pygmalion, of course, is in black and white, but one can tell that the costumes are not as colorful shiny as their musical counterpart. In the musical the costumes are colorful and loud and definitely add to, not detract from, the scenes with the music. One example is the scene when they are at the race track. The costumes are very colorful as they really add to the scene.

     The next thing added to the movie is characters. In the movie Pygmalion, there is only the housekeeper, named Mrs. Pearce (Jean Caudill). The music has to add characters to sing parts of the movie. For example, there are more servants in the Higgins' house, than Mrs. Pearce (Mona Washburn) in the musical movie than in the original play and older movie because they sing many parts of the movie. These added details to a musical enhance the story but also make the story longer.

     However, if one enjoys musicals, this is one that I would recommend with its elaborate colorful sets and costumes and music. Even though the story is changed from the original play and movie, My Fair Lady will make one smile and have a good feeling after it is over.

Allison Nall

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