Eliza Doolittle’s Extreme Makeover

         It seems like the only thing on the television these days are reality shows. One of the most popular types are the makeover shows, whether it be making an "ugly" girl "pretty" (The Swan) or teaching a man how to be more open (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy). Regardless, the same principle applies to these shows, take something bad and make it better. That is the same principle in the 1964 George Cukor movie My Fair Lady. This movie is based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion. My Fair Lady could be titled "Eliza Doolittle's Extreme Makeover" in my opinion.

         The movie introduces us to Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) who bets he can teach a flower girl named Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) to become a lady. He teaches her phonetics daily, and he also gives her a new wardrobe and way of life. Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White) helps her become a cultivated well-mannered lady during the process. After a pretty lengthy film, he finally proves she is a lady by taking her to ball with royalty. She fools everyone there! In the meantime however, Eliza meets a young aristocrat Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Jeremy Brett) who falls madly in love with her. When Professor Higgins takes all the credit for Eliza's makeover, she tries to leave him for Freddy. Higgins then realizes he cannot live without her. At the end of the movie, Eliza unlike her counterpart in Shaw's original play, realizes she cannot live without him, either.

         This is a perfect example of a happy ending after an extreme makeover that is often portrayed in the television shows today. People wonder why the shows are such a success, but it is obvious that this concept was a success back in the sixties, as well!

Amber Lyles

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