The Fairest Lady

     The musical film My Fair Lady was produced in 1964 in cooperation with Frederick Loewe, Alan J. Lerner, authors of the 1956 musical play, and producer Jack Warner. This musical, directed by George Cukor, was a color version based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 version of Pygmalion. In this version, Audrey Hepburn played Eliza Doolittle, a dirty flower girl transformed into a lady by phonetics. This transformation was completed through the help of two men, Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) and Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White).

     Even though My Fair Lady seemed to be a glossy and smooth version of Pygmalion, I believe that Audrey Hepburn truly coined the phrase "fair lady" in this film. From the very beginning Audrey, in her portrayal of Eliza, did not seem to be as vile, dirty, and unlearned as that of the role of Eliza in Pygmalion. With her delicate features and frame she seemed to elaborate on a transformation that seemed only as her natural state. Through her use of vocal exaggeration, she likewise completed her transformation with ease. Thus, phonetics basically seemed to appear as that missing puzzle piece for this lady in the making.

     In closing, My Fair Lady was a wonderful and colorful musical. Audrey Hepburn in her role as Eliza Doolittle basically gave life to this play. Through her energetic mannerisms to her overall graceful ability, she brought something to the screen that can only be described as color and warmth. In essence, from her role as a dirty flower girl she completed the transformation to emerge as the fairest, most graceful, lady of them all.

Krysta Ernstberger

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