My Fair Lady versus Pretty Woman

     Throughout the semester, a number of films that we have watched in class seem to remind me of many films made during my generation. An example of such would be the similarities between the 1964 "Cinderella" story of My Fair Lady and the 1990 story of Pretty Woman. While the names and professions of the characters have changed, the idea of a pretty face finding sophistication and love from a stranger is all there.

     In the 1964 version of My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion and Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe's 1956 play, Audrey Hepburn plays a penniless flower girl on the streets of London with only her quick, but grammatically incorrect, tongue to keep her out of trouble. One fortunate day, the brilliant but bitter doctor, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), comes along to change Eliza's life forever. Looking at Pretty Woman, we have Julia Roberts, playing a penniless "hooker" with her own sassy walk and talk and lack of options, living in the Los Angeles area just trying to stay alive. Call it her lucky day; I know I would. Richard Gere, in his tux and sports car, arrives and, in the long run, saves the day for Julia's character.

     So here we have two very abstract, but similar plot lines produced over a thirty-year gap from one another. Looking deeper, we can even find more than a similar plot to see connections. For the female character, not only does she get taken off the streets, but she is also given a new home, nicer clothes, experiences or interactions with society, an education of sorts, and a growing attachment to her new companion. For the male character, much of his wealth is spent on his new "investment"; both males are both very educated but feel alienated from their peers; their overall demeanor is altered due to the new ladies in their lives; and both make hasty decisions throughout the entire work. The almost coincidental similarities are how both leading males have a male confidant each and how both women are tested on appearance and poise and some kind of a horse-related sport. Coincidence I think not!

Ginny L. Snow

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