Guttersnipe Girl

        The tale is about a 'guttersnipe' Cockney flower girl heroine, Eliza (Audrey Hepburn), who is trained by a misogynistic, bachelor linguistics expert, Higgins (Rex Harrison) to speak properly within six months: the result of a daring challenge from and a bet with Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White). During her elocution lessons, her unrepentant, calculating drunk father, Alfred P. Doolittle (Stanley Holloway) appears for handouts, and she makes an embarrassing first appearance at the opening day Ascot Races, but she catches the eye of high-born but poor Freddie Eynsford-Hill (Jeremy Brett). Although she experiences personal triumph within high society at the Embassy Ball and wins her teacher's love, she storms off after being transformed--only to return by film's end. This is the story told so beautifully in George Cukor's 1964 My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion.

        Elegantly-dressed, high-society opera-goers are leaving after a performance and heading for horse-drawn cabs and motorized vehicles. They begin bustling about to find shelter when rain begins to fall. Street vendors cover their wares in the marketplace. Young Freddie Eynsford-Hill collides with Eliza Doolittle, a disheveled Cockney flower vendor, while looking for a cab for his mother Mrs. Eynsford-Hill (Isobel Elsom).

        Once Higgins is in his home, he returns to the laboratory where he gave speech lessons to Eliza. He turns on the phonograph; and, in a melancholy pose, he listens to a recording he made when Eliza first came to his home to request elocution lessons. As Eliza walks up behind him while he reminisces, and he hears himself accept the challenge to re-make her into a lady: "It's almost irresistible. She's so deliciously low. So horribly dirty. I'll take it! I'll make a duchess of this draggle-tailed guttersnipe," she turns the phonograph off and speaks to him to fill in her line of dialogue in her unwashed Cockney accent. Slowly, he realizes that she has followed him back home and returned.

Misty Hays

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