Middle Class Morality

         I saw the 1964 movie My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor and based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play Pygmalion, when I was eight years old. I had the pleasure of seeing this movie at the theatre and I loved it. However, I did not appreciate the musical part of it. I could not understand why they were singing and dancing in their homes and on the street. After I came home, this seemed to change. Though my parents did not dance, they loved to sing many of the songs. My father stood out to me the most, because he sang the songs of Alfred P. Doolittle ( Stanley Holloway). He not only sang them, he also imitated the cockney accent of Doolittle. I loved it.

         The songs of Alfred P. Doolittle are not only uplifting, but they can make us laugh. Doolittle is a highly entertaining character. His philosophy of life seems rather odd to the average person (the middle class). We cannot relate to it very well, but he speaks for himself beautifully. The thing that has begun to stick out to me is that he is content with his lot in life. He is happy being on of the "undeserving poor," and he has no desire to change it. The song he sings with his friends when he is thrown out of the pub, "With a Little Bit of Luck," reinforces this feeling. He is a very happy go lucky kind of guy.

         However, this changes for him as life usually does; and now his joy in life seems to be over. In what would be pleasing to most, he inherits a great deal of money and now has to join the middle class. Once again the lyrics of the song he sings before he has to marry, "I'm Getting Married in the Morning," reinforces his new feeling about his life. He still maintains his humor and accepts what is thrown at him.

         Of course, in both cases he could have bored us with some silly speech; but I really enjoyed the songs. It showed us a highly entertaining and engaging man. It made the change in him more interesting.

         Over the years and many musicals later, I discovered I love all of the singing and dancing. I love musicals and I love this one best of all perhaps because it was my first musical or maybe because of my father. I think it is a shame that life is really not like that.

Deborah Black

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