My Fair Lady: Pure Entertaining

        The film My Fair Lady, which is about a young woman, whose name is Eliza, and a linguist called Higgins, is well known in the whole world. However, most people forget that George Bernard Shaw had already created these characters in his famous play Pygmalion (1913). At first, this play was made into the same titled film in 1938 and was directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard. In 1964 the director George Cukor published the film My Fair Lady. The story line of both film versions is based on Shaw’s play, but there are some significant differences. In my opinion, Pygmalion and My Fair Lady are excellent adaptations. Nevertheless, the latter is more popular and successful due to his entertaining factor.

        One difference is that in the beginning of both films Eliza goes to Drury Lane. In Pygmalion she (Wendy Hiller) takes a taxi, whereas in My Fair Lady she (Audrey Hepburn) rides off in the back off a garbage wagon, which has just pure entertainment because it is not as usual as a taxi ride. Moreover, the absolute highlight in My Fair Lady is Eliza’s training process and her transformation, which is just hilarious to watch. For instance, in the scene where Eliza sits in front of a voice recording machine, she has to say “Ha-ha…” in a correct way, so that a flame will spurt in the air. Unfortunately, her script catches fire pretty soon. In Pygmalion this part of the play is only touched. Also the testing out period is more exciting and unusual in My Fair Lady than in Pygmalion. In the latter it is put on stage at Higgins’ house, but in the former Eliza and Higgins (Rex Harrison) attend Ascot horse race, which is a very fabulous and fashionable scene. The most entertaining aspect is that My Fair Lady is a musical. The superb acting of Audrey Hepburn as Eliza and Rex Harrison as Higgins is accompanied by wonderful songs, such as “I’m Getting Married in the Morning.”

        These aspects point out that My Fair Lady is pure entertainment. I consider Pygmalion more as literature with content. However, both films do a really good job and the performances are exceptionally good for that or indeed any time.

Sebastian Mildner