Henry Higgins the Vague

         The 1964 musical cinematic production of the 1913 GeorgeBernard Shaw play Pygmalion, My Fair Lady, directed by George Cukor, does not quite jump on the bandwagon like so many ordinary stories. The term "ordinary" implies a story of triumph of our main character with a little bit of love thrown in the mix somewhere. My Fair Lady just does not follow the guidelines when it comes to the bandwagon. This story walks its own path and leaves us wondering at the end.

         Our lovely Eliza Doolittle (Aubrey Hepburn) is certainly worthy of a suitor, but one wonders if she thinks of love at all. She is more worried with her station in life, always reminding us with her, "Aww I'm a good girl I am!" She hints at enjoying the company of Higgins (Rex Harrison) but also has some animosity for him. Exactly what kind of girl would not! He is more verbally abusive to women than any bad husband could hope to be. He rarely lets Eliza know his full intentions for her, spinning her head with insults until she is blind with rage at Higgins. Only Higgins does not let on that he is becoming accustomed to her, thinks she is attractive "When cleaned up" and maybe even likes her. His vagueness stretches as far as his own psyche, telling himself he wishes women could be more like men. Men are better company he says. Whenever a woman comes around, things are all together worse.

         Henry Higgins the Vague is the same way to everyone including himself. When he takes Eliza to meet royalty a lady of upper-class station comments that Eliza looks as if she has just walked out of a garden. Higgins replies, "Well, she has come from a garden of sorts." How vague is that?! He answers the madam's question but not really. He never alludes to who she is but never says who she is not. Higgins is a brilliant isolator. He can isolate himself from society by being vague, just as he isolates himself from Eliza.

         Eliza finally finds herself of some worth in this world, but she thinks that worth has been manipulated to fit what all women of this age is to be expected. She decides to put a hole in the river and leaves Higgins. Only when she is gone, does Higgins finally come around to appreciate Eliza. "Eliza would know where my notes are." "Where is my coffee? I was supposed to have coffee instead of tea! Where is Eliza?" Higgins misses her, has become accustomed to her nature, even her face.

         Henry Higgins the Vague would be a much more pleasant man if he were to just come out with his feelings every so often. He and Eliza could have a wonderful relationship, the two of them wanting to be accepted by the other only not knowing how to show it. Higgins secretly yearns to be loved; to avoid the comma splice] he just has not known the feeling and distances himself from women as a higher authority.

         Henry Higgins the Vague.....so sad if you really think about it. He should say what he means and he would get along wonderfully.

Josh Coffey

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