The Elegance of Yesteryear

        George Cukor's 1964 My Fair Lady, based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion, is a well-made movie, and it has elegance and beauty that the movies of today lack. The colors used are bright and vibrant. The costumes are well tailored and detailed. Each scene is carefully planned out, and the sets are well made and decorated to the smallest detail.

        In the scene where Mr. Higgins (Rex Harrison) takes Eliza (Audrey Hepburn) to the Ascot race track opening day to meet his mother (Gladys Cooper) and test Eliza's speech skills the careful planning of details of the set and costumes can be easily seen. It can be clearly seen that the color scheme for this scene is black and white. Using black and white is usually used to show elegance and or give an uncomfortable look. The black and white scheme does an excellent job in showing both of these during this scene. It shows how uneasy Eliza feels about being there among so much stunning excellence since she is under pressure to do well and now allow anyone to discover who she really is. Unfortunately, her outburst when Dover wins proclaims her Cockney heritage.

        The ball room scene, during which Eliza triumphs, is done in light colors to show cleanliness, elegance, and gracefulness. The costumes also have great detail especially Eliza's dress. It is done in white and decorated with lots of diamonds. Her necklace, earrings and tiara complement her dress and make her more decorated than the other women at the ball so she stands out against them.

        Most movie makers of today do not concentrate on making something that is elegant and beautiful. They want movies saturated with action, drama, horror, and bloodshed. My Fair Lady reminds us of a time when things seemed more innocent and many more people wanted movies that were beautiful to behold.

Ashley Veigl

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