Tag Archives: Rex Harrison

My Fair Lady Redone: I Doubt It Will Be Loverly

20 Feb

Preface:
You may recall that although I’m confused by perky people, I love me a musical. If you are unfamiliar with My Fair Lady (Oh my word! How could that be?), this post may mean very little to you. I urge you to go out and rent the movie. Go ahead. I’ll wait here.

I just found out that one of my favorite movie musicals, My Fair Lady, is going to be redone and I am not pleased. I am against messing with a classic and I am particularly loyal to that musical. At eight years old, I could sing every word of “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” and because I don’t do musical reenactments halfway, I could sing it with the cockney accent and everything. I would watch the nearly 3 hour movie over and over until my grandma threatened to take away my parasol. (Well, you can’t act out that fabulously fashionable racetrack scene without a parasol…)

Just you wait Henry Higgins! You'll fall for Eliza eventually!

The feminist in me is  embarrassed to admit how fascinated I am with the romance in My Fair Lady. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch Mr. Higgins’ terrible treatment of Eliza. (She ate marbles because of that man! He called her a heartless guttersnipe!) He wins me over by the time he breaks into “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” (Incidentally, I believe that’s one of my top 5 favorite musical songs.) That part at the end, after Eliza has left him and he’s at his mother’s house? He looks at his feisty mom and says bewilderedly “She’s gone. What….what am I to do?” Boom. Give me a Team Higgins shirt and fetch the man his damn slippers, I’m hooked.

It’s terrible and I’m ashamed of myself, but there it is. I’ll bet the same side of my brain that goes gooey for Henry Higgins is also responsible for my unreasonable love for the musical Grease–another musical that doesn’ t send the best message for females. I’ll have to ask my cog-sci major friend. Maybe my amygdala is more of a Pygmalion-ygdala.

There’s talk that the upcoming remake of My Fair Lady will feature Colin Firth as Mr. Higgins. In fact, Sony allegedly won’t make the film without him. Now, Mr. Darcy Colin Firth is a fine actor. He is the MASTER of the quiet, emotionally-tortured facial expression. I dig him in Bridget Jones’ Diary. (You could say that I like him just the way he is.) I even liked him in Mamma Mia and What a Girl Wants. Everyone thinks he’s all but guaranteed the Oscar for The King’s Speech. But hear me now: I just don’t see him as Mr. Higgins. He’d have to be arrogant and slightly verbally abusive and “too cool” to joyfully leap out of his chair when the woman he loves comes home to him. Henry Higgins is not quiet and he’s not awkward and cutie Colin will not have the chance to show how sad his eyes can look. I can see him as Colonel Pickering, maybe, but not Henry.

I just think they should leave well enough alone. Can’t you Hollywood hotshots come up with NEW ideas? Remember, trying to re-do an already wonderful film is an uphill battle. If you screw around with the story or the scenes or the characters too much then you’ll have rabid fans after you. (Yes, there ARE rabid musical fans.) And if you stick too closely to the original oldy-but-goody then you run the risk of being accused of copying. The way I see it, you’re damned if you do and damned if you do, so I’ll be damned if I’m going to support you.

…………Okay, yes, there’s a certain twisted irony to my aversion to this remake. The My Fair Lady movie I am stubbornly clinging to was, if you think about it, a remake of the Broadway play with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. The Broadway play was an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion. I’m no Kevin Bacon, but that’s several degrees of un-separation and a history of screwing with the original.

But still. A My Fair Lady remake? No. Just…no.

Even though I know you’ve rushed out and rented and watched the film by now, here’s the ending (with my favorite song) for your viewing pleasure.