A flower girl blossoms into an exquisite woman February
The opening scenes of the rain-drenched cobblestone roads and
theatrical backdrop lend a stage feel to a film adaptation of
the Lerner & Loewe musical. Since it was based on George
Bernard Shaw's 1913 play "Pygmalion", you won't mind
the occasional "stage" echoes. In fact, that adds to
We find Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) selling flowers and
spewing out the most dreadful words in a Cockney accent. It is
really almost unbearable, but don't turn the movie off as it
doesn't last too long. Audrey Hepburn is perhaps the most
beautiful actress to ever grace the screen in my humble opinion.
Here, she shines and is only a wall flower for the first part of
the movie. Later she blossoms into an exquisite woman who could
win the heart of any man. It is truly her best acting.
Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) and Colonel Pickering
discover her selling flowers and after Professor Higgins throws
money into her flower basket we expect the two will never meet
again. Eliza has other ideas and proudly marches up to the
professor's home and demands to be taught to speak like a lady.
Colonel Pickering then makes a bet with Professor Higgins and
says that if he can turn this uncultured "gutter
snipe" with a "simply ghastly" accent into a
sophisticated, elegant duchess, he will pay for all the
expenses. (Reminiscent of "Trading Places" to give a
modern example) It is just irresistible to the professor and so
he takes on a challenge for six months.
Higgins arrogant attitude will make you laugh. He is humorously
as unaware of other's feelings as he is of his own. He is at
first very unlikable, yet made me laugh through the whole movie.
You will enjoy his eccentric view of life and cunning attitude
as he tempts Eliza with chocolates.
When you hear "I Could Have Danced All Night," you
will know why this will become one of your favorite musicals.
"On the Street Where You Live" always makes me cry.
The script is superb and humorous in so many places. you will
find yourself crying, laughing, and becoming increasingly
enchanted as the movie progresses. I love this line:
"The great secret in life is not a question of good
manners or bad manners, or any particular sort of manners, but
having the same manner for all human souls." -Professor
Higgins and Eliza have quite a few passionate verbal
exchanges which are quite amusing. Eliza says: "I want a
little Kindness." and we immediately know that love is the
only aspect missing from this relationship. Higgins has to learn
to love and that to me is the undercurrent in this movie. While
Eliza learns to speak well, Higgins learns to love well.
This unlikely romance is food for the soul. The ending is
unpredictable and cute. The movie is sumptuously filmed and it
is undeniable witty and sophisticated. The costumes and hair
styles are the most elegant I have ever seen. If you enjoy
ironic, intellectual comedy, be prepared to also fall in love
with the most irresistible songs of all time. This enduring
classic could not have been pulled off without Audrey Hepburn.
No one could have played Henry Higgins like Rex Harrison!
There is a beauty about this movie which is just as eternal
as love. You will want to own your own copy so you can watch it
again and again. It has never lost its charm for me.