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My Fair Lady (1964)

tomatometer

95

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 40 | Rotten: 2

Fans of the play may miss Julie Andrews in the starring role -- particularly when Marni Nixon's singing comes out of Audrey Hepburn's mouth -- but the film's charm is undeniable.

89

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 1

Fans of the play may miss Julie Andrews in the starring role -- particularly when Marni Nixon's singing comes out of Audrey Hepburn's mouth -- but the film's charm is undeniable.

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 184,848

My Rating

Movie Info

At one time the longest-running Broadway musical, My Fair Lady was adapted by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe from the George Bernard Shaw comedy Pygmalion. Outside Covent Garden on a rainy evening in 1912, dishevelled cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) meets linguistic expert Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). After delivering a musical tirade against "verbal class distinction," Higgins tells his companion Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White) that, within six months, he could

Aug 5, 2003

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (42) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (2) | DVD (25)

Despite all reservations expressed, I must make clear that his fantastically successful show has been converted into a generally entertaining film.

February 6, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A marvelous restoration of the 30-year-old musical, precisely the kind of high-class popular entertainment that Hollywood can't seem to make these days.

January 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A stunningly effective screen entertainment.

February 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Lerner and Loewe's musical masterwork, reimagined for film by director George Cukor.

December 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hepburn is clearly awkward as the Cockney Eliza in the first half, and in general the adaptation is a little too reverential to really come alive.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All things considered, it is the brilliance of Miss Hepburn as the Cockney waif who is transformed by Prof. Henry Higgins into an elegant female facade that gives an extra touch of subtle magic and individuality to the film.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Great story, great music, awful ending.

March 24, 2014 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

With elegance and taste, George Cukor rightly preserves the theatricality of the enterprise and provides a joyful experience to savour again and again.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Even if the story is quite simple, the film, as directed by the legendary George Cukor, achieves various levels of depth, particularly because of the way in which he turns it into a keen gender study.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Stylised and stylish, there's something gloriously timeless about My Fair Lady.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Well made musical, with more personal Cukor style and themes than is sometimes realized.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

A wonderfully stylish and witty movie classic.

February 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

An elegant musical with some top class tunes -- the last of a dying breed of big-buck productions.

February 20, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

One of Hollywood's best musicals.

February 25, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This remains one of [Hepburn] best-loved roles.

December 13, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audrey Hepburn's dramatic transformation makes My Fair Lady an entertaining musical experience.

November 21, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Superb rendering of stage musical with stellar cast and production.

July 27, 2006
Dispatch-Tribune Newspapers

Cukor's screen version is classy in the positive and negative sense of this term: Lavish and elegant but also bloated, overlong, and theatrical.

July 23, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

The last great musical of classical era. Marni Nixon is brilliant.

December 21, 2004
Greenwich Village Gazette

The charisma of the leads, the gratifying (if poorly paced) story arc and the hummable tunes allow us to get past some of the film's cinematic weaknesses.

March 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

I'll take it over Oliver! and Gigi any day of the week.

February 24, 2004
Creative Loafing

Audience Reviews for My Fair Lady

Henry Higgins bets that he can turn cockney Eliza Doolittle into a lady.
The play on which this musical is based and the film are profoundly interesting. The conception of rhetoric and its relationship to identity are thoroughly explored. By changing Eliza's language does Higgins change who she is? Is that form of education robbing her of her independence and identity? Is that even what we mean by "education?" Should language be changed to fit societal norms? The film and play poses these questions and answers very few.
Audrey Hepburn is delightful as always, and Rex Harrison is the perfect conceited intellectual. The love plot is charming and made me smile more than once. The only problem I had with the film's performances is Harrison's singing. He more spoke his words in rhythm than sang them, but after a while, this delivery grew on me.
*Spoiler Alert*
I wish the story ended differently. There wasn't enough humility on the part of the love-vanquished Professor Higgins, and the final shot of Eliza getting his slippers made me think that neither of these characters learned enough.
Overall, this film is very good, a fine representation of its source material.
October 8, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Pygmalion is a great film but not as charming as this My Fair Lady, a very adorable musical version of the same play full of delightful songs and with a splendid cast - but even so, Doolittle's change doesn't appear as gradual here, and the film ends on a rather vexing, sexist conclusion.
March 4, 2013
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

This is George Cukor's lavish, large budget musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's comedy Pygmalion, and the result is something actually quite spectacular. I've always looked at this stroy as being maybe a bit girly, but it's really not the case. It's a very entertaining, and actually quite hilarious (at times) look at class differences and finding one's place in life.

Rex Harrison is Professor Henry Higgins, a wealthy, cultured, and highly educated lphoneticist who makes a bet with his colleague Colonel Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White) that he can take an uncouth cockney flower girl (Audrey Hepburn) and transform her into a duchess by the time the Embassy Ball comes around. It's a tale as old as time, but a quite endearing one nonetheless, especially since several more versions have been filmed since this one, namely Pretty Woman and She's All That.

This particular telling of the story though is one that's quite special. It's rightly regarded as a classic, and one of the best musicals ever. I won't disagree. The music is great, as is the singing ,even though Harrison mostly talk-sings, and Hepburn got dubbed over by someone else. Now that's I've finally seen this version, I'm able to see yet another musical that has been quite influential on Seth MacFarlane, mostly with his show Family Guy. Not only did they make an episode that's a nonmusical remake of this film's presence, but Rex Harrison (his appearance, voice, and mannerisms) is one of the primary influences on the character of Stewie.

The story evolves as you think it might, with there being lots of ups and downs, trials and tribulations, and some successes as well as missteps. For the longest time though, the film prrogresses in a rather realistic way by starting to end rather bittersweetly instead of a sappy romantic happy ending. However, shades of this latter ending do start to rear their head, but not enough so to make me totally angry or derail things. Also, while a lot of the music is good, it's not all great, so these reasons are mainly why I'm giving such an otherwise extremely great and well made film a half star less than perfect.

Could the film be better? Sure. But not by much, As it stands, this is a very fun movie that's far more enjoyable and engaging than the premise might make it seem. The performances are iconic, the sets and costumes stunning, and the tunes are pretty memorable. Give this one a go. It definitely lives up to its reputation.
March 8, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

My Fair Lady is one of those musicals that try to not compare to the source material, but base on it's own terms. If I was to base on it's source material, I would be here for days talking about the ending of this film and why I feel that it was unnecessary. But seeing as how this is based on the film, let's move on.
I never saw this classic film until I got news that I was going to be in my high school's production of the musical of the same name (similar with Fiddler On The Roof). When I first watch this film, I had no expectations and walked in clean minded. What I got was two hours and fifty minutes of a movie that I had seen so many parodies of that I was able to know exactly what was happening and when. Did this take away from the film's charm? No, but for a new generation of viewers, this basically means that they won't have the privilege of being shocked at the events of the film.
The main thing that shocked me about this film is how beautiful and clean this looks. This film was made during a time when color was still relatively new and here it embraces the idea of making this colored in such a gorgeous way that you can't help but admire all that you see. Everything from the dirt poor streets to the magnificent set used for the Ascot Race is... stunning. Yeah, that is the best way to describe this film in terms of looks: magnificent. In a day where almost all films have computer graphics, this film reminds us why we love classic films all over again.
I am still puzzled as to why Julie Andrews did not reprise her role in the film adaption, but in a way, I am kind of glad that Audrey Hepburn played the main female lead. Not only because it meant that Julie Andrews could now play in Mary Poppins, but also because Hepburn would later go on to make the film's main female cockney memorable with her use of the cockney voice. My only complaint is that she never does any of her own singing in this film. Sorry, but that is a distraction to me. I put up with it for as long as I can, but one can only take so much before you wish they allowed her to sing.
Rex Harrison is wonderful as he embodies this role. As I said, I was in an adaption of My Fair Lady and as such, I had to go and watch other performances to understand how this, being the play, would work. One thing I noticed is that no one can preform Professor Higgins at all. Well, not nearly as good as Harrison. He made this role forever in one image and that is all that we need. Many have imitated his Oscar winning performance, but no one has been able to equal him.
That takes me back to what I said earlier: this film is embedded in our pop culture. You don't have to see the film to know how things play out, but you do need to in order to see why this film is really remembered for what it is: a wonderful musical that not only charms people, but continues to delight people with it's off-key romance and songs that are beyond fun to sing to.
February 18, 2012
Zach Brehany

Super Reviewer

    1. Eliza Doolittle: The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
    – Submitted by Joshua T (18 months ago)
    1. Prof. Henry Higgins: [singing] Women are irrational, that's all there is to that! Their heads are full of cotton, hay, and rags. They're nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags!
    – Submitted by Movie M (22 months ago)
    1. Eliza Doolittle: Come on Dover, move your blumin' arse!
    – Submitted by Zev B (2 years ago)
    1. Eliza Doolittle: I washed my hands and face before I come I did.
    2. Prof. Henry Higgins: [elated] ...Eliza? ... Where the devil are my slippers?
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
    1. Prof. Henry Higgins: But I'm used to hear say, 'Good morning' everyday. Her joys, her woes, her highs, her lows. A second nature to me now. Like breathing out and breathing in. I'm very grateful she's a woman! And so easy to forget. Rather like a habit one can always break! And yet, I've grown accustomed to the trace of something in the air. Accustomed to her... face.
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
    1. Eliza Doolittle: Well, you have my voice on your gramophone. When you feel lonely without me you can turn it on. It has no feelings to hurt.
    2. Prof. Henry Higgins: ...I can't turn your soul on.
    – Submitted by Mary Kathryn P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (11)

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