Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1964. Warner Bros.. Screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner, based on his musical play adapted from the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. Cinematography by Harry Stradling Sr.. Produced by Jack L. Warner. Music by Andre Previn. Production Design by Cecil Beaton. Costume Design by Cecil Beaton. Film Editing by William H. Ziegler. Academy Awards 1964. Golden Globe Awards 1964.
Audrey Hepburn does a terrific job (even without doing her own singing) as heroine Eliza Dolittle, a flower-selling Cockney girl who is turned into an elegant woman by the whining and abrasive Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison). Lerner and Loewe did a beautiful job with adapting George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion to musical theatre without compromising its dramatic integrity, and George Cukor has brought the story to film without destroying any of the stage musical’s verve or joy. Not to mention splendour, since Cecil Beaton’s costume and set designs are some of the luverliest seen on film to date. Harrison is exceptionally brilliant as the childish and vulgar yet totally vulnerable professor; his performance of “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” is always moving and a perfect example of the composers’ understanding of Shaw’s dialogue. The beautiful Ascot scene really stands out, and Gladys Cooper as Higgins’ mother has some hilarious moments (Upon seeing him for the first time in months: “Henry! What a disagreeable surprise, I thought you promised never to come to Ascot!”).