Uncategorized

Announcing The Joseph Cotten Blogathon

Crystal from In the Good Old Days Of Classic Movies has asked me to co-host this blogathon with her. I was delighted to accept her invitation to be co-host. I really hope that you will all be able to join us both as we celebrate the life and career of the hugely talented classic film era actor, Joseph Cotten.

For this blogathon you can write about any of Joseph’s films. You can write about him as an actor. You can write about your favourite Joseph Cotten performances and screen characters. You can write more than one entry if you want to.

We will be accepting two duplicates per screen title, but no more than this as he made so many films, so there is lots for you to choose from.

The blogathon will be held on the  5th, 6th and 7th of September, 2018. There will also be a wrap up post held on the 8th. We picked these dates because September 5th marks the 77th anniversary of the release of Citizen Kane, which is one of Joseph’s most famous films.

I will be hosting on the 5th, and Crystal will be hosting on the 6th and 7th. Let one or both of us know what you would like to write about. 

Please check the particiaption list below to see who is writing about what. Please take one of the banners and pop it on your site somewhere to help to promote the event.

Participation List

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Portrait Of Jennie

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: My three favourite Joseph Cotten performances

Lifesdailylessonsblog: The Killer Is Loose

Love Letters To Old Hollywood: Love Letters

Cinematic Scribblings: Lo Scopone Scientifico 

Caftan Woman: Walk Softly Stranger

Are You Thrilled: Niagara

Realweegiemidgetreviews:  Dead Weight(episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents)

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: An ABC Of Joseph Cotten

Musings Of A Classic Film Addict: Lydia

Down These Mean Streets: The Third Man

Taking Up Room: Citizen Kane and Joseph and the Mercury Theatre

Anybody Got A Match?: Shadow Of A Doubt

The Midnite Drive-In: The Hearse

The Dream Book Blog: A Delicate Balance

Popcorn and Flickers: Too Much Johnson

Dubism: Tora, Tora, Tora: The Attack On Pearl Harbor

The Stop Button: Gaslight

Karavansara: Journey Into Fear

Wide Screen World: The Farmer’s Daughter

I Found It At The Movies: Topic to be decided

A Shroud Of Thoughts: Shadow Of A Doubt

MovieRobBlueprint For Murder, The Oscar and Soylent Green

Mike’s Take On The Movies: Two Flags West

Back To Golden Days: Since You Went Away

Critica Retro: I’ll Be Seeing You

Old Hollywood Films: Duel In The Sun

Moon In Gemini: The Steel Trap

Blogie and Bacall: Joseph Cotten as an actor

Poppity: Under Capricorn

Hamlette The Dame: Gaslight

 

Joseph 2

Joseph 3

Joseph 3

 

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Uncategorized

My Small Personal Connection To Classic Films

Something a little different today. I have a small personal link to classic film that I’d like to share with you all. It’s kind of a six degrees of separation thing.

I have a very dear friend called Mike. He knows of and shares my great love for all things classic film related. He recently spoke to me about his own family link to classic era films. I thought I’d share with you all what he told me, because I think that it happens to be pretty awesome. 🙂

Mike’s dad’s cousin was married to Tony Sforzini. Now you may well be asking yourselves right now, who on earth is Tony Sforzini?  Allow me to tell you who he was. Tony was a make-up artist and was also a make-up supervisor, and he worked on a large number of British classic era films. He worked on films from the early 1940’s until the mid 1970’s.

Tony worked quite often on the British films of the actor and director Laurence Olivier. Mike doesn’t know if they were friends or just colleagues, but what is certain is that Tony did work on a large number of Olivier’s films over the years including Hamlet, Henry V, The Prince and the Showgirl and The Entertainer

I know that some actors and directors like to work with the same crew a lot, so maybe Laurence Olivier loved his work and kept on requesting that Tony work with him.

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A photo that Mike sent to me. This shows Tony applying some make-up to the actor Michael Redgrave. This could be for the film Shake Hands With The Devil, in which Michael Redgrave starred.

When he was younger, Mike visited Tony at work over in Ireland, this visit was to the set of the film Shake Hands With The Devil (1959). On the set Mike watched Tony work his make-up magic, and if that wasn’t exciting enough, Mike also got to meet James Cagney! (you can imagine how envious I was when he told me this) James was there because he was the main star of this film. 

Mike was aware of who James Cagney was, but he wasn’t really aware at that age of just how big a star this man actually was. Mike told me that James spoke to him and that he was very friendly. Mike said that if he had been a bit older at the time he met James then he would have most likely asked him lots of questions, and he would have tried to talk to him for a bit longer than he actually did.   

Mike shared with me the following recollections of his visit to the set. 

“The film was Shake Hands with the Devil and on the day that I was there, apart from James Cagney, there was a scene being filmed with Christopher Rhodes questioning Don Murray who was supposed to be lying on a prison bed (it was actually a camera man rolling around as he was being punched).
 
The only ‘stars’ I saw apart from James Cagney who did a scene where he breaks into the prison to rescue Don Murray, were Don Murray and Donal Donnelly.
 
They were talking as Don Murray was being made up to look as though his character had been beaten up by the British. There may have been other actors in the studio on the day, but I didn’t recognise them. The only other thing I remember is that co-star Glynis Johns dressing room was full of Teddy Bears.”

So that is my small link to classic films. I just wanted to share this with you. Hopefully this post will also help to raise awareness of Tony Sforzini. Keep an eye out for his name in the credits the next time you watch a classic era British film!

Do you have a personal connection to classic film? Share your story. 

Uncategorized

Announcing The World War One On Film Blogathon

This year is the centenary of the end of WW1. The horror and immense slaughter of the trenches has been the focus of many films and TV series over the years. I wanted to mark the real life anniversary of the end of this war by getting us all to write about the many depictions of WW1 found on screen. 

For this blogathon you can write about any feature film, TV film, TV episode, or documentary which focuses on WW1. Films, series and documentaries from any era are very welcome.

You can write about films or series set on the battlefield. You can write about films and series focusing on soldiers,sailors, pilots and medics. You can write about films and series focusing on soldiers coming home from the war and dealing with their injuries and shell shock. You can write about films and series taking place on the homefront during this time.

The blogathon will be held on the 10th and 11th of November, 2018. Please post your entries on either of those two days. You are very welcome to post your entries early too. I will accept two duplicate posts per screen title.

You can write more than one post if you want to. Previously published articles and reviews are welcome too.

Please check the participation list below to see who is writing about what. Please take the banner below and pop it on your site somewhere to help advertise the event.

Participation List

Maddy Loves Her Classic Films: King and Country and All Quiet On The Western Front(1930)

Lifesdailylessonsblog: Gallipoli

Realweegiemidgetreviews: My Boy Jack

Cinematic Scribblings: The Spy In Black and The Green Room

Down These Mean Streets: Waterloo Bridge(1940)

Movie Movie Blog Blog: Block-Heads

Caftan Woman: Broken Lullaby

The Stop Button: The Life and Death Of Colonel Blimp

Silver Screen Classics: Gallipoli

Dubism: Sergeant York and Paths Of Glory

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood: Wings

The Wonderful World Of Cinema: Au revoir la-haut

Silver Screenings: The Grand Illusion 

The Midnite-Drive In: The Christmas Truce Of 1914(documentary) and Joyeux Noel(film)

Thoughts All Sorts: Der Rote Baron

Movierob: The Blue Max and The Fighting 69th

Movie Crash Course: The Big Parade

Silent-ology:  Soldier Man

Sat In Your Lap: The Last Flight & Heroes For Sale

Pop Culture Reverie: Wonder Woman

18 Cinema Lane: Sgt Stubby: An American Hero

Back To Golden Days: All Quiet On The Western Front & The Dawn Patrol

Critica Retro: J’Accuse

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Noir, Uncategorized

Blade Runner Reimagined as a Classic Era Noir Film

I really love Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Science Fiction Noir film Blade Runner. I watched the film again recently, and I found myself wondering what this film would have been like if it had been made as a Noir film in the 1940’s or 1950’s.

So I sat and had a long think about who to direct and who to cast in this classic Noir version of the film.

The Director

I would have had Fritz Lang and Edward Dmytryk co-direct this film. I thought of Fritz Lang because of his stellar work in creating a futuristic city and society in his film Metropolis. That expertise would have been much needed to create the futuristic looking city the film is set in.

Lang also directed one of the darkest and most brutal Noir films, The Big Heat, so I’m pretty sure that he would have had no trouble bringing a Sci-Fi Noir film to the screen. 

I thought of Edward Dmytryk because he directed the best Noir film (in my opinion)Murder My Sweet(1944); this is a film which oozes Noir from every single frame. He would have done wonders with the characters, the lighting, and with the overall look and mood of the film I think. 

The Cast

I thought of Charles McGraw for the role of Detective Rick Deckard.

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Charles McGraw. Screenshot by me.

I think that Charles could give Deckard the tough quality he needs as a replicant hunter(known as Blade Runners). I also think that he could show the softer side of the man when necessary in certain scenes.

 

I thought of Gene Tierney for the role of Rachel, a woman who may or may not be a replicant. Gene always did a good job of playing haughty, reserved women with a hint of mystery about them.

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Gene Tierney. Screenshot by me.

I also think that she could easily capture the unreadable and troubled aspects of the character, while also being able to make her vulnerable and innocent during certain scenes.

 

I thought of Robert Ryan for the role of Roy Batty, the intelligent and violent leader of the escaped replicants.

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Robert Ryan. Screenshot by me.

I think that he could easily convey the intensity, the strength and the rage of Roy, yet also perfectly capture his emotional struggle and also convey his gentle and tender side too. 

 

I thought of Clifton Webb for the role of Dr. Tyrell, the intellectual and scientific genius who created the replicants.

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Clifton Webb. Screenshot by me.

Clifton always convinced as intelligent characters who were self assured, dignified, smug and confident. I think he would be perfect in this role. 

 

I thought of Gloria Grahame for the role of Pris, who is one of the escaped replicants. I think Gloria would be a good choice because she always had a mix of childlike innocence about her and conveyed intelligence and sultriness at the same time.

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Gloria Grahame. Screenshot by me.

Pris is a character who looks innocent, is curious, is childlike at times, and is also a very smart and manipulative woman. I think Gloria would have been awesome in this role.

 

I thought of Marie Windsor for the role of Zhora, another of the escaped replicants who won’t give up without a fight. Marie always had a toughness about her that I think would make her perfect for this role.

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Marie Windsor. Screenshot by me.

I also think that Marie would have been great in the club scenes. I think she would have been terrific in the scene in the dressing room where Zhora shows no inhibitions around Deckard. 

 

I thought of Edward G. Robinson for the role of J.F Sebastian, the genetic designer who works alongside Dr. Tyrell. Sebastian is kind to Roy and Pris and he takes them to see Tyrell.

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Edward G. Robinson. Screenshot by me.

I thought of Eddie G because he had a knack for playing kind and well meaning characters who get themselves in a situation that they can’t easily get back out of. I think he would been able to convey the intelligence of his character, also his good nature, and also his fear of Roy. 

 

Would you have watched this film? What do you think of the cast I selected? I’d love to know who you would cast as directors or actors in this. Who would you cast if it had been made outside of America?

Are there any other films which you can imagine as a classic era film? Start a post and share it with us.

Blogathons, Favourite Film Characters

Reel Infatuation Blogathon: Mr. Knightley

RI Banner 2018Silver Screenings and Font and Frock are co-hosting this blogathon celebrating our screen crushes. Be sure to visit their sites to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself.

I have a great many screen crushes, but one character who I really adore is a Jane Austen man. Forget a certain chap called Mr. Darcy, I want you all to put him right out of your minds now.

Say hello instead to a gentleman called Mr. Knightley.  He is the dashing leading man featured in Jane Austen’s 1815 comedy romance novel, Emma. 

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Knightley at a party. Screenshot by me.

Knightley is a playful, gentle, teasing, smouldering, kind, tender and all round adorable and decent guy.

As played by the talented Jeremy Northam in Emma(1996), Knightley is also one of the sexiest and hottest men ever seen on the screen. Be still my beating heart! 😉 

Why do I like Knightley so much? Well for starters because he is the kind of guy who mates for life. He loves Emma with all of his heart, and you just know that he will never hurt or betray her.

Knightley also loves Emma for her personality, rather than desiring her for the extremely shallow reason of mere physical attractiveness alone.

He is also not afraid to be brutally honest with Emma and he will tell her if she has done something nasty or morally wrong. I think that part of true love means being able to be completely honest and open with one another, and also to be able to point out and question unforgivable behaviour that one or both of you may exhibit. Knightley does just this when he tells Emma off for her cruel words to Miss Bates at the picnic and points out why those words were so horrible for her to say.

Knightley is the type of man that we all long to have in our lives (if we’re being honest with ourselves), someone who is a friend, a soulmate, a lover, and someone who accepts you for who you are warts and all.  

Northam’s Knightley also gets to deliver the most romantic and touching proposal speech I’ve ever heard. The proposal scene itself is gorgeous to watch. Knightley and Emma are in a wood and they are both bathed in sunlight. The words that Knightley utters to Emma in this moment are sincere, romantic, and they really touch my heart.

Knightley: “Marry me. Marry me, my wonderful, darling friend.”

                                          Part of the proposal scene. Screenshot by me.

Aww!  I’m telling you that this scene is the stuff that dreams are made of. 🙂 

If the beautiful proposal speech were not enough to get you wishing that he was your man, then the way Knightley looks at Emma in this scene should certainly do it. He looks at her with such tenderness and with a warm smile which will melt your heart. You can see how much he loves her and how much she loves him.

You can also see how desperately Knightely wants Emma to accept his proposal. Emma gazes back at him with an expression of equal love and desire on her face. It’s a beautiful moment and Jeremy Northam does such a fantastic job with his portrayal of Knightley. Quite how Jeremy has not become a bigger star over the years is beyond me.

Emma is one lucky lady. I hope she truly realises what a gem of a man she has in Knightley. Right then, I’m off to rewatch Emma (again)and spend some time in the company of the gorgeous Mr. K.  

Any other Knightley fans here?

 

 

 

Favourite Film Characters

Hawksian Women

Howard Hawks is one of my favourite classic era American film directors. I love how the main focus of his films is always the characters. He really lets us see his characters personalities, and he lets us get a good sense of what they are enduring as the film goes along.

Howard shows us his characters strengths, their flaws, and their quirks; he makes his characters come across to us as real people who we can connect to in some way. I really like that in his films men and women are depicted as being equals, this is refreshing to see.

His films also show us that men can have moments where they are vulnerable, and more importantly that it is perfectly fine for them to be vulnerable. Howard Hawks shows us that men don’t have to be tough guys every second of every day. He also shows us that women are not delicate and fragile beings to be protected, they can be as tough, daring, and capable as any man can be. 

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Ann Sheridan in I Married A Male War Bride. Screenshot by me.

I especially love the female characters found in Howard Hawks films. Known as Hawksian Women, these female characters can match the male characters every step of the way.

Howards’s female characters are strong, tough, witty, determined, sexy and opinionated gals.

They can verbally spar with men with great ease. They are also very confident and can easily become one of the boys as and when required. 

I also like that the Hawksian women retain their femininity and that they do not become overly masculine, this is in sharp contrast to some of the strong female characters found in James Cameron’s films. In Cameron’s films women such as Vasquez in Aliens and Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 become more masculine in order to appear tougher.

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Jean Arthur in Only Angels Have Wings. Screenshot by me.

Hawksian women carry both female and male qualities within them, but they never have to grow big muscles and act all macho to prove that they can be one of the boys. 

These characters also gave some of the finest actresses of the day a chance to deliver performances which rank amongst their greatest and most unforgettable film work. 

Although there were many other tough, smart, and strong female characters to be found in other films in the classic era, such female characters were always a regular feature in Howard Hawks films.

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Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. Screenshot by me.

Who can forget Jean Arthur being one of the lads in Only Angels Have Wings? Lauren Bacall as the tough and vulnerable Slim in To Have and Have Not? Rosalind Russell as the fast talking newspaper reporter in His Girl Friday? Charlene Holt and Michele Carey as two very different women in terms of how they dress and make a living, but both being Hawksian women in El Dorado? Barbara Stanwyck as the saucy and wisecracking dancer in Ball Of Fire? Ann Sheridan as the wisecracking Army Lieutenant in I Was A Male War Bride?

I love that in Howard’s films even very minor female characters make quite an impact. Two of of my favourite minor Hawksian women can be found in The Big Sleep(1946).

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Dorothy Malone in The Big Sleep. Screenshot by me.

The first is Dorothy Malone as the woman who works in the bookshop.

She steals every second of the scene she is in with Bogie.We see right away that she is intelligent, observant, focused, sexy, and that she is more than up for something to break up the ordinary rhythm of her working day.

The banter between her and Bogie is first rate and also very risque, and that coupled with the way they eye each other up and down makes you wonder how this scene ever made it past the censors.

I also love how Bogie calls her pal. In so many cases the Hawksian woman is accepted as a friend by men, she becomes one of the gang, and there is often an emotional connection developed long before a relationship turns sexual. I think that Hawksian women represent what marriage and relationships are ideally meant to be all about; friendship, equality and sexual desire. 

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Joy Barlow and Bogie in the Taxi driver scene in The Big Sleep. Screenshot by me.

My other favourite minor character in this film is the taxi driver played by Joy Barlow who helps Marlowe tale a guy who he is after. I love the way she delivers her lines in the back and forth banter between her character and Marlowe.

The taxi driver also stands out because she is a woman doing a job traditionally done by a man. I think that she represents the millions of women who found their independence during WW2, and who wouldn’t give up working after the men arrived back home. 

Undoubtedly the quintessential Hawksian woman is Lauren Bacall. Lauren was discovered by Howard’s second wife, Nancy “Slim” Keith, who saw Lauren’s photo in a magazine and showed it to Howard. He then cast Lauren alongside Humphrey Bogart in To Have and Have Not.

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Lauren Bacall as Slim in To Have and Have Not. Screenshot by me.

Lauren’s character in this is called Slim, and Bogie’s is called Steve. In real life those names were the nicknames that Howard and Nancy called one another by.

Nancy was the Hawksian woman for Howard in real life, and Lauren was the perfect Hawksian woman in his films. 

Lauren conveys all of the necessary Hawksian qualities in her performances as Slim in To Have and Have Not and as Vivian in The Big Sleep. It is really hard for me to imagine any other actress playing those characters in way that Lauren did. 

Sadly the appearance of the Hawksian Woman on screen declined in the late 50’s and early 60’s. In the 80’s and 90’s some female characters emerged who did have all of those Hawksian qualities. Characters like Marion Ravenwood in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Melanie in One Fine Day, Laura Holt in Remington Steele(TV series) and Jennifer Hart in Hart To Hart(TV series) helped keep the Hawksian woman alive in film. Going further back in time, I would also class Nora Charles in The Thin Man films and Tess Harding in Woman Of The Year to be Hawksian Women.  

I love watching Howard Hawks films and seeing all of those smart, strong, inspirational, sexy, funny and fiercely independent women. So many of these characters could serve as role models, as they are women who go after what they want and won’t be held back in the process, women who can work alongside men and fit in with them, without sacrificing their femininity in the process, and women who are smart and determined.  

My favourite Hawksian women are the following. 

Bonnie Lee in Only Angels Have Wings. I love how fun loving and bubbly she is. I also love how she overcomes her shock and anger at how the men in this film deal with grief. It isn’t easy for her to change to their way of dealing with grief and loss, but she gives it a go and she becomes a valued and beloved member of the group of pilots and ground crew.

Slim in To Have and Have Not. I love how she is a survivor, she has been on her own for so long and hasn’t had the best life but she takes care of herself. She is tough but she is also deeply vulnerable and can be easily hurt. When she meets Steve she can let her guard down, he knows she is tough, smart and tough talking, but he also sees what is beneath all that and knows what she has been through and tries to help her see she isn’t alone any more. 

The bookshop lady in The Big Sleep. Smart, observant, and sexy. As a glasses wearer myself, I also really love that she is a character who wears glasses, as there are so few female characters I’ve come across in films of this time who wear them. I always get so mad when things get physical between them and Bogie makes her take them off! LOL

What are your thoughts on Hawksian Women? Who are your favourite female characters in Howard Hawks films?

Blogathons, Films I Love, Musicals, Romance

The Broadway Bound Blogathon: My Fair Lady (1964)

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Rebecca over at Taking Up Room is hosting her first ever blogathon! She has decided to host a blogathon all about Broadway shows. Be sure to visit Rebecca’s site to read all of the entries, I can’t wait to read them all myself. 

I have decided to write about a musical that I love a great deal. It is a story which started out as a stage play, then it became a Broadway musical, and then it was made into an Oscar winning film in 1964. The musical is My Fair Lady.   

My Fair Lady wasn’t always known by this particular title. The musical began its life as a stage play called Pygmalion,which was written in 1912 by George Bernard Shaw. 

The title of Shaw’s play came from the Greek legend of a sculptor called Pygmalion who fell in love with a statue that he had made.

The play was first performed on the stage in 1913.  Shaw always remained adamant that Eliza and Higgins should not become romantically involved, and he fought against any attempts to perform the play with an added romantic happy ending with Higgins and Eliza getting together.

A none musical film version of the story was co-directed by Leslie Howard and Anthony Asquith in 1938. This earlier British screen version is well worth a look for fans of the 1964 film. Leslie Howard plays Higgins and Wendy Hiller plays Eliza.   

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe adapted Shaw’s play and turned it into a very successful stage musical under the new title of My Fair Lady. This musical version made its Broadway debut in New York, on the 15th of March, 1956. The two original stars of this stage version were Rex Harrison in the role of Professor Higgins and Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle.    

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Rex as Higgins. Screenshot by me.

Rex Harrison reprised his role in director George Cukor’s 1964 film adaptation. Try as I might, it is very hard for me to imagine anyone else having played the role of Higgins the way that Rex Harrison did.

I really like Leslie Howard’s portrayal in the 1938 film, but it is Rex’s portrayal of the arrogant, pompous, self-centered, selfish and energetic Higgins that lingers most in my mind. Rex really does a terrific job in the role. I especially love his subtle facial acting where he conveys to us that he is coming to genuinely care about Eliza.

Audrey Hepburn was chosen to play Eliza in Cukor’s film. The still somewhat unknown Julie Andrews was controversially not chosen to reprise her stage role in the film version, despite the fact that she was a brilliant singer and had proved to be a talented actress in the stage play. Ironically, Julie would star in her first film this same year, another musical called Mary Poppins. Not only did she find a place in film audiences hearts with that film, but she also took home the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as the magical nanny.

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Audrey as Eliza. Screenshot by me.

Audrey Hepburn does a good job in this film and she really tries her best, but she is stuck playing a character who I think is always a difficult one for actresses to play.

In every version of this story I’ve seen the actress playing Eliza always struggles with the cockney flower girl scenes and excels at playing the transformed and elegant lady. So it is with Audrey.

Audrey certainly manages to convey Eliza’s sweet nature and her desperate desire to please Higgins by transforming into a refined lady, and she also convinces as the classy society lady. I think that her performance in the first half of the film is very over the top though and I think she also struggles with the cockney accent.

I think that Audrey is at her best in the second half of the film, especially in the slippers scene after the ball, she really makes you feel Eliza’s distress, frustration, and also her overwhelming despair in that particular scene. Audrey also did her own singing but she was then later dubbed over by Marni Nixon.  

I also like how Audrey manages to convey Eliza’s fiercely independent nature and her staunch refusal to change who she is inside. I love Audrey in scenes where Eliza and Higgins are arguing, she really puts so much energy into these shouting scenes and shows us that Eliza won’t back down and give in to Higgins bullying and rudeness. I love her the most when she ferociously gives him a piece of her mind singing the song Without You.  

Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is a flower girl working in Edwardian era London. She becomes the subject of a bet between two phonetics experts, Professor Henry Higgins(Rex Harrison)and Colonel Pickering(Wilfred Hyde-White), when Higgins claims that he can teach her to speak properly and can pass her off as a genuine society lady at a society ball. 

Higgins works very hard teaching and supporting Eliza in her transformation, and despite the pair not having the easiest of relationships both start to care for one another and enjoy being around one another. Higgins teaches Eliza how to speak in a different way and he also gifts her with new clothes.

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Eliza and Pickering arrive at Ascot. Screenshot by me.

Eliza’s first test in public is a trip to the Ascot racecourse. Eliza charms and dazzles the assorted society folk attending the race, but the things she says are quite odd and many there are bemused by her. The dashing Freddy Eynsford-Hill (Jeremy Brett)falls for her and he is very amused at the things she says. Sadly it all goes wrong when Eliza loudly swears and yells at a very slow horse running in the race. The uproar caused by her outburst mortifies her but it greatly amuses Higgins who isn’t a fan of the snobbish upper classes. 

Eventually the time comes for Eliza to go to the Embassy Ball to dance and speak with royalty and upper class society. Eliza charms all there and she is even mistaken for a princess! Higgins has a great laugh about this and pats himself on the back for winning his bet. He fails to congratulate Eliza for her hard work and for getting through the evening successfully, Eliza loses her temper at this and becomes very distressed. Higgins calms her down and then says now she is a lady she should get married.

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The trio arrive at the Embassy Ball. Screenshot by me.

Eliza says that all he and his transformation of her has left her fit for now is to sell herself. As a flower girl she may have lived in poverty, but at least she could go out and earn some money and do what she wanted, but as a society lady it would now be unthinkable for her to work, and so all that is left for her to do is to get married and rely on a man for support. Eliza leaves Higgins and her departure makes him realise just how much she has come to mean to him. He tries to track her down and get her to come back to him. When he finds her will she come back and stay with him?

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Eliza is upset and angry after the ball. Screenshot by me.

Filled with some truly unforgettable songs and some gorgeous costumes (designed by Cecil Beaton), My Fair Lady is a real treat for fans of musicals. It has become one of the most beloved musical films of all time and it is one which always leaves me with a smile on my face. The film won eight Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor. Audrey wasn’t even nominated and I’m sure that it must have been a bit upsetting for her when the film won so many awards and she didn’t get anything.

Audrey presented Rex with his Academy Award for Best Actor, and in the footage from that presentation she looks genuinely thrilled for him to have won. They hug and he looks at her with such affection and kindly says about the Oscar ” I feel in a way that I should split it in half between us”. He puts his arm around Audrey and keeps her at his side throughout his entire acceptance speech. I think this was a lovely thing for him to do because in a way it was like Audrey was up there winning an award too. He also says at the end “deep love to two fair ladies”, which I think was his way of throwing some love out there to both Julie Andrews (who was in the audience and would win the Best Actress Oscar that same night) and Audrey.  

The songs in this film are irresistible and whenever I watch the film I always end up singing along with them. My favourite songs are Show Me,I Could Have Danced All Night, Servants Chorus, An Ordinary Man, Just You Wait, Without You and With A Little Bit Of Luck. 

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Freddy and Eliza. Screenshot by me.

Rex and Audrey are both terrific and they receive strong support from the rest of the cast. Stanley Holloway delivers an hysterical performance as Eliza’s father, Alfred Doolittle. Mona Washbourne is excellent as Higgins long suffering housekeeper, Mrs. Pierce. Gladys Cooper steals every scene she is in as Higgins mother. Wilfred Hyde-White is sweet as Colonel Pickering. Jeremy Brett is charming and adorable as Freddy (even if this character does come across as a being a right stalker, not to mention a guy who won’t take no for an answer!).

My main reason for loving this film so much is because I find the relationship between Eliza and Higgins to be endlessly fascinating. I love how Higgins views her merely as an experiment, then as he spends more time with her, he really can’t help himself and he actually ends up beginning to like her very much.

Eliza dislikes him intensely and then she grows to like him but she still can’t stand his attitude and behaviour, and she is also well aware that he won’t ever change his behaviour. The pair keep being drawn back to one another no matter how many times they say or do something to hurt the other. They can’t live together, but they can’t live without one another either.  

Many see the final scene between them as being romantic but I don’t actually see it as being so. I think they have certainly connected emotionally and that they care for one another, but they don’t seem to do anything to take their relationship to the next level, and in the final scene of the film they never even kiss one another. Maybe in the future they will become romantically and sexually involved, but I seriously don’t see that as being on the cards in the final scene as it’s shown to us in the film. I think they will just take things one day at a time and see how it goes.

The ending reminds me of the “shut up and deal” ending to The Apartment and I have the same view of the relationship between those characters at the end as I do of Eliza and Higgins. It should be noted that Eliza actually marries Freddy at the end in Shaw’s original play.  I am often left wondering if the film and Eliza even need a romantic ending? Eliza will always be grateful to Higgins for his help in her transformation, but does she need to become his wife or Freddy’s? I think she has more than enough strength, courage, determination and focus to be able to go on and live a very happy independent life without needing a man in it. I would have been very happy had the film ended after the Without You sequence and Eliza had gone off to stand on her two feet and make her own way in society. I’d love to know what your views are on the ending and on their relationship.

My favourite scenes are the following. Eliza going back to Covent Garden Market and remembering her former life there. The entire Embassy Ball sequence, especially the scenes where Eliza and Higgins dance and where Eliza speaks to the Queen. The Without You scene. Higgins putting marbles in Eliza’s mouth. Higgins and Eliza both having headaches. Alfred coming to visit Higgins when he learns Eliza is there. The argument between Eliza and Higgins after the ball. Alfred telling Eliza what has happened to him. Eliza having her first bath. The Rain In Spain scene.

What do you think of this film?