Book Vs Movie: “My Fair Lady” & “Pygmalion”
The George Bernard Shaw Play Vs the George Cukor Movie Musical
“March Musicals Month!”
The Margos are working heavy on our diction to prepare for this ep.
The original story of Pygmalion is based in Greek mythology where an artist falls in love with their own sculpture and is then rejected by them. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw took the material and in 1913 created the play which tells the story of Henry Higgins, a professor of phonetics who believes he can transform a person’s status in society by altering their accents and teaching them proper manners.
Eliza Doolittle enters this world as a poor woman who sells flowers to sustain herself as she exists in poverty. Professor Higgins’s friend Colonel Pickering has recently traveled to India and the two take on the idea of turning Dooltilte into a “Duchess” with proper training. She can’t afford lessons so it becomes a bet between Higgins and Pickering on how well she does.
The process of Dooltittle’s training and whether Higgins and Doolittle wind up a couple make up this “a tale of differing manners” comedy. In 1914, a happy ending was tacked on (with the implication that teacher and student wind up getting married) infuriated Shaw who thought it was way too cheerful and not realistic.
The play was adapted into a 1938 movie starred Leslie Howard and was the first to feature the diction lesson “the rain in Spain falls mainly in the plane.” Shaw wound up winning an Academy Award for the screenplay.
A 1956 musical version followed that starred Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews) became a sensation as “My Fair Lady.” Hollywood’s version also starred Harrison and (controversially) Audrey Hepburn over Julie Andrews as Doolittle.
So between the original play and the 1964 musical–which did we prefer? Have a listen and find out!
In this ep the Margos discuss:
- The life of George Bernard Shaw
- How the story has changed over the years
- The cast: Rex Harrison (Henry Higgins,) Audrey Hepburn (Eliza Doolittle,) Stanley Holloway (Alfred Doolittle,) Wilfrid Hyde-White (Colonel Hugh Pickering,) Gladys Cooper (Mrs. Higgins,) Jeremy Brett (Freddy Eynsford-Hill,) Theodore Bikel (Zoltan Karpathy,) Mona Washbourne (Mrs. Pearce,) Isabel Elsom (Mrs. Evynsford-Hill,) and John Holland (Butler.)
- My Fair Lady trailer
- Eliza learns elocution with marbles
- My Fair Lady overture
- “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” last scene
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