It never ceases to amaze how a place as frequently ‘brash’ as Hollywood, manages to create a sense of upper class sophistication so flawlessly on the big screen. Take its archetypal visualisation of the British aristocracy and all their idiosyncracies, as seen in the 1964 musical extravaganza My Fair Lady. Everything about the film dripped style – though of course it helped that it’s appearance was mainly down to the talents of the great English artist, photographer and all round design genius Cecil Beaton.
Though every scene in the screen adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s story of the poor flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) who is transformed into a lady at the hands of an eccentric language teacher, Professor Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), is exquisite, it surely comes to a head in the musical sequence at the Ascot opening race. It may lead straight into Eliza’s disastrous social debut, however the scene itself is the epitome of an effortless sophistication, wit and elegance seldom, if ever, captured on the big screen before or since. Pure magic ………
Director: George Cukor
Writer: Alan Jay Lerner
Stars: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison,
Wilfred Hyde-White, Gladys Cooper
Runtime: 170 mins