We started a discussion on the general thread about each film. I hadn't seen Pygmalion before today. Here are some of the comments
JackFavell wrote: I have never liked My Fair Lady at all, having been charmed by Pygmalion as an impressionable 14 year old.... I remember watching it on the Public Television station when we lived near Chicago (they showed all kinds of wonderful movies there - all the Criterion releases, etc.) with wide eyes. It immediately became my favorite - it has remained in my top 3 or 4 movies ever since.
intothenitrate wrote:I saw My Fair Lady when I was very young, so young that I couldn't filter anything and just got completely caught up in the story. Watching it years later, I was surprised at how many little details were firmly etched in my memory. In particular, when Eliza was hurt or distressed during the ups and downs of her relationship with Higgins, those moments registered as big tragedies in my little brain. Maybe I was just an overly sensitive child, but it seems like I lived a week's worth of story in the space of a two-hour film.
When I watched Pygmalion a few months ago, I couldn't help but compare it against my unusually vivid memory of MFL. In the scenes, for example, when Eliza ad libs a few personal stories--using her own native constructions but with perfect diction--I would think, "That was OK, but Hepburn knocked that one out of the park." And in other places too, when Eliza needs to show vulnerability, or when she needs to muster courage, Hepburn seems to dig a little deeper in her portrayal. [Harrison also, I think, conjured up more imperious menace than Howard's bookish pestering].
Seeing My Fair Lady at such an early age, when I would have felt perhaps less presentable, less articulate and mannered, I must have experienced that same vicarious 'hook' that Asimov described.
So, long story short, I'd vote for My Fair Lady for bringing home the emotional impact, though I admit I saw it when I was quite defenseless against cinematic story-telling.
feaito wrote:Thanks for sharing that interesting insight on MFL, intothenitrate, and about watching a film as a boy. I plan to revisit the film again, but as far as Audrey Hepburn's characterization goes I'd agree with you that she did a great job, but the film as a whole is not the same as it used to be -for me- when I watched it again in my early '30s, compared with what I perceived as a kid and in my teens; because it really used to be a huge favorite of mine.
Ann Harding wrote:Well, it's funny, Intothenitrate, I feel quite the opposite. I discovered the Pygmalion story through My Fair Lady about 20 years ago. But, when I saw the Asquith picture recently, I was totally won over. I felt Leslie Howard gave far more subtlety to his Higgins than the grand (and terribly efficient) acting of Rex Harrison. As for Audrey Hepburn, I must admit I never quite believed that she could be a cockney girl. She looks like a posh girl dressed as a cockney girl, that's all. I guess it's perhaps unfair to compare a comedy to a musical. But, the main problem with the Cukor picture is that it's quite 'inflated' as if Jack Warner wanted everything bigger and larger. Nowadays, I feel more at home with the small scale B&W delight of Asquith.
JackFavell wrote:I'm totally with AnnHarding,
I agree on every point. I can't think of anyone else but Howard and Hiller as Higgins and Eliza. Again, though, I think they struck me as far more "real" at my impressionable age than Harrison and Hepburn who seemed like they were "acting" it - though I do feel that Audrey really immersed herself into the part. It's just that I don't think letting us see that you feel the role so strongly is a benefit here. I prefer the quiet emotion of Hiller.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin