I just watched My Fair Lady for the first time and I didn't like it.

I count many film versions of musicals to be among my favorite films. I’ve never seen a stage production of The King and I, but I absolutely love the film as well as the music. The film versions of Oklahoma!, Carousel, and the Sound of Music are also well loved.

So, I rented the DVD of My Fair Lady this week. My God, this is a long film. I’ve got no problem with long films, The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, and Schindler’s List are 3 long movies I absolutely adore.

My Fair Lady was disappointing, starting with Audrey Hepburn. I know most of the singing was dubbed, but I kept thinking, this is Audrey Hepburn? I found the story boring, neither Professor Higgins nor Eliza Doolittle to be interesting characters.

Is the stage version as boring as the movie? Maybe it’s just my bias toward Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I’m not singing any songs from My Fair Lady one hour after finishing the film.

I kept the DVD for an extra day, I’m giving it another shot tomorrow until I mail it back to Netflix. Think it will improve upon a second viewing?

I guess one could grow accustomed to it.

I saw what you did there.

The songs were great. And I’m not a ‘musical’ guy.

Shayna and Spiny Norman took me to see My Fair Lady at The Hollywood Bowl, with John Lithgow as Henry Higgins and Roger Daltry as Eliza’s dad. I thought John Lithgow made a better Henry Higgins, especially during the ‘reasonable man’ song.

I watched this last weekend! I’ll agree that as far as plot, pacing, and endings go I think the movie is a dud. I like the songs, and that’s pretty much it. The horse racing scene is so uncomfortable I can barely stand to watch it.

I find many of the MFL songs extremely catchy: “Wouldn’t it be Loverly,” “On the Street Where You Live,” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” are the big ones for me.

But that’s me. I have no idea why you would watch it again after not liking it once.

Which was performed by Jeremy Brett, who later played Sherlock Holmes.

I’d agree that as a movie it is awfully long but as a musical it is just awesome. You can listen to the original Broadway cast recording, which was recorded in one day in one 14 hour session, and follow the complete plot from the songs alone.

And if you don’t like On The Street Where You Live you are dead inside. I even loved this song when I was a difficult teen and hardly the target audience for My Fair Lady.

I was thinking of listening to the original cast recording using spotify. For example, I don’t like the story of Carousel, but the music and songs are top notch. June is Busting out all Over and Clambake make the film worth watching.

I found West Side Story to be a fairly boring film, and I’m still not 100% impressed with the songs lyrically wise, but the music is excellent.

It’s rather stalker-ish, don’t you think?

My Fair Lady is the sort of inflated movie musical from the early-to-mid 60’s that gave inflated movie musicals a bad name, a trend that culminated in the wholly awful Hello Dolly.

I’ve never seen it on the stage, so I can’t comment on that part. At least you have intermissions between acts so you can get up and move.

You can see the same story, without the music, and very beautifully acted, if you watch the movie Pygmalion from 1938 with Leslie Howard as a much better Henry Higgins, and Wendy Hiller magnificent as Eliza Doolittle. It shows from time to time on TCM, or perhaps it is also available on Netflix.

I’m not a big fan of musicals, but enjoy My Fair Lady… mostly because Henry Higgins is a fine character. He’s a scientist. He does not suffer fools. He laughs at the adaptable morals of Liza’s father. He respects the accomplishments of his house guest, but relishes showing up the pretender at the ball.

He could get along fine on the SDMB, offering snark and expert commentary.

The plot? The plot is Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, one of the all-time great plots to base a musical on!

Freddie gets the shaft in the movie. Eliza goes back to him in Pygmalion.

I’ve never seen it… What happens in that scene?

If you can watch the choreography in “Ascot Gavotte” and not laugh or even smirk, there’s little hope for you.

Not in the play. Shaw disdained any romantic hookup and Eliza ends the play by leaving Higgins to go to her father’s wedding. She does threaten to marry Freddie, but Higgins laughs at the concept. In his notes, Shaw wrote a very disdainful view of a marriage between the two, which becomes the basis of parts of “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.”

BTW, if you get the chance, watch Wendy Hiller in the film version of Pygmalion. She is amazing as Eliza (especially in the scene – not in the musical – where she first talks posh in front of a group of ladies).

As for the musical, it’s one of the great Broadway scores, and the movie is a more than adequate representation (though admittedly it goes on too long).

I’m not sure if the “two” you’re referring to here are Eliza and Freddie or Eliza and Henry, but in his postscript to Pygmalian Shaw wrote that Eliza and Freddie did get married and that Eliza and Henry never would have worked out.

It’s in the musical, for the most part; the setting was just switched from Mrs Higgins’ “at-home day” to Ascot. It was, however, much funnier in the original film.

Well the basic concept of the story is outdated and not really applicable to the US. Shaw’s point in the play was that the things that make up class distinctions in 19th century England, particularly language, are superficial. Henry took a flower girl, selling her flower over and over to fine gentlemen, and turned her into an upper crust lady by teaching her how to correctly pronounce and use words.

It’s not a lesson that has much application in 21st America where class distinctions are not nearly so rigid and no so much based on language.

I can easily imagine a 21st century American version of Pygmalian/My Fair Lady where Eliza is a black woman who speaks a “ghetto” African-American dialect. I think this would be a controversial adaptation, especially if Henry Higgins wasn’t black too, but it would make sense as far as American culture/stereotypes.

A white Eliza with a “redneck” Southern accent might also work, but that can come across as quaint or folksy.