The other movie I watched Friday was much older; it was My Fair Lady.  Audrey Hepburn has long been a favorite of mine, so it was fairly odd that I hadn't yet seen her most famous piece.

I knew the overall outline of the plot, but had no idea of the specifics (in fact, I didn't even know it was a musical, somehow).  Adding in the specifics was definitely up my alley, though.  Very late 19th or early 20th century London, with an emphasis on accents and such.  I'm a big fan of linguistics (though never had any interest in computational linguistics, for some reason.  I rather regret that, actually), so having philologists as two of the three main characters was quite amusing.

The movie opened quite unusually, with an overture and a montage of close-up shots of flowers.  It quickly moves into introducing the setting and principles, with a memorable run-in with Hepburn's Eliza Doolittle and Harrison's Henry Higgins.  At the end of this, Higgins brags to a colleague (just met, though they were familiar with each other's work) that he could turn this uneducated street merchant (with some memorable imprecations towards her diction and word selection) into someone who could pass for a duchess.

The rest of it is, in broad strokes, at least, pretty predictable, but very well done.  The leads were both excellent (I wasn't aware she was that good a singer), as were the scenery and costumes (the costumer had a field day with two of the scenes), and the supporting roles were also well done.

Basically, I loved the whole movie even though, at the end, I found myself unsure why Higgins and Doolittle were interested in each other.  Certainly, he was rich, smart, and witty.  Certainly, she was very pretty and a quick learner.  But I still felt like "I could have danced all night" came out of nowhere (especially with as much of a jackass as Higgins was to her, both before and after that), and never really saw any sign of his attraction to her until the very end (and that was pretty limited).  The latter, now that I think on it some more, was likely a weakness of Harrison's performance (the only one I can think of).

And, now that I think on it, the whole movie could have been shortened a bit.  At the very least, Eliza's father's piece about waking him in the morning really felt extraneous.  It was well done, it just did nothing to advance the main storyline.  In fact, the character probably could have been excised entirely.  He was pretty funny, but again, just distracted from the main story.

Despite all that, I'll certainly watch it again.  It might be a while, as my queue is absurdly long, but I'll definitely keep it in mind.  I really wish Hollywood would still make musicals along these lines.  And I really need to dig up a copy of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.

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