Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway
Director: George Cukor
Running Time: 170 mins
My Fair Lady is an American film about an upper-class professor of phonetics, who agrees to a bet to take a lower-class flower girl from rags to riches and make her an aristocratic lady, fit for a monarch.
Well, had this been a little shorter, this would have been a hugely entertaining film. With a fun story for anyone to enjoy, a feel not dissimilar to The Sound Of Music, some classic songs and great central performances, this film is on the whole quite good fun to watch, however it eventually overstays its welcome and becomes a whole lot less enjoyable by the end.
I’ll start with the biggest problem: the 3-hour long running time. Based on a stage play of much shorter length, it’s difficult to understand why and how the filmmakers decided to drag this story out for so long, because it manages to ultimately ruin what is initially a loverly film.
Another problem with this film is the pacing. For an enjoyable three hours, you need a little bit of excitement and drama, and although that pops up every now and then, there’s very little in the way of a fast-moving plot, meaning that this film becomes quite heavy and extremely slow as it moves towards its final stages.
However, don’t let that more tiring aspect of the film get you down, this film is a good watch for the family. To be honest, it’s an ideal movie for anyone on a rainy Sunday afternoon, because it’s based on a very light theme, it’s got a relatively interesting story and a bit of comedy thrown in here and there throughout.
Seeing, in a rather ridiculous sort of way, a woman be transformed from street seller into aristocrat is actually quite a fun experience, as you see what is a completely unlikely and bizarre transformation of an extremely reluctant and ignorant woman, which at times really surprises you and makes you laugh, which made the opening stages a joy to watch.
As the film unfolds, less and less happens in the story, and until the big twist about three quarters of the way in, there’s actually not much going on, but what saves it from being too dull in the middle period is the brilliant songs.
Although initially seeming irritating, the musical part of this film isn’t too cheesy nor too frequent, meaning that you can always enjoy it when a catchy song pops up in the middle of the scene to bring a smile to your face as you begin to struggle with the long-winded story, and with some classic numbers, it’s difficult to avoid enjoying yourself for large parts of this film.
Overall, then, I’ll give this a 7.3, because for all its brilliant songs, fun story and characters, it was just too long to be consistently enjoyable.