My Fair Lady, released in 1964, stars Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, and Wilfred Hyde-White. This lavish American musical comedy/drama also features supporting actors Jeremy Brett, Theodore Bikel and Gladys Cooper.
In 1912 London, a snobbish phonetics professor, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), upon studious observation of the speech and manners of Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), agrees to a wager with linguistics professor Colonel Pickering (Wilfred Hyde-White), that he can transform her speech and manners and pass her off to high society as a duchess. For Higgins, it would be a double win, as he actually dislikes the pretentiousness of the upper class. Eliza agrees to work with Professor Higgins in order to improve her job prospects, and arrives at her first lesson prepared to pay for his teaching. At her first public outing, which takes place at the Ascot Racecourse, she makes a good impression with her genteel manners, but shocks everyone (and wins the Professor’s heart) when she lapses into Cockney to urge on her favorite horse: “move your bloomin’ arse!” Higgins finally wins the bet with the Colonel at an Embassy Ball, where Eliza passes as a mysterious Duchess, and an aristocratic suitor, Freddy Eynsford-Hill(Brett) falls madly in love with her. When Higgins takes all the credit for her transformation, without acknowledging her efforts, she runs off with Freddy, and the Professor discovers that he cannot live without her.
George Cukor’s elegant, colorful adaptation of the beloved 1956 Broadway stage play of the same name of George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 stage play Pygmalion, music and lyrics by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner, was the most expensive film shot in the U.S. up until that time ($17M). It received 8 Oscar wins including Best Picture, Best Director (Cukor), Best Actor (Harrison) , and 4 Oscar nominations including Best Supporting Actor (Holloway), Best Supporting Actress (Cooper), and Best Screenplay (Alan Jay Lerner). It also received 15 awards and 9 nominations for other film awards.