In 1913, George Bernard Shaw (Saint Joan) wrote a play entitled Pygmalion. It later was adapted into a musical and in 1964 it became a feature film. My Fair Lady, starring Audrey Hepburn (Breakfast at Tiffany's) and Rex Harrison (Dr. Doolittle), garnered critical and audience acclaim and had gone on to win eight Academy Awards including Best Picture. It has since been included in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress. Now, for the first time ever, Paramount Pictures has released the film in 4K UHD.
Eliza Doolittle (Hepburn) is a simple flower seller with a heavy Cockney accent. While speaking with fellow phonetics scholar, Colonel Hugh Pickering (Wilfrid Hyde-White; The Third Man), Professor Henry Higgins (Harrison) claims he can teach anyone to speak like a Duke or Duchess to attend an embassy ball. In order to see if he could actually do it, Pickering agrees to pay the cost of Higgins to teach Eliza to be a "Duchess".
Over many long days and nights, Higgins prepares Eliza to attend the embassy ball. Once there one of Higgins' proteges, Zolton Karpathy (Theodore Bikel; The Defiant Ones), determines Eliza is, in fact, an imposter, claiming she is a Hungarian princess. Higgins then takes all the credit for Eliza's hard work making her so angry that she leaves. Unfortunately, she finds she no longer fits into the world she used to know as friends don't even recognize her anymore. Eventually, with no place to stay, Eliza finds herself at Higgins' mother's house, until Higgins finally realizes that he misses her.
This is the first role I ever saw Hepburn play and, for many years, the only movie of hers I had seen. Having now seen Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday, I can safely say Eliza is my second favorite character of Hepburn's (with Princess Ann being the first). She wades through a range of emotions and takes the audience on the journey right along with her. Harrison is a wonderful counterpart and Hyde-Whyte rounds out the trio nicely.
This upgraded and fresh restoration and transfer does the film a world of good. Details are very clean, and the 2160p/Dolby Vision gives the film a new sharpness. Costumes are intricate and complex with layers of interwoven fabrics. The only thing better than the video quality is the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio. The musical numbers have the full weight of the orchestration oozing through all the surround speakers. The lossless track is taken from the original presentation and is restored in all its 1964 glory.
Unfortunately, the combo pack only includes the 4K Blu-ray disc and the DVD disc. No digital download is offered as well. Likewise, the extras are only in 1080p resolution and are all previously released including More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then & Now, 1963 Production Kick-Off Dinner, Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964, British Premier, George Cukor Directs Baroness Bina Rothschild, Rex Harrison Radio Interview, Production Tests, Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals, Comments on a Lady, Galleries, Trailers, The Story of a Lady, Design For a Lady, The Fairest Fair Lady, Rex Harrison BFI Honor, Rex Harrison Golden Globe Acceptance Speech, and Academy Awards Ceremony Highlights 4/5/65.
My Fair Lady is a classic tale of "boy meets girl" set to an iconic soundtrack. It was an incredible film with a wonderful cast when it was released in 1964 and, thanks to Paramount Pictures, it is now beautifully restored to even better than its original state.
If you are a musical theater or Hepburn fan, this new, upgraded release is a must-have for your home video library. The combo pack is available in stores now.