Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Colin Firth as Henry Higgins?

posted by Nell Minow

There are rumors that Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary”) may be the new Professor Henry Higgins in a forthcoming remake of “My Fair Lady,” to be directed by Joe Wright (who directed the Kiera Knightly version of “Pride and Prejudice”). Carey Mulligan of “An Education” might play Eliza Doolittle.

I am skeptical of remakes in many circumstances, and of course the George Cukor version of My Fair Lady with Audrey Hepburn and the divine Cecil Beaton designs is unquestionably iconic. I side with Cary Grant, who, asked to play Henry Higgins, famously said that not only would he not accept the part, but unless Rex Harrison repeated his Broadway performance on screen, he wouldn’t even go to see it.

In my dreams, though, I try to imagine a version with Grant opposite Harrison’s Broadway co-star, Julie Andrews. It would have been great. And so, just as the plays of Shakespeare are constantly new again for each generation, so can other stories. We saw a terrific production of “A Comedy of Errors” last week, in a sort of fantasy Edwardian setting, with a opening act introducing us to a small modern-day British acting troupe who would be performing the play, so that the real life actors were playing contemporary actors playing an early 19th century version of a 16th century Shakespeare about confused identities. And don’t forget, Shakespeare was doing his own version of a play dating back to ancient Rome.

And of course “My Fair Lady” itself is the musical version of “Pygmalion” by George Bernard Shaw, inspired by an ancient Greek myth. “Pygmalion” was made into a wonderful film under Shaw’s personal supervision, with his choice to play Eliza, Wendy Hiller, and Leslie Howard as Higgins. I have always been fascinated by Shaw’s decision to chance the ending of his play for the movie version. In the afterward he wrote for the play, Shaw makes it very clear that Eliza and Higgins have no romantic future; he explicitly says that she marries the hapless but doting Freddie. After all, the story not a romance; it is about class and politics and religion and ideas — like all of Shaw’s work. But when it came time to write the screenplay for “Pygmalion,” he could not help reverting to the myth that inspired its title and at least leaves the door open for the idea that Eliza and Higgins fall in love, and that was carried over into “My Fair Lady.”

It is exactly one century since Shaw’s “Pygmalion” was written, and 55 years since “My Fair Lady” opened on Broadway. Shaw could never have imagined that class barriers would dissolve as much as they have. And yet, the play has enduring relevance and appeal. I think we’re due for another try, don’t you?



  • Alicia

    Hi, Nell. I’ve seen “Pgymalion” with Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard. Personally, I think it is Howard’s best performance. He was a perfect Henry Higgins.
    It would be hard to beat the George Cukor musical version of “My Fair Lady.” Of course, Audrey Hepburn didn’t have the voice for those marvelous songs (though she did just fine singing “Moon River” in “Breakfast at Tiffanys). But, the costumes and pageantry were unmatched, and Rex Harrison was perfect as Henry Higgins. Stanley Holloway and Jeremy Brett were great, too.
    Colin Firth as Henry Higgins seems a bit too much typecasting. He’s just started to break out of the ghetto of playing perpetually scowling, stuffy characters. (I don’t include “Bertie” because of the stammer and the salty language.)

Previous Posts

Contest Winner -- "Earth to Echo's" GoPro Camera
Thanks to all who entered!  This contest had far more entries than any other I've ever run.  Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX  

posted 11:54:55pm Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101953117[/vimeo]

posted 10:09:01am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Joseph Nasser of "Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway"
Reserve Police Officer Joseph Nasser produced Amber Alert: Terror on the Highway to help raise awareness of the Amber Alert system. It stars Tom Berenger as a man on the edge, making a dead rush for Mexico and kidnapping two young girls along the way. He is hotly pursued by police chief Martha Geig

posted 8:00:33am Jul. 28, 2014 | read full post »

"Guardian of the Galaxy's" Awesome Mixtape
One of the many pleasures of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening this week, is the soundtrack featuring some 70's classics from an "Awesome Mixtape" played by Peter "Star Lord" Quill (Chris Pratt).  Here are some of the highlights. "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede [youtube]http://www.youtub

posted 8:00:21am Jul. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Comic-Con 2014: Day 2
Day 2 of Comic-Con included: an interview with "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2" screenwriter Thunder Levin, a buggy lunch with Boxtrolls, press events with the directors and casts of four films, and appearing on the Rotten Tomatoes panel, where each attendee was given a paddle with a ripe tomato on on

posted 10:04:47pm Jul. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.