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MOVIE REVIEW: My Fair Lady (1964 film)

The film My Fair Lady is an adaptation of the musical My Fair Lady and the play Pygmalian by George Bernard Shaw. It was released in 1964 and has had immense success. In 2006 it was ranked #8 in the American Film Institute's list of 25 greatest musicals.

The story begins in Covent Garden, London, where Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn) is selling flowers. Professor Higgins (Rex Harrison), who is a phonetic specialist, is there studying English accents and ends up making a bet with his friend, Colonel Pickering, that he can transform Eliza into a duchess simply by teaching her to speak properly. From there the stage is set and the fun begins.

From a dancer's perspective there's a lot to appreciate in this movie - there are even a couple of ballroom dance scenes. The first occurs in Higgins' study when Eliza finally begins to make some big progress in her speech. Higgins, Pickering and Eliza are so elated that they end up dancing all over the room. A few tango steps here, a few paso doble steps there and Eliza is swept off her feet by the music and romance.

This scene gives a glimpse of an awakening in her of some new feeling for Higgins as revealed in the next song I Could Have Danced All Night. While it's not really a song for ballroom dancing, it is a fantastic expression of the joy and magic of dance, and is especially uplifting and inspiring.

The other ballroom dance scene in the movie occurs at the Embassy Ball when Eliza dances first with the prince of Transylvania and then with Higgins. The first dance is a classic Viennese Waltz and the ballroom is infused with the elegance and romance of that music and that age. It is a fantastic vision of a time when ballroom dancing as we know it was in its infancy. There is also a tango in this scene that highlights some basic tango steps. Experienced dancers will be delighted with not only the mood of the ball in general, but also that real dance steps and real dancers are a big part of that mood.

There are innumerable good reasons to see My Fair Lady. It is simply one of the greatest movies ever. The fact that it has some great dance scenes is just a bonus for ballroom dancing fans.

Happy Dancing


Dancing For Dessert offers online dance instructions for all ballroom dance styles. Learn dance steps for salsa, swing, foxtrot, waltz, tango, rumba, cha cha, and wedding dances. Our online dance lessons will have you dancing with confidence and ease.

MOVIE REVIEW: My Fair Lady (1964 film)
posted by Dancing For Dessert on 1/17/2007 01:47:00 PM

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