Saw My Fair Lady the other evening. My viewing companion hated it but sat through it. He loved the hats. Nothing else.
I was intrigued by how Cukor makes the ensemble numbers into depictions of a vibrant social space.
Of course given some Movie Club discussions I was keen on observing the ending.
Does Eliza truly come back to Higgins?
In the final scene we see Higgins listening to a recording of Eliza when she first came to him seeking lessons. Eliza shut off the playback and intones in her own voice her reply to Higgins that is she washed her face and hands before she came. This is delivered in her voice as a flower girl and not in the lady-like strains that she acquired by training. In a sense, she is reclaiming an authentic voice — a voice that connected her to her father and her social circle. Do recall the ensemble numbers of street scenes: those with Eliza and those with her father. Also worth noting is that Eliza doesn’t cross the threshold to enter the room where Higgins is listening to a recording (doing exactly what Eliza had earlier suggested he do if he had need to recall her presence). She is a liminal creature. It is important to note that although she is in the house, she has not traversed fully into his space.
Higgins’s final line asking about his slippers is wondrously ambiguous. “Eliza, where the devil are my slippers?” He quickly hides behind his hat as if to mask a grin. The last time his slippers appeared in the film they were being hurled at his head. It was Eliza doing the hurling. The rapprochement between the characters is in delicate balance.
I discovered doing a little research that the question of endings also plagued productions of the play, Pygmalion. See http://www.syaross.org/writings/nonfiction/pygmalion.html
And so for day 1890