A high definition upgrade can be a revelation, and if the film is a classic, it can not only revitalize the film (not to mention save it from further degradation), it can make it look better than it ever has. That is the verdict on Paramount Picture’s release of the 1964 Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn musical take on the George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, My Fair Lady.
Featuring a singularly stunning 4K upgrade, the Oscar winning musical has never looked better. The images are sharp, vibrant, and give a level of detail that has probably never been seen in any of its screened presentations. And it remains a joy to watch and share.
I was first introduced to the film back in high school when our English teacher, Ms. Spencer, was having us read Pygmalion, and then treated (though I’m sure a few of my fellows didn’t feel it was a treat) to this version over a number of classes (it’s almost three hours long after all). Musicals have most always entertained me, using song and dance to advance character arcs and the story’s narrative, and if they’re catchy and you can sing along, what’s not to like?
Rex Harrison walked away with an Academy Award for his portrayal of Professor Henry Higgins (the film also took home Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Art/Set Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Music, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress). Audrey Hepburn’s turn as Eliza Doolittle, the street urchin that Higgins transforms into a beautiful well-spoken woman, is glaringly missing from the nominations that year, but her singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon, and that may have cost her, despite her engaging performance.
The music, adapted from the musical of the same name is iconic, and sounds fantastic with a 7.1 Dolby True HD sound, and makes the entire experience loverly.
Included with the 4K disc is a blu-ray loaded with previously released special features, but there is a wealth of them from the fascinating upgrade and preservation of the film, to glimpses of lighting tests and footage from the American and UK premieres.
There’s a look at the kick-off production dinner, glimpses of the Cukor directing, makeup tests, radio interviews, Audrey Hepburn’s alternate vocals on Show Me, and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?, galleries, interviews with Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Martin Scorsese about the film and its impact, historical featurettes, and a collection of trailers.
My Fair Lady is beyond fair, she’s stunningly beautiful in this gorgeous upgrade, and is a must own for cinephiles and musical lovers. It’s available now from Paramount Canada.