Lerner and Loewe's musical masterwork, reimagined for film by director George Cukor. Cukor doesn't try to hide the stage origins of his material; rather, he celebrates the falseness of his sets, placing his characters in a perfectly designed artificial world. Every frame of this 1964 film bespeaks Cukor's grace and commitment—it's an adaptation that becomes completely personal through the force of its mise-en-scene. Rex Harrison deserved his Oscar for his performance as Henry Higgins, and Audrey Hepburn (though her singing voice is dubbed) is an enchanting presence and a clever actress. The ending has been criticized, but I find Cukor's stroke of anticlimax impeccable. With Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White, and Gladys Cooper.
By Dave Kehr