Copyright © 2006 Ed Bagley
My Fair Lady – 4 Stars (Excellent)
The 1964 musical My Fair Lady is one of the best movies ever made, earning 12 Oscar nominations and winning 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director (George Cukor) and Best Actor (Rex Harrison) among major awards.
Only Mary Poppins (with 5 Oscars) and Chicago (with 6 Oscars) has had more nominations (13) than My Fair Lady, and only West Side Story has more Oscars (10) with 11 nominations. Cabaret earned 8 Oscars with 10 nominations. Outstanding company to say the least. Personal favorites of mine also include Camelot and Fiddler on the Roof.
My Fair Lady finds a professor of phonetics, Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison), entering into a wager that he can take an illiterate, uneducated flower girl from the wrong side of town and make her into a sophisticated lady, and does by correcting her speech, grammar, carriage, bearing and charm to create a perfect lady for London society.
My Fair Lady is a must see with some of the best lyrics and music ever written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. This Broadway musical by Lerner and Loewe would become a movie with Audrey Hepburn as the Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle alongside Rex Harrison.
When the professor gloats over his triumphant victory, his perfect lady walks out on him, leaving the professor mystified by her ingratitude. In the end, he realizes his feelings for Eliza, and she tentatively returns, a happy ending that was not part of George Bernard Shaw's original play Pygmalion.
The Broadway play, My Fair Lady, opened in 1956 in New York with Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in the role of Eliza Doolittle, and ran for 2,717 performances, a Broadway record at the time.
With such a great heritage and Rex Harrison in the movie (he did win the Oscar for Best Actor), this is a truly great film with a marvelous score, and great acting that gives us an absolutely heartwarming story.
See My Fair Lady with your children at home, and give them a wonderful introduction to culture and breeding in the process. One of the great tragedies of our time is a dearth of musicals; thank goodness for the arrival of Chicago in 2002.
The Phantom of the Opera – 4 Stars (Excellent)
The release of The Phantom of the Opera in 2004 was such an exciting event, bringing this great play to film so millions could see the excellence of this masterpiece, which garnered only 3 nominations and no Oscars at the Academy Awards. No matter.
Perhaps the earlier success of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical composition of The Phantom of the Opera, based on the novel The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, was too successful to give the movie version much acclaim.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical opened in London in 1986 and in New York in 1988 and still runs today as the longest running Broadway musical of all time. It has become the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time, selling 80 million tickets and generating a worldwide gross of $3.3 billion, topping the best-grossing film of all time-Titanic-by $1.3 billion.
This Phantom of the Opera movie has it all: a story line, plot, great writing, great presentation, and even better music and lyrics.
A cast of unknowns was used; there is no headliner, but the female lead (Emmy Rossum as Christine) is attractive and, much more important, an opera singer who can actually sing without having her voice dubbed in.
Some reviewers panned this movie because the bad guy (Gerard Butler as The Phantom who lives under the opera house) is not ugly enough. With this mentality, the actress who wins the next Oscar for female lead will have to have a perfect body and perfect face to win. Sometimes, common sense prevails, otherwise, Meryl Streep would never have garnered 12 nominations and two Oscars.
This Phantom is not perfect, but it is very well done, and the music could not be better. There are so many great songs (as it is with all great musicals); and I loved the voice of Emmy Rossum. See this film when you can, you will be better for the experience.
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Ed Bagley is the author of Ed Bagley's Blog, which he publishes daily with fresh, original articles on Internet Marketing, Jobs and Careers, Movie Reviews and Lessons in Life intended to delight, inform, educate and motivate readers. Visit Ed at . . .
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