MY FAIR LADY (1964)

Dir. George Cukor

With every scene shot in a Warner Bros. soundstage, this blockbuster hit is among the last great musicals of the studio era. It also brought studio head Jack L. Warner his last trip to the podium to accept the Best Picture Oscar. Warner lavished an impressive $17 million on the picture. He didn't give production designer Gene Allen a budget, just telling him to build what he needed. Safeguarding that investment made casting a delicate matter. When Warner couldn't find an established star to play Henry Higgins, he went with stage original Rex Harrison. That meant casting a star as leading lady, so he chose Audrey Hepburn over the then-untested Julie Andrews. When he decided to replace most of Hepburn's vocals with dubbing by Marni Nixon, it triggered a controversy that cost the leading lady a well-deserved Oscar nomination. Warner had George Cukor on hand to bring his characteristic wit and style to the film, creating an elegant confection that brought the veteran director his only Oscar after over 30 years in Hollywood.

In attendance: Theodore Bikel.

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MY FAIR LADY
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