Recently I decided to watch one of the great classics ‘My Fair Lady’. As I entered into the world of 19th century England, I found myself alternately laughing and weeping. ‘My Fair Lady’ refreshed my soul.
There are so many great lessons to be learnt from the historic classics, including the loverliest motion picture of them all! ‘My Fair Lady’ in some ways feels like a movie written for the 21st century, because it so accurately names the angst of contemporary gender confusion and role ambiguity. There is a fascinating dichotomy between the two songs: ‘Why can’t a woman be more like a man?’ and ‘Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins, just you wait…’ ‘My Fair Lady’ accurately names the ‘flight from woman’ so vividly described by Leanne Payne in her classic book ‘Crisis in Masculinity’.
More than ever, like Liza’s father Alfred Doolittle, many men are afraid to commit to a lasting relationship. Marriage has become the new four-letter word.
“The gentle sex was made for man to marry but, with a little bit o’ luck, With a little bit o’ luck, You can have it all and not get hooked!”
‘My Fair Lady’ (1964) was honored with twelve Academy Award nominations and eight wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Rex Harrison), Best Director (Cukor’s only Best Director award in his career), Best Color Cinematography (in widescreen 70 mm), Best Color Art Direction/Set Decoration, Best Sound, Best Score (Andre Previn), and Best Color Costume Design (Cecil Beaton).
My Fair Lady was director George Cukor’s film musical adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play Pygmalion with 2,717 performances on Broadway from 1956 to 1962. ‘My Fair Lady’ became the longest-running production in Broadway history, outdistancing the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical play, Oklahoma!, which had held that record up to then.
Roger Herbert the film critic noted that Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe struggled with turning George Bernard Shaw’s PYGMALION into a musical off and on from 1952. Prior to that, Rodgers and Hammerstein had worked on it for a year before giving up, defeated. In 1954, Lerner hit upon the idea of setting to music the things that in Shaw’s play happened off stage between acts.
It is hard to think of a movie that has had so many memorable songs, including: “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “Oh, Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “The Street Where You Live,” “I’m Getting Married in the Morning,” and “With a Little Bit of Luck.” The ‘proof of the pudding’ is that for the last two weeks I keep spontaneously breaking into song or whistling hits from ‘My Fair Lady’.
George Bernard Shaw chose the original play’s name ‘Pygmalion’. Pygmalion was a king of Cyprus and a great sculptor. He, like Henry Higgins, was a confirmed bachelor and lived exclusively for his art. But one day he fell in love with the statue of a beautiful woman he had made and he prayed that the statue would come alive. His prayer was heard. When Pygmalion embraced the statue, it came alive and he married the woman, Galatea, he had himself created.
The show was for a while called LIZA and then LADY LIZA. Fritz Loewe wanted to call it FANFAROON, an obscure English term for someone who blows his own fanfare. MY FAIR LADY was picked as the title everyone detested the least!
‘My Fair Lady’ reminded me that many women don’t feel good about being women. They certainly don’t feel like ‘My Fair Lady’. Many of them secretly feel like Eliza Doolittle the ‘guttersnipe’ flower girl. ‘My Fair Lady’ reminds us that God wants to affirm women in their femininity, their beauty, intelligence and worth.
Henri Higgins said to Liza, “Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech, that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton and The Bible.”. So too Jesus Christ says to each of us: “Remember that you are a human being with a soul”. Jesus the bridegroom calls all of us spiritually (both men and women!) to be his bride, his beautiful princess beautifully dressed for her husband, washed clean of any stains and wrinkles (Ephesians 5:26, Revelation 21:2). Just as Liza was received by the King of Transylvania as a princess, so Jesus the King wants to call us ‘My Fair Lady’. No matter what moral or spiritual gutter that you may fallen into in your life, your truest identity in King Jesus is as ‘My Fair Lady’.
Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.
Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…
A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.
Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?
Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.
If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or kindle.
-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.
I was the Rector of St. Simon's Church North Vancouver, B.C for 31 years, from 1987 to 2018. Ordained in 1980, I have also served at St. Philip's Vancouver and St. Matthew's Abbotsford. My wife Janice and I have three sons James, Mark, and Andrew. I was Past President and Chaplain for Alpha Canada. While serving as the National Chair for Anglican Renewal Ministries of Canada, I was one of three co-signers of the Montreal Declaration of Anglican Essentials
For the past 31 years, I have been privileged to write over 500 articles as a columnist on spiritual issues for local North Vancouver newspapers. In the last number of years, I have had the opportunity to speak at conferences and retreats in Honduras, Rwanda, Uganda, Washington State, BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Ontario.
My book For Better, For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship, coauthored with Janice Hird, can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Better-Worse-Discovering-lasting-relationship/dp/0978202236/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1535555614&sr=8-1
My sequel Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit, with a foreword by Dr JI Packer, is online with Amazon.com in both paperback http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/097820221X/ref=redir_mdp_mobile and ebook form http://tiny.cc/tanhmx .
In Canada, Amazon.ca has it available in paperback http://tiny.cc/dknhmx and ebook http://tiny.cc/wmhmmx .
It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).
Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form. Nook gives a sample of the book to read online: http://tiny.cc/vj3bmx . Indigo also offers the Kobo ebook version: http://tiny.cc/kreonx . You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook: http://tiny.cc/1ukiox
The book 'Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit' focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus' healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how North Americans can embrace a holistically healthy life.
In order to obtain a signed copy in North America of the prequel book 'Battle for the Soul of Canada', Blue Sky, or God's Firestarters, please send a $25 etransfer to email@example.com . Cheques are also acceptable.
Pingback: My Fair Lady (1964) | Old Old Films
Pingback: 250,000 visitors later « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: Over 1,100 visitors yesterday « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: Looking back on 2011: My most-widely read online articles « Edhird's Blog
Pingback: My ten most popular blog articles for 2014 | Edhird's Blog
Pingback: My most read articles | Edhird's Blog
August 29, 2014 at 6:13 pm
This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your magnificent post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks! edaeekdeedgd
August 30, 2014 at 1:41 am
Thanks for your kind comments, John.
July 16, 2017 at 2:17 am
Ahh the video isnt working but thanks for posting Dr Ed. There were some good My Fair Lady essays I came across while writing a book report if you want to read a few of those.