My Fair Lady – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

My Fair Lady

George Cukor’s My Fair Lady embraces the elements that all Hollywood musical classics share—charm, grace, humor, and a little bit of magic. However, My Fair Lady is not like most classic musicals. Alan Jay Lerner’s screenplay looks to examine some weightier themes such as gender roles and the class system. It’s just unfortunate that My Fair Lady doesn’t have the heart that you’ll find in any of the classic films in this genre. There is a love/hate relationship with the film’s ending, and rightfully so. The film’s conclusion differs from the original play, and it doesn’t connect with the overall themes of the film, either.

At the same time, there was much controversy over the casting of Audrey Hepburn over Julie Andrews, who played the character in the original Broadway production. Warner wanted a more bankable name, so he opted to go with Hepburn instead of Andrews. Unfortunately for Warner, Hepburn’s singing wasn’t strong enough to carry the musical numbers. So a majority of her singing was dubbed over by Marni Nixon’s voice. Nevertheless, the controversy surrounding Hepburn was entirely unfair.

Indeed, she can’t sing like Andrews, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t fit the part. Hepburn is outstanding in the role, bringing such life and energy to every moment she’s on-screen. She can get us to laugh through her dialogue or physical comedy, but she can also move us emotionally through her vulnerabilities. That may not be her singing voice we’re hearing, but the performance is 100% hers.

Rex Harrison had the most delicate role to play. He has to play a character that thinks he’s the smartest man in the room, no matter what room he’s in. At the same time, he also has to be likable enough for audiences to see why Eliza would stick with him for as long as she does. Henry’s emotional arc slowly breaks down his established beliefs related to the film’s themes.

Overall, My Fair Lady is an entertaining, larger-than-life musical full of “loverly” characters and meaningful themes. Sadly, the film’s lack of heart and terrible ending prevents it from ever reaching the heights of the all-time greats.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

My Fair Lady - Wilfred Hyde-White and Rex Harrison

Video

My Fair Lady hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR10/Dolby Vision transfer and a 2.20:1 aspect ratio. The brightness is divine. The shine, glimmer, and light radiate off the screen—something you can see at the 1:43:00 mark when Eliza, Professor Higgins, and Colonel Pickering go to the embassy ball. The sparkly and glint off of the jewelry and dresses distinctly sparkle on the screen. The black levels feature a wide grayscale where the blacks of the formal wear are dark black while the shadows are a deep, inky black.

From the flashy costumes to the colorful production design, the color palette covers a broad spectrum. The colors may not jump off the screen, like most Hollywood classics released in 4K, but the colors have a natural saturation. There are so many patterns and textures throughout My Fair Lady, and the details crisply display them all. Not to mention, there is a fine film grain texture visible throughout. Overall, this is such a good-looking transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

My Fair Lady - Audrey Hepburn

Audio

My Fair Lady hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. Similar to most modern-day audio mixes of Hollywood musical classics, the audio mix for My Fair Lady is primarily front-loaded. There are subtle dynamic pans between the left and right channels, such as the horse race scene. It’s no surprise, however, that for a musical, the musical numbers would take over all of the channels in the soundstage. The musical score completely envelops the viewer, and there is a playful layering of sound with each musical number. Overall, this is a standard audio mix for a classic Hollywood musical.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

My Fair Lady - Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn

Special Features

My Fair Lady‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc doesn’t have any special features on it. However, you can find the following special features on the 1080p Blu-ray disc:

  • Special Features
    • More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then and Now
    • 1963 Production Kick-Off Dinner
    • Los Angeles Premiere 10/28/1964
    • British Premiere
    • George Cukor Directs Baroness Bina Rothschild
    • Rex Harrison Radio Interview
    • Production Tests
      • Lighting
      • Wilfrid Hyde-White Make-Up
      • Rain/Set
      • Covent Garden Lighting Test
      • Alt. Higgins/Pickering Screen Test
    • Alternate Audrey Hepburn Vocals
      • Show Me
      • Wouldn’t It Be Loverly
    • Comments On a Lady
      • Andrew Lloyd Webber
      • Martin Scorsese
  • Galleries
    • Cecil Beaton Sketches
    • B&W Stills
    • Color Production Stills
    • Documents and Publicity
  • Trailers
    • Teaser Trailer with City Tags
      • Hollywood
      • New York City
      • Boston
      • Philadelphia
      • Washington D.C.
      • San Francisco
      • Chicago
    • With Pride Trailer
    • Awards Trailer
    • Theatrical Reissue: Poster Illustration
    • Reissue: Poster Illustration Reserved Seats Trailer
    • Reissue: Poster Illustration Awards
    • Theatrical Reissue
  • Theatrical Featurettes
    • The Story of a Lady
    • Design for a Lady
    • The Fairest Fair Lady
  • Awards
    • Rex Harrison BFI Honor
    • Rex Harrison Golden Globe® Acceptance Speech
    • Academy Awards® Ceremony Highlights 4/5/65

This release of My Fair Lady includes the same special features from the 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release from 2015. Although it may be a dated featurette, “More Loverly” is still an in-depth featurette about the film’s production and restoration. “Kick-Off Dinner” features some very testy interviews where a reporter asks difficult questions. For instance, he grills Rex Harrison if stars are difficult because he read that Rex was troublesome on Cleopatra. The feature also has Jack L. Warner giving a lengthy speech during the dinner. As can be seen, the premiere features are newsreels covering the film’s US and British premieres. However, the Los Angeles reel is dated and black and white, while the British one is crisp and in color.

“George Cukor Directs” and “Radio Interview” takes short audio clips and combine them with photos from the film. Alex Hyde-White, son of Wilfrid Hyde-White, narrates and shares several tests from the 65mm film pulled from the Warner archives. As shown above, Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice was replaced by Marni Nixon. With “Hepburn Vocals,” you can decide for yourself if her voice needed to be replaced or not. Yes, she does struggle with “Show Me,” but she is perfect for “Loverly.”

“Comments on a Lady” showcases additional interviews of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Martin Scorsese not used in the “More Loverly” featurette. The theatrical featurettes serve as a marketing hype machine for the studio. Despite its usage as a marketing tool, the featurettes provide a “Walt Disney style” behind-the-scenes look at the film’s production. Finally, the galleries, trailers, and award speeches are self-explanatory and present a look at the old-fashioned, golden age of Hollywood.

Special Features Rating: 4/5 atoms


Overall, My Fair Lady is such an entertaining and elegant musical comedy. The video presentation in Ultra HD is fantastic, and the audio mix is excellent for this kind of film. Although the bonus features are dated, they’re still very, very good.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

My Fair Lady hits stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on May 25th.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1721 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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