My Fair Lady, 1964

Yesterday's post gave us another perspective of cinnamon. How do you know if you have cinnamon or cassia in front of you? Is cassia being packaged as cinnamon?

Today we look at a young lady whose teacher is passing her off as someone she's not. The scene at the races where she gets a little excited about a particular horse begs the question, "Is she a society lady or a flower vendor?"

People can change outwardly a lot faster than they can inwardly. But many real people in today's world have proven that inward transformations are possible and long-lasting, at least if you put a lot of effort into it. Eliza's story doesn't have a fairy godmother in it, and the change doesn't happen with a wave of a magic wand, but it is a type of a Cinderella story.

Eliza Doolittle is a lowly Cockney flower girl, but she’s a good girl, she is. Eliza is discovered by Professor Henry Higgins, an arrogant phonetics teacher who takes a bet that he can turn a mere flower girl into a woman with speech elegant enough that she’d be accepted at the Embassy Ball.

Played by Audrey Hepburn, Eliza works hard learning to use good manners, walk with grace, and speak well, as taught by Rex Harrison’s Professor Henry Higgins. Colonel Pickering, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White, is a gentleman intrigued by Professor Higgins. He’s intrigued enough to watch Higgins and the girl go through the speech-changing torment day after day. Gladys Cooper played Higgins’ mom, a woman who wouldn’t put up with her son’s attitude.

George Cukor won the Best Director award from the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Among the eight Academy Awards won by this film was Rex Harrison’s statuette for Best Actor.

The cast enjoyed wearing the 1000+ designs of Cecil Beaton. From the furs and feathers on the opera patrons outside Covent Garden Opera where Higgins first found Eliza Doolittle to the black and white of those attending Ascot opening day, the wealth and finery to which Higgins has become accustomed and with which he has become bored colors the backdrop against which Eliza’s transformation takes place. The final test of her makeover, the Embassy Ball, also sparkles with elegance and is the perfect place for Eliza to shine.

The ending includes the one song Rex Harrison is found actually singing more than speaking the lyrics. After the song we see just how deeply Eliza’s transformation changes Higgins.

This is one of my favorite movies because of the costumes. But I also love how Eliza’s transformation doesn’t cool the fire in her personality.

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