13 Apr 2010 @ 6:00 AM 

Tuesday Minute
No. 73 | April 13, 2010

April Showers

Featured this week
theme introduction)
Monday         —   “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952)

Our theme this week
“Rain”-y day songs from the movies

“The Rain in Spain”

my fair lady

The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain! 
By George, she’s got it!  By George, she’s got it!
Now, once again where does it rain?
On the plain!  On the plain!
And where’s that soggy plain?
In Spain!  In Spain!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!
The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain!

You can put away the umbrella.  They may be singing about the rain, but not in the rain.  This number is an indoor affair.

Hollywood was still making musicals in the ’60s, and this one was a big hit.  My Fair Lady was an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, a story that has much older roots.  Earlier versions were done for the Victorian stage, including W.S. Gilbert’s Pygmalion and Galatea, a hit in the 1870s.  Pygmalion, under one name or another, appears in a variety of literary works going back to Ovid.

In Shaw, and in the movie, he’s Henry Higgins—or ‘Enry ‘Iggins, that is, if you’re Eliza Doolittle.  Eliza aspires to work in a flower shop, and for reasons perhaps Brits understand better than the rest of us, that Cockney accent of hers has to go.  It’s up to Professor Higgins to teach Eliza how to speak “properly.”  Elocution!  That’s what it’s all about.  (Not meteorology, if that’s what you were thinking.)

My Fair Lady won eight Oscars and was nominated for twelve.  Poor Audrey Hepburn, though, was shut out.  The reason, not so hard to understand:  her singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon.  It was Julie Andrews who played Eliza in the hit Broadway musical opposite Rex Harrison, and Jack Warner, in his less-than-infinite wisdom, cast the film star over the stage star.  (It’s a lesson Hollywood continues to ignore.)  You could say Poor Julie Andrews, except that she had the last laugh—she won the Oscar that year for Mary Poppins.  (Andrews, by then a huge movie star, later turned down a part in Warner Bros.’ Camelot, which flopped.  Not long after, Jack Warner retired.)

My Fair Lady (1964)
George Cukor, director
Based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion
“The Rain in Spain”
Alan Jay Lerner, lyrics, Frederick Loewe, music
Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Wilfrid Hyde-White (and the singing voice of Marni Nixon)

Quote of Note
Rufus T. Firefly:  Now, what is it that has four pairs of pants, lives in Philadelphia, and it never rains but it pours?
Chicolini:  Atsa good one.  I give you three guesses.
Rufus T. Firefly:  Now let me see.  Has four pair of pants, lives in Philadelphia—is it male or female?
Chicolini:  No, I no think so.
Rufus T. Firefly:  Is he dead?
Chicolini:  Who?
Rufus T. Firefly:  I don’t know.  I give up.
Chicolini:  I give up, too.
—Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho Marx), Chicolini (Chico Marx), Duck Soup (1933)


Posted By: John Farmer
Last Edit: 13 Apr 2010 @ 09:48 AM



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