My Fair Lady

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devlinnn
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#1 Post by devlinnn » Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:42 pm

One can only dream what Minnelli would have done with My Fair Lady had Jack paid him his asking fee. Instead, Cukor does his duty-best - his eye for the word and performance overriding the viewer's want and need to walk and breath through the visuals and sets. But what words and performances. After a dodgy start as a simple flower girl, Hepburn slow burns her way to creative heights, making real Harrison's stunned realization that 'I've grown accustomed to her face.' As great as Julie Andrews is as singer and actor, I doubt the film would be as essential today without Hepburn's romance with the camera-eye. A film I've grown to love as the years pass ever forward, moving on from a state of mild admiration during younger days.

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Lino
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#2 Post by Lino » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:56 pm

Thanks for bringing this one up, devlinnn. In fact, this film is solely responsible for increasing even more my interest in the English language. I even showed it once to my mother when she was taking a crash course in the language of Shakespeare a few years back. I think it makes for a wonderful introduction.

There was a time when I would watch this at least once a week. I can even quote most of the dialogue and of course I know all the songs by heart. And it also started my life-long love affair with Audrey, still the most beautiful actress to grace the silver-screen.

As for the DVD, I still own the old version and have not upgraded since. The Beaver review did not convince me on the whole that this new 2xDVD is substantially better. Of course, I could be wrong. Any thoughts?

atcolomb
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#3 Post by atcolomb » Sun Aug 21, 2005 1:42 pm

I also have the old version of My Fair Lady so i went to the library and checked out the new version and did my own comparison using my 2 dvd players at the same time. The new one was slightly sharper but not enough to buy it. The sound was the same but the new one has a little more extras on it but i am not so sure. The laserdisc box set has a little more image on all sides but weaker colors compared to the dvd.

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Lino
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#4 Post by Lino » Fri Feb 03, 2006 5:40 am

I finally went out and bought the 2xDVD edition of this film and now my doubts are over: this is the one to go.

Although the differences in the A/V department are minute (with the 2xDVD edition being marginaly better), the real deal is found in the extras: plenty of bonuses to get yourselves lost into containing everything you'd like to know about the making of this perenial classic.

So, if you're wondering if you need to upgrade it, the answer is an inequivocal YES!

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souvenir
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Re: My Fair Lady

#5 Post by souvenir » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:18 pm

My Fair Lady has a new release announced by Paramount?!

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Highway 61
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Re: My Fair Lady

#6 Post by Highway 61 » Wed Jul 15, 2009 3:42 pm

Says ClassicFlix:
With the DVD market flooded with the film, it may seem premature for Paramount to release My Fair Lady. However, it is likely they are trying to gauge consumer reception for a potential Blu-Ray release.
If this is really Paramount's strategy, it's a stupid one. I can't see them compiling any visionary extras or producing an extraordinary transfer that will warrant a purchase (or even a rental) if you've already got the WB release. Yet I'd buy this and every other Paramount Centennial release in a heartbeat if they were on Blu.

Also, what the hell is going on over at Warner Home Video? Loosing the rights to this and potentially Stagecoach? Halting practically all their classic releases. Just barely getting on board with Blu-ray. The terrible Archive. Admittedly, they've been slipping for a few years (botching the transfer of The Searchers, screwing up the Kubrick box for the third time), but this is absolutely ridiculous. Does George Feltenstein even work there anymore? I'd like to believe that the lull is all due to a need to remaster much of their catalogue for Blu-ray. But I suspect that in reality WB had the rug pulled out from under them after loosing the format war, and now they don't have much of a game plan. I imagine they're researching all sorts of alternatives that could keep Blu on the sidelines. :roll:

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Jeff
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Re: My Fair Lady

#7 Post by Jeff » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:45 am

The rights have reverted to CBS, which now equals Paramount. The Warner version went out of print at the end of June.

atcolomb
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Re: My Fair Lady

#8 Post by atcolomb » Thu Jul 16, 2009 1:04 pm

Highway 61 wrote:Says ClassicFlix:
With the DVD market flooded with the film, it may seem premature for Paramount to release My Fair Lady. However, it is likely they are trying to gauge consumer reception for a potential Blu-Ray release.
If this is really Paramount's strategy, it's a stupid one. I can't see them compiling any visionary extras or producing an extraordinary transfer that will warrant a purchase (or even a rental) if you've already got the WB release. Yet I'd buy this and every other Paramount Centennial release in a heartbeat if they were on Blu.

Also, what the hell is going on over at Warner Home Video? Loosing the rights to this and potentially Stagecoach? Halting practically all their classic releases. Just barely getting on board with Blu-ray. The terrible Archive. Admittedly, they've been slipping for a few years (botching the transfer of The Searchers, screwing up the Kubrick box for the third time), but this is absolutely ridiculous. Does George Feltenstein even work there anymore? I'd like to believe that the lull is all due to a need to remaster much of their catalogue for Blu-ray. But I suspect that in reality WB had the rug pulled out from under them after loosing the format war, and now they don't have much of a game plan. I imagine they're researching all sorts of alternatives that could keep Blu on the sidelines. :roll:
Speaking of Kubrick, what happened to Barry Lyndon? Warner Home Video did re-release most of the Kubrick stuff they own but not Barry Lyndon and this is one film with it's great visuals that would be great to see in blu-ray.

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marknyc5
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Re: My Fair Lady

#9 Post by marknyc5 » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:31 pm

Does anyone know exactly which of Audrey's vocal tracks are available on the laserdisc?

"Loverly" and "Show Me" are on the DVD, but are there others on the LD?

Thanks,

Mark
Last edited by marknyc5 on Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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manicsounds
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Re: My Fair Lady

#10 Post by manicsounds » Thu Oct 29, 2009 3:39 am

dvdtalk review

Completely different film transfer, and apparently worse, 5.1 gone down to 2.0 only, less audio and subtitle options (what? No English subtitles?), and missing some extras including the long retrospetive documentary.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: My Fair Lady

#11 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:33 am

Pretty shocking that someone would release a downgraded version of a classic of this sort.

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Matt
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Re: My Fair Lady

#12 Post by Matt » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:24 pm

Michael Kerpan wrote:Pretty shocking that someone would release a downgraded version of a classic of this sort.
Though the extras were more expansive on the 2003 SE of West Side Story than the original 1998 edition, one of the musical numbers was out of sync. I don't know that it's ever been fixed. But since this release of My Fair Lady is coming from a different studio entirely (Paramount), I'm not surprised that Warner Bros. didn't give them anything they developed, from the master down to the subtitles.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: My Fair Lady

#13 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Oct 29, 2009 1:32 pm

I can understand a difference as to extras, but releasing a visually less-satsifactory DVD just seems dumb.

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marknyc5
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Re: My Fair Lady

#14 Post by marknyc5 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 2:13 pm

I see that people think that the sound for "Tonight" is out of sync. This is a direct rip I made from the DVD, and it sure looks in sync to me. BTW, here's a clip I made of Natalie's own vocal for this song.

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andyli
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Re: My Fair Lady

#15 Post by andyli » Sun Dec 30, 2012 12:45 am

Just came back from tonight's screening of My Fair Lady and it proved an unexpectedly rare experience. The film was barely shown theatrically in recent years and the 70-mm projection at Lincoln Center tonight could well be the last one for the public for years to come, according to the statement prepared by Mr. Robert Harris (who couldn't personally attend because of the snowy weather), as in the transition period of film print to DCP the studios were now taking extreme caution with film elements and preferred all the original and restored materials to be kept and guarded rather than traveling and touring. After tonight this print was supposed to go back to the AMPAS and never come out again. But a most unfortunate event took place when we were approaching the last reel of the film. In the scene of Eliza and Henry quarreling in Mrs. Higgins' house, the film came to a pause right at a medium shot of Ms. Hepburn and a screen flame engulfed the freezing frame. We saw Ms. Hepburn's beautiful face swallowed by a rapidly growing black hole with burning rim. The screen soon went black and a collective groan swooped the auditorium. In a bizarre and surreal moment the audience seemed to be transformed into the famous scene of Cinema Paradiso where a similar burn-up of film stock happened in the middle of a film projection. Fortunately the organizer immediately came up and reassured us that the issue would be fixed and the last reel of film would go on in a few minutes (personally I would rather they stop the screening immediately and never let the print run through that machine any longer), and he half-jokingly commented on how vulnerable film prints are and pointed out DCP wouldn't have caught a fire, but everyone in the room realized that one of the few extant 70-mm prints of My Fair Lady, at least part of it, had just gone into ashes and we just witnessed the last moment of it. I cannot help but wonder if Mr Harris were present, what would he have thought and felt about this incident. I'm still a bit disoriented of the whole thing and I believe many who attended the event are, judging by the shocked look of people during the brief interruption.

As they say, sic transit gloria. :(

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hearthesilence
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Re: My Fair Lady

#16 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Dec 30, 2012 1:46 am

Sweet Jesus, that's awful, and at this venue and with this print no less.

I've only seen this happen twice before, with 'new' 35mm prints of Saving Private Ryan and the John Carpenter's Vampires, and in both cases it was just sheer incompetence on the part of amateur projectionists who didn't know what they were doing.

From Twitter:

Will McKinley ‏@willmckinley
Just watched 1 of 3 extant 70mm prints of the 1994 restoration of MY FAIR LADY. As the guy behind me said, "I guess there are 2 left now."

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zedz
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Re: My Fair Lady

#17 Post by zedz » Sun Dec 30, 2012 10:45 pm

That sort of thing looks much worse than it is, fortunately. If it was jammed film that burns up, then only a frame or two will be affected (destroyed). Sad, but not as bad as a dirty gate that gouges the whole length of the film, or a nitrate print that could combust completely and take half the cinema with it!

EDIT: I've seen this happen a few times, also involving rare prints. The first time was Warhol's Bike Boy (everybody thought it was an avant garde thing), another time it was - appropriately enough - Shindo's Children of Hiroshima. That time, I raced to the projection booth, only to find it unoccupied, so I shut off the projector and went searching for a staff member, but the entire building was deserted and we, the (tiny) audience, were locked in!

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Brian C
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Re: My Fair Lady

#18 Post by Brian C » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:35 am

zedz wrote:That sort of thing looks much worse than it is, fortunately. If it was jammed film that burns up, then only a frame or two will be affected (destroyed).
Well, depending on exactly what happened and what kind of setup the booth had, it could be a few feet of film that were messed up. What happens, especially with platter systems, is that the tension on the film when it jams is severe enough that it gets all twisted in the projector and/or in the rollers feeding it. As a former incompetent teenage projectionist myself, I've unfortunately had to fix a few situations like this that resulted in the removal several seconds of the film, although thankfully not from anything as rare or important as this.

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MichaelB
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Re: My Fair Lady

#19 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:42 am

The 70mm print of The Master that played in London quickly acquired a scratch running the length of the first reel.

It was replaced eventually, but I bet it cost a pretty penny.

One of the most frustrating things about doing archival research at the BFI is that they have an absolutely unbreakable rule that if they only have one copy of a film, or even if they have more than one but haven't performed a full technical assessment on the prints yet, it can't be accessed for viewing. Which is obviously impossible to argue with on principle, but it's heartbreaking going through the catalogue and seeing how many films can't be viewed because of this - I remember it was particularly annoying trying to research Alastair Sim's early (1930s) career, as many of the films had never been telecined, and the archive copies may well have been the only surviving ones. And Sim is the kind of actor you really need to watch - no verbal description can possibly do him justice.

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marknyc5
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Re: My Fair Lady

#20 Post by marknyc5 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:40 pm

I can understand not projecting films, but they certainly should be carefully transferred to a digital format for viewing!

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MichaelB
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Re: My Fair Lady

#21 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:53 pm

marknyc5 wrote:I can understand not projecting films, but they certainly should be carefully transferred to a digital format for viewing!
Not remotely practical for a one-off research viewing, I'm afraid.

Unless the researcher is prepared to foot the bill for this "careful transfer", of course - but in my experience very few are. Which is hardly surprising when you consider the costs involved: triple figures minimum, more likely four, with the price shooting up if you want anything "careful" thrown into the process (proper grading, wet-gating, digital cleanup etc.).

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marknyc5
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Re: My Fair Lady

#22 Post by marknyc5 » Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:20 pm

I didn't mean the researcher should pay for the transfer, just that these films should be simply transferred so they are viewable.

I recently produced a DVD of 16mm kinescopes from the 1950s and had 30-minute shows transferred with extreme care and caution for $75 each. The results were beautiful.

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MichaelB
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Re: My Fair Lady

#23 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:49 pm

marknyc5 wrote:I didn't mean the researcher should pay for the transfer, just that these films should be simply transferred so they are viewable.

I recently produced a DVD of 16mm kinescopes from the 1950s and had 30-minute shows transferred with extreme care and caution for $75 each. The results were beautiful.
I repeat: who foots the bill?

I wanted to watch about half a dozen feature films. Even at the rates you're quoting, assuming an average 90 minute running time, that's $1,350 - though of course it would be a fair bit more than that since you won't have taken the costs of print retrieval, examination and transportation at the archive's end into account. And since these were all rare (very possibly unique) 35mm archive prints on volatile nitrate stock... well, I suspect the degree of care and caution needed is considerably more extreme (and therefore expensive) than anything you required!

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knives
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Re: My Fair Lady

#24 Post by knives » Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:49 pm

Though hopefully whomever owns the prints you are referring to would at least look into the possibility of a commercial release of the films. Nothing deserves to go unseen least of all as you've noted Sim's performances.

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MichaelB
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Re: My Fair Lady

#25 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:10 pm

Archives rarely own the rights to their holdings. They're allowed to make the films available to accredited researchers on an individual basis, but any further exploitation requires the rightsholder's permission.

Which is another reason why archives generally aren't keen to pay to make viewing copies themselves - there's very little chance they can recoup the money. The usual method is to acquire more than one extant print and make the inferior quality one available for viewings.

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