My Fair Lady

George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion premiered in London back in 1913. Loosely based on an ancient Greek myth, its plot involves a linguistics professor, Henry Higgins, teaching a bedraggled flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, to speak proper English—not only well enough to pass her off as a duchess at an embassy ball, but to "get her a job as a lady's maid or a shop assistant, which requires better English!"

But it's the 1964 Oscar-winning film, My Fair Lady, that's most familiar to today's audiences. Based on the wildly successful 1956 Broadway musical, the movie follows Shaw's razor-sharp dialogue almost word-for-word, though Shaw's original play lacked the "happy" (or at least ambiguous) ending of both the stage musical and film. The songs by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe range from operatic ("I could Have Danced All Night" and "On the Street Where You Live") to witty patter "sung" by Rex Harrison. (Harrison was no singer, but the sing-speak style he used works brilliantly.)


A captivating Audrey was no singer either, with most of her songs dubbed by Marni Nixon. My Fair Lady had deteriorated badly over the years prior to an extensive 1994 restoration. The repairs made several home video releases possible, including an 8K scan for the film's 50th anniversary in 2015. Now we have it here on a magnificent 4K/Dolby Vision disc offering deep, rich color and eye-popping detail. Sourced from the original Super Panavision 70 (65mm) film elements, it looks like it was shot yesterday instead of more than 55 years ago.


The movie's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio mix is solid, though not particularly demo-worthy, with both subtle surround effects and bass. It's been transferred here at a rare (for Blu-ray) 96kHz sampling rate, though any benefits from this are unlikely to be audible since many A/V receivers rarely pass audio at higher than 48kHz due to the other demands on their extensive processing.


Extras are provided on a separate standard Blu-ray disc and are mostly forgettable—film premieres and interviews, plus celebrity-heavy fan service. One exception is a 23-minute doc, More Loverly Than Ever: The Making of My Fair Lady Then and Now. There's also a found scene where Hepburn herself sings "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," which was later dubbed over prior to the 1964 release. Earlier disc versions offered a commentary track, but it's not included here.

STUDIO: Paramount Pictures, 1964
HDR FORMAT: Dolby Vision, HDR10
LENGTH: 172 mins.
DIRECTOR: George Cukor
STARRING: Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway