My Fair Lady
Director: George Cukor
Cast: Rex Harrison , Audrey Hepburn, Stanley Holloway , Wilfrid Hyde-White , Gladys Cooper , Jeremy Brett , Theodore Bikel, Isobel Elsom, Mona Washbourne, Walter Burke.
London: Covent Garden fruit market.
George Cukor's 1964 film 'My Fair Lady' was an adaptation of George Bernard Shaw 's classic play Pygmalion. The story tells of snotty phonetics professor who agrees to a bet in which he must turn common flower girl Eliza Doolittle into a lady who can hold her own in High Society.
Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison star in this classic film as Eliza and professor Higgins respectively. Eliza first approaches the professor as she wishes to work in a flower shop rather than selling on the street. Unfortunately, her thick Cockney accent leads her to being deemed unsuitable for the shop job. She offers to pay for the elocution lessons but cannot afford the sort of fees commanded by Higgins. However, Higgins' friend Colonel Pickering remembers Higgins' boast that he can teach any working class girl to talk in such a way that she could pass as a lady in elite circles. Sure that Higgins cannot do it, he wagers him the price of the lessons.
Higgins is successful but takes all the credit, not acknowledging the hard work put by Eliza and treating her with disdain once the job is done. Eliza walks out on him, disgusted, and eventually enlists the help of Higgins' mother to help her.
Although the film is shot in Hollywood studios, the plot involves many classic English locations. The East End of London was chosen for the origins of Eliza Doolittle partly as it has always had the reputation for being the poorer and tougher part of London. It was once home to the notorious gangsters the Kray Twins . However, the East End is the true home of the Cockney and is often seen as the true home of the Londoner not a part of the affluent classes. The Cockney accent is the obvious other reason for setting the film in the East End.
The East End is well worth a visit for its many markets and it contrasts with nearby Covent Garden, a more up market area to the City of London. A very popular tourist destination, Covent Garden has an excellent range of shops and eating places. Another famous place depicted in the film is Ascot Racecourse. Ascot is home to the annual horse race meeting known as Royal Ascot . Every year the wealthy attend in droves, ostensibly to witness the horse racing, but actually most spend more time there showing off their fashionable hats and outfits.
A Picture of Britain