The plot is familiar: Henry Higgins (Rex Harrison) is a professor of linguistics and a pompous, contented bachelor. On a wager with a colleague, Higgins undertakes to teach an illiterate Cockney, Eliza Doolittle (Audrey Hepburn), to speak the King's English. Shaw's message was that, as the human mind is a blank slate, anyone in England could be aristocracy if they only had the right education. Lerner's screenplay dispenses with Shaw's dubious ideology, and instead turns the story into a smart romantic comedy satirizing various levels of British society. And like most musicals, the final message of My Fair Lady is love conquers all -- even misogynistic, pompous blokes like Higgins.
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Boy, was I wrong. What with Lee Marvin and Clint Eastwood's singing, a whorehouse being built, a criminal tunnel being dug under "No Name Town," and a polygamous relationship among Marvin, Eastwood, and local honey Jean Seberg, Paint Your Wagon is so chock full of debauchery one might think Sam Peckinpah had been involved.
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The premise: a wealthy Parisian (Louis Jourdan) is training a young girl (Leslie Caron) to be his mistress. He and his ribald uncle (Maurice Chevalier) even sing songs like "Thank Heaven for Little Girls." It's a musical about pedophilia -- and this is one of Hollywood's most glorified song-and-dance films. Even more bizarre is that Caron was 27 when she was tapped to play young Gigi. She looks like she's about 16.
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