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My Fair Lady Review


Essential
This is the cinematic version of Alan Jay Lerner's and Frederick Loewe's musical (the longest-running Broadway show of the 1950s), which was based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion (both of which, of course, are still mainstays of theater and high school drama) -- though it has been stripped of its mildly socialistic overtones and turned into a musical romance. Nevertheless, this version of the play/musical is a film classic, which has entertained millions of people since its release.

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.

Continue reading: My Fair Lady Review

The Lavender Hill Mob Review


Excellent
This Ealing Studios crime caper/comedy is one of the studio's best, with Alec Guinness the nebbish, unlikely leader of a plan to steal a truckload of gold from the Bank of England, then smuggle it out of the country by melting it into Eiffel Tower statuettes. Naturally, something goes wrong (namely, a clerk at the Tower obliviously begins selling the statues to tourists), which sends the film into one of the funniest chase sequences in film history. Watch for two cameos: One by an Ealing production truck (at the end) and one by Audrey Hepburn (at the beginning).

Brief Encounter (1946) Review


Excellent
Fabulous classic directed by David Lean, with the unforgettable Celia Johnson as a prim and proper British housewife tempted to have an affair with a stranger (Trevor Howard) she met at the train station. Atmospheric and heartbreaking in its romanticism, it's a must-see for fans of love stories. But be warned: It was remade in 1974 as one of the worst films of its era. They just don't make 'em like they used to.
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