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Musical Project: Best Leading Actor 1964: Rex Harrison – My Fair Lady

March 30, 2013

I have seen much better musicals in my life, than My Fair Lady is. I can imagine it worked wonderfully in the theatre, but it’s too long for a movie. But it’s very fine, I enjoyed it enough and the performances in it are all very good, so I have nothing to complain about.
Rex Harrison plays professor Higgins who’s decided to make a duchess from a poor young florist. I can’t help myself, but I found Harrison’s portrayal to be very dull. Sometimes I had a hard time concentrating on his performance, because the other actors very disturbing my attention with their more interesting performances. I always felt like he didn’t do anything more, than what he should.
Henry Higgins was supposed to be a self-conscious, cold-minded, bullheaded and selfish man a yet the man we still sympathize with. Harrison succeeded in this quite well. But that’s all he did. There’s nothing more to this performance. His portrayal misses the charm, or the jazz that makes a performance unforgettable.
To the musical part: Except from one scene he doesn’t dance. This scene he handle greatly. I can’t even say he sings, because it’s not truly singing he does. He declaims the songs instead. The strange thing is that I didn’t care about it, at all. It worked perfectly for the film and that’s all I need to know.
What should I say to sum it up? Rex Harrison did exactly what the film wanted him to do. He succeeded in creating a good characterization, he handles his songs well enough, but I missed something more than that. Sometimes his performance came as a bit lackluster.
His best scene is from the second act that he is much better in, than in the first. It would be one of his songs ‘You did it’, or ‘A Hymn to Him’. Right now I’m going with the first one…

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