Potentially Fair Lady

Filed under:Movies — posted by Anwyn on June 6, 2008 @ 12:46 pm

A remake of My Fair Lady starring Keira Knightley.

It has potential … what kind of potential depends on too many things to predict either a memory-corrupting bomb or brilliant addition to the Harrison/Hepburn classic. Same score, but shot on location as opposed to soundstages. Do musicals work in more realistic settings? They’re art pieces, and the sets help them create the art. The scene that shows the market square coming to life installment by installment comes to mind. The traditional moan of musical-detesters, “It’s so unrealistic, people singing all the time,” misses the point completely–as in opera, they’re expressing the dialogue in song instead of in spoken word. That sense of entering a different mode of expression could be destroyed by the attempted introduction of too much realism, even if it’s just locations–but it’s not just locations; they are explicitly trying to capture more of the emotional “highs and lows” that Eliza goes through.

That’s a pretty serious gamble for a musical to take, especially for one as beloved as My Fair Lady, but I can’t help being intensely curious to see if it will pay off.

Update: The producer of Notting Hill, Duncan Kenworthy, is on board with this. I seem to recall from that film a strong sense of London-as-movie-set, evoking that same sense of stage as My Fair Lady’s sets while allowing for intense emotion in the leads–the scene where Hugh Grant walks through the seasons of a year in the space of one song, for example. Maybe it won’t be as far from the art cocoon as would initially be thought.

one comment so far »

  1. Horrible, horrible idea. Don’t mess with perfection, that’s my motto, when it comes to movie remakes.

    Comment by Petitedov — June 10, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace