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Going to the Movies with my Dad
Happy Father's Day!
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Continuing our theme of great movies and great wine, in honor of Father’s Day this weekend, I’m picking one of Johnny’s Gramps/Papa Wiz’s favorite movies, My Fair Lady.
For those of you who don’t already know — and hey, no judgment here! — this story began life as a play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw in 1913, filmed in 1938, turned into a stage musical in 1956, and filmed in 1964. Audrey Hepburn (whose singing is dubbed by Marni Nixon) replaces Tony-nominated Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle, and Rex Harrison (who talks-sings, sort of) reprises his stage role as Henry Higgins.
Henry Higgins is a brilliant, rude, and insolent professor of linguistics and phonetics. Upon hearing Eliza’s brash Cockney accent, he bets his friend Colonel Pickering (the delightfully dotty but very sweet Wilfrid Hyde-White) that in six months he could teach her elocution so well he could pass her off as a duchess at an Embassy ball. Eliza shows up at his home (in a taxi, no less) and demands he make good. With a better accent, she can get a better paying and more genteel job in a shop, and not have to sell grubby flowers on street corners. Yay, capitalism!
Higgins sets to work on Eliza, driving each other slightly mad in the process. Frustrated Eliza imagines all the torments she’ll visit upon him in the very funny “Just You Wait.” A first try at high society, at Ascot Opening Day, does not go extremely well for our heroes. But wait… I think she’s got it!
Other fantastic moments include the besotted Freddy Eynsford-Hill (a gorgeous young Jeremy Brett) turning up to woo Eliza and singing the very romantic “On The Street Where You Live”, and also That Dress… But no, I won’t spoil all the delights of a 58-year-old movie.
What to drink with this? In honor of Eliza’s somewhat ‘umble beginnings, any decent cheap and cheerful wine you can find will do nicely for the first act. Because it’s Papa Wiz Day, I would of course have to choose white zinfandel. For the Embassy ball scene and of course That Dress, no question: it’s got to be champagne. French, the real stuff. Since it’s just the last half of the movie, get a half bottle if you’re on a budget!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find a big steak and some white zin for Sunday. Happy Father’s Day, dads of all kinds out there!