Sunday, August 08, 2010

Who knew?

... Audrey Hepburn 'couldn't sing and couldn't act', says Emma Thompson.

Am I the only one who thinks Emma Thompson is a dimwit?


  1. If people do turn in their graves Lerner and Loewe must be at the thought of remaking MFL.Perhaps Emma
    felt Julie Andrews should have gotten the part,a fellow Englishwomen. Harrison had to do the play and Beaton could have been replaced by any number of talented Hollywood designers.I cannot imagine what these people will do to that great American musical!Thanks

  2. It wasn't Hepburn's best film.

    I agree with Thompson on: "It's high time that the extraordinary role of Eliza was reinterpreted, because it's a very fantastic part for a woman."

    But if she thinks she's going to give it "a feminist makeover" -- she's a little late. She ought to try reading "Pygmalion," the play the musical is based on.

  3. Dear Frank,

    Ms. Hepburn could not sing--all of her parts were dubbed, as you well know. I don't know if she could act either--but she was luminous and riveting in a way that those with perhaps greater acting ability seldom are.

    I'm always open to new interpretations--but too often they hold but a pale candle to the original.

    And, of course, this is ancient history now that Ms. Thompson sees fit to dig up.



  4. The singing in the film My Fair Lady was dubbed by the "ghostess with the mostess," Marni Nixon, who did the same service, I believe, for Natalie Wood in West Side Story. Like many people at the time, I thought Julie Andrews should have got the part that was given to Hepburn. Nevertheless, when I saw the film I found Hepburn completely enchanting, and still do. By the way, Jeremy Brett, who played Freddy in the film, could sing quite well, but for some reason they dubbed him too.
    Cynthia, of course, is right. Pygmalion already does what Thompson claims to want to do. I can't help thinking that an attempt by someone as humorless as Thompson to "improve" a great musical is an example hubris gone comic.

  5. Thompson's "sold into slavery" line won't do either, if I recall Shaw's play properly. Eliza was selling flowers and living on her own, and her father was mooching off her. She was no longer in his possession to be sold to anyone. She appeared on Higgins's doorstep on her own steam wanting to take him up on his inadvertent offer to make a "lady" of her, and had no truck with any suggestion she was selling sexual favors. Shaw intended her to be a character with immense personal drive and dignity, however impoverished.

  6. Exactly correct, Cynthia. You are also right that Fair Lady is not Hepburn's best film. For me, that is Breakfast at Tiffany's. I know that Two For the Road is a fine film, but Breakfast is Audrey at her most adorable.

  7. And why I don't find her "adorable" I've always adored her. So it isn't a guy thing, either.

    She was truly a great lady, as her international work with children revealed.

    I understand her greatest films are Two for the Road, Wait Until Dark, The Children's Hour, The Nun's Story.

    Haven't seen any of them.

  8. I haven't seen The Nun's Story, but the others are all excellent. Breakfast is my favorite in large part because I once dated -- futilely -- a girl who reminded me very much of Holly Golightly.