The French Connection: Three Films Versus Five; Good Manners Versus Bad; Art Versus Entertainment — Yours To Decide The 1971 Best Picture

Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle and Buddy “Cloudy” Russo are narcotics cops in New York City. I like their names and nicknames. Their work is dirty.

While investigating an anticipated shipment of drugs, Popeye and Cloudy draw a connection to two French visitors, who they refer to as Frog 1 and Frog 2. The chase is on.

After a memorable and partially unscripted car race by Popeye below chasing Frog 2 above in an elevated train across Brooklyn, Popeye shoots Frog 2 in the back, killing the suspected criminal, who — it should be said, I guess, by way of justification — had tried to shoot and kill Popeye before the chase began. Do not make Popeye Doyle mad. He is a “bad” cop.

The elderly and more refined smuggler, Frog 1, attempts to close the deal and deliver the goods. Popeye and Cloudy intervene and the rest is in the movie, the ending and the closing credits.

A commendable cops and robbers show with very good acting, the film was awarded the Best Picture statuette by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for the year 1971.

I too thought well of the movie.

The EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy (EFMO) audience not so.

Of the first 44 Best Pictures viewed to this point, the EFMO viewers gave this movie a 6.30 out of 10.00 (10 great; 1 not). That’s #36 of 44, the bottom 20%. Responding to the EFMO survey question whether after viewing the show you would be influenced to leave someone you are angry with on a bare hillside in the snow or retrieve them to a warm cabin, a majority said “LEAVE.” That’s only the 6th time out of the first 44 Best Pictures, our disfavored personage has been left so behind in the freezing cold.

What a sad lament this is.

And, “Why for?”

Consider the following sentence summarizing the audience likes and dislikes:

“Some liked and some disliked the show; the acting and chase scene were likes, while police violence and the ending were singled out as dislikes — although it should be noted that some liked the ending; the subject is cops and robbers, and, like war, this appears to be a polarizing topic, which, when presented with the brutal unfinished bareness of this film, may present an entertainment hurdle for those preferring a more balanced and determined process and endpoint.”

Cops and robbers (1971 The French Connection) are violent and ill mannered. So are war and warriors (1970 Patton). As are drugs, bums and prostitutes (1969 Midnight Cowboy). The last three Best Pictures (1969, 1970 and 1971) portray leading individuals with bad manners. And the average rating for those three pictures is the lowest 3-picture average since the inception of the Oscars.

The five prior Best Pictures (1964 My Fair Lady, 1965 The Sound of Music, 1966 A Man For All Seasons, 1967 In The Heat Of The Night and 1968 Oliver) portray leading individuals with good manners. And the 5-picture average for those films is the highest since the Oscars began.

Good versus bad manners.

It appears good manners travel better and are more entertaining than bad manners — even 50 years later.

A word on “entertaining.” There is a great controversy whether the Best Picture award should be an award for primarily entertainment value or primarily artistic value. At the 1st Academy Award Ceremony in Los Angeles on May 16, 1929, two Oscars were awarded for Best Pictures: one for “Outstanding Picture” (entertainment value) and one for “Unique and Artistic Picture” (artistic value). The next year the categories were combined to one for “Best Picture.”

Since 1929, the Academy has studiously avoided placing any meaningful criteria on the definition of the “Best Picture” or any practical limitations on the voting members of the Academy in making their choices.

Entertainment versus art.

Perhaps this is another reason why some movies travel well and are appreciated years later, and some are not?

This is far too heady a subject for a short discussion.

Suffice to say the last three shows have not traveled as well as the prior five.

Allow you to opine in your own heads whether this is a matter of manners, entertainment or art.

And always remember there is another movie next year.

See you in 1972.

 

Grandpa Jim

 

Patton: The 1970 Best Picture — Some Things Do Not Change . . . Even For Film

George S. Patton was an American general and a hero of the second world war. General Patton was given to gruff, colorful and direct overstatement. He was not one to mince words.

George C. Scott plays Patton in the 1970 Oscar-winning Best Picture, for which he was voted the Best Actor of that year. George C. Scott is an American acting legend and a hero to many. At the awards ceremony, Actor Scott refused his Oscar with the addition of some colorful phraseology of his own. He was not one to mince words.

General and Actor in their ways were it seems much the same.

This is a war picture. It starts with Patton in North Africa, where the General pins on his third star and brilliantly maneuvers the American tanks to chase the Nazi General Rommel onto an airplane to Berlin with a head cold. The fighting moves to Sicily, where General Patton bests the British in the race to Messina. At which point, the General’s words in the Actor’s mouth effectively remove him from favor. He retires to England to waive speeches to British ladies in a ruse to confuse the Germans. Patton does not enjoy this domestic, if salutary, role; and the General’s words in the Actor’s mouth again get him into trouble and relegate the able warrior to the back seat and away from the action. After the Allied invasion of France, General Patton receives his fourth star and is allowed to return to his beloved tanks and their able soldiers. Patton drives the Third Army across France toward the German homeland. At this point and to the north, the Germans rally and counterattack in force, bulging the Allied lines into the freezing winter and surrounding the Americans in the pivotal Belgium town of Bastogne. This is where we and the world see the true Patton. The General rallies his men to do the impossible. The Third Army pivots and turns, fights through the frozen slush and numbing cold, breaks the German stranglehold, and rescues their stranded comrades — all of this as the newsreels turn and the world watches in wide-eyed amazement. The General has secured his place in history and the Actor his place in film. There is some more, some not unexpected verbal mishaps, but the war is soon over. Our General and Actor walk slowly off into the quiet evening as the show ends. This is a war film and the war is over.

EhtnoFamilyMovieOgraphy (EFMO) does not end with that final scene. There is a survey to fill out and the resulting data to manipulate.

One of the questions on the EFMO survey is this: “If this movie were a branch of the federal government (Executive, Legislative, Judicial), which branch do you feel describes this film?” For this film, no one circled Legislative or Judicial. Everyone circled Executive. This has happened just once before for another war film, Lawrence of Arabia.

Surprisingly, as many people rated the film 1 and 2 (at the low end) as rated the film 9 and 10 (at the high end). Why? What’s going on here?

Let’s look at the summary sentence that reflects the audience comments:

“Some viewers liked the movie as a war movie and some disliked the movie because it is a war movie; George C. Scott’s portrayal of Patton was generally applauded; Patton was appreciated for his honesty, determination, strength and patriotism, which were countered by his big mouth, politics, the press and the sad realities of war; overall, this is a war movie and for that reason its overall rating is low — somewhat of a surprise that war has such a polarizing effect on otherwise thoughtful and objective viewers of cinema, but then again in the fine realm of entertainment is there ever truly detachment?”

The one word for the show: “War.” The average rating for Patton: 7.15. That moves the film down to #33 of the 43 Best Pictures viewed to date. Not since the third Best Picture in 1930, All Quiet On the Western Front, have we had a similar result. The word for that movie was also “War” and the average rating of 7.30 for that film is not much different than for Patton. Even among the great war films, there is not that much different.

Perhaps we should not be surprised by the result.

There is in war that which separates and is not well received.

This is just a movie, but it is nonetheless the depiction of war; and in that the film and the reality appear to share in the same result.

Some things it seems do not change, and war it seems is one of those things that does not — for itself, for its audience and for the film.

Even for a great film, it is still a war show.

And war is war.

 

Grandpa Jim

Midnight Cowboy: The Last Best Picture Show Of The 60’s — Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

It is with trepidation, I write this post.

Trepidation is defined as a feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen. The word is from Latin words meaning to tremble with alarm.

Change can be sad and alarming. In one of his most famous songs, Pet Seeger follows the flowers from a young girl’s hands to the young man going off to war to her placing the flowers on his gravestone. Where have all the flowers gone?

With the 1969 Best Picture, “Midnight Cowboy,” we lose something. With a naive trembling, we set the youthful blooms of the first forty-two years of the Best Pictures down and stand sadly to step away into a new era of cinema.

A theatrical exuberance inhabits those first forty-two years of Oscar-winning Best Pictures. From 1928 to 1969, there is a celluloid youth and energy that at times almost bubbles over to entertain its audience. Perhaps that is that. The films of the first five decades of the Oscars are largely entertaining. For the 20’s to the 30’s into the 40’s through the 50’s and continuing to most of the 60’s, the cinema is there to entertain, to captivate and draw away, to lose one’s self in the magic of film, to lift and soar in moments of near thoughtless reverie and delight.

Could it continue forever?

The message was delivered. There needs to be more thought, more art in the Best Picture. It had been thought movies were entertainment and entertainment was the movies. Now will movies be more art and entertainment and art and entertainment less the movies?

This is, of course, for the audience to decide, not a humble ethnofamilymovieographer. Ours is simply to watch and record.

One of the questions on the post-show EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy Survey is this:

“You stop at a crowded intersection during rush hour in the rain. This movie approaches as a panhandler. Assume you have unlimited cash on your person and you regularly give to panhandlers. Circle how much money you would hand through the window:  NONE  $10  $1,000,000  MORE”

Of the first forty-two Best Pictures, the window was rolled up on “Midnight Cowboy” more than any other film. More people circled “NONE” than ever before. And, for the first time, the panhandler was not handed a “$1,000,000” or “MORE” by anyone in the audience. A few “$10” bills were flung through the window, but that was that.

The distillation of the “Likes” and “Dislikes” from the surveys resulted in the following summary sentence:

“Most appreciated the acting and the actors, especially the portrayal of ‘Ratso’ Rizzo by Dustin Hoffman, described by one viewer as one of the great method actors of our time; and although some found love and redemption in the brotherly caring relationship that develops between Cowboy Joe Buck and Rizzo, most disliked the movie and characterized the story of the show variously as sordid, bleak, depressing, pointless, degrading, immoral, disgusting, dark and demoralizing — to the the point that a number of viewers summarized simply by saying they disliked everything, reflecting perhaps a picture garnering limited critical appreciation but providing little audience enjoyment; there is little joy in this show.”

It is with some trepidation that we move to the Best Pictures of the 70’s.

The 60’s have had a marvelous run of first-rate shows. My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Man for All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, and Oliver represent together the five most highly rated shows to date to play in consecutive order. They are magnificent entertainment. Unfortunately, Midnight Cowboy was not viewed as so entertaining. In fact, it received the second lowest rating (3.19) given to any of the first 42 Best Pictures, barely doing better than the rating of 3.17 for Tom Jones (the lowest score to date).

Is it time to begin to tremble with alarm?

Where have all the flowers gone?

Long time passing.

When will they ever learn?

Long time ago.

What will the future hold?

Long time passing.

 

Grandpa Jim

 

A Man For All Seasons, In The Heat Of The Night and Oliver: The Best Pictures Of 1966, 1967 and 1968 — Does The String Continue?

The Sound of Music, the 1965 Oscar-winning Best Picture, was given an average rating of 9.57 by the EthnoFamlyMovieOgraphy (EFMO) viewing audience. Only two other films of the first 38 Best Pictures received higher after-viewing ratings: Ben Hur (1960) at 9.77 and Gone With the Wind (1939) with a 9.63 rating. With the previous year’s winner, My Fair Lady (1964) at 9.43, we have the highest average rating (9.29) for two consecutive films in the first 38 years of the Academy’s history. My Fair Lady (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965) represent the best two-picture run to date.

The question is: “Are we on a roll and will the string continue?”

For 1966, A Man for All Seasons was voted Best Picture. In this award-winning film (six Oscars), Paul Scofield received the Best Actor statuette for his portrayal of Sir Thomas More, the bright and balanced Lord Chancellor of England, who lost his head over the boisterous and unbalanced dalliances of King Henry VIII. The summary sentence derived from the EFMO comments follows:

“Everyone liked Paul Scofield’s acting in presenting Thomas More as a loyal family man of values, faith, principles and conviction; many disliked the bad guys (Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell and Richard Rich), and while some quibbled with historical inaccuracies in the script and were curt with the lack of plot developing the relationship between More and the King, these ‘dislike’ comments largely supported an appreciation of the effective acting portrayals of these convincingly dispicable characters; so that overall the virtuous and villainous themes of the show are viewed as trumped in the comments by an appreciation of the truly outstanding acting of Scofield and the supporting actors and actresses — good and bad.”

The one word for the film was: “acting.” The acting is superb. The film achieved an 8.87 EFMO rating, placing it in the #11 slot of the 39 Best Pictures to this point. This very respectable performance was enough to make My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and A Man for All Seasons, the most highly rated three-picture run to date.

Can the string continue?

For 1967, the OSCAR for Best Picture was presented to In the Heat of the Night. In this show, a murder occurs in a small Southern town. A black police detective from Philadelphia is enlisted by the small-town white sheriff to sift through the prejudices and identify the killer. The EFMO sentence for the film is:

“Another very well acted Best Picture with the relationship portrayed between the white Southern Sheriff (Rod Steiger) and the black Northern Detective (Sidney Poitier) being the big “like’ of the show, while some disliked and reflected on the prejudicial treatment of blacks then and today.”

The one word was “relationship.” In a troubled time, this was an encouraging story of an unlikely and appreciated friendship. The film received an EFMO audience rating at 8.33, placing it at #21 of the first 40 Best Pictures. In combination with the three prior films, this average rating was high enough to continue the overall string. My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Man for All Seasons, and now In the Heat of the Night represent the best four-picture run in the first 40 years of the Best Pictures.

Can we hope to extend this streak for one more show?

Of the films of 1968, Oliver had the temerity to step out, ask for and receive the Best Picture Oscar. Thrown from his bleak orphanage home, the innocent Oliver sings his way through the misguided teachings of the miserly Fagin and the monstrous traps of dangerous Bill Sikes to find, with the help of kind Nancy, relatives and friends in a bright new home on street filled with music. All of which merited the following summary sentence:

“Another well received, almost operatic, musical — the songs, lyrics, dancing and sets were generally appreciated; most hated the bad guys (Fagin and Bill Sikes, especially), loved the good guys (Oliver and Nancy) and commented favorably on the acting (except for Bill Sikes – terrible actor); there was love, gumption and redemption in the presence of child abuse, criminal meanness and difficult-to-watch suffering (hard-to-view matters that may have contributed to the lower rating of the show); all of this was captured in an oddly suspenseful and entertaining film set in a very bleak time period, indeed — which makes the selection of a single word for the movie a challenging undertaking.”

Yes, what word for Oliver? “Gumption” of course, for it took courage, drive and action for Oliver to fight back to the right side of town. A delightful musical but with some difficult trappings, the film garnered a rating of of 7.79, placing it at #27 of the first 41 Best Pictures. Yet, overall, with the last four pictures, we do have the best five-picture run to date in Best Picture history.

My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Man for All Seasons, In the Heat of the Night, and Oliver represent, in their combined average, the five most highly rated EFMO films to occur in a row — 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968. In the first 41 years of the Best Pictures, this five-year run presents the very best viewing.

Will this string continue to 1969?

How will the ’60’s end?

Be here to see.

Soon.

 

Grandpa Jim

The 89th Academy Awards: Is AMPAS Still Relevant In The Selection Of The Best Picture?

Many of us watched the 89th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday evening, February 26, 2017.

Some of us may still be in shock over the awarding of the Oscar for Best Picture.

The Best Picture award is the key event of the night, the opening of the envelope we all anticipate, the highlight of the evening.

They opened the wrong envelope. It wasn’t their fault. They, Bonnie and Clyde, Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, did not hold up the event. The robbery duo of 50-years past was handed the wrong envelope. They opened the envelope containing the name of the Best Actress winner, Emma Stone of La La Land. Perplexed, they passed the card, looked at each other, and with a funny Warren shrug on her side, Faye announced to the audience, “La La Land.”

La La Land’s producers and cast rushed to the stage and jubilantly received and cradled their Oscars. As we watched, mice scurried in the background and we wondered what was happening. Mumbles and jumbles rushed to the microphone and kindly, worriedly and interruptively announced, “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake.”

Moonlight had won, not La La Land, as the stage collapsed in a nervous rush to the commercial break.

But does this, one of the greatest guffaws in Oscar history, end there?

Or is there something more to the story?

Are there contributing causes?

For 65 years, a certain process had existed.

For 65 years, no more than five films in a given year had been nominated for Best Picture.

For all that very considerable time (1944-2009), the Academy’s voters had been called to cast a single vote for one of the Best Picture nominees. The winner was simply and straightforwardly the nominated film that received the most votes. The method employed was one called First-Past-The-Post voting.

In 2009, however, the voting and tabulation process was changed to something called Instant Runoff Voting or Alternative Voting or Transferable Voting or Ranked-Choice Voting or Preferential Voting. Don’t ask what it is or how it works? The explanation will hurt your head. The process is used in national elections in several countries. In this year, do we need say more? Elections are one thing; Oscars, we had hoped, are another.

In 2009, things were radically changed. Since then and with due respect, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has been nominating far too many films and using a process that is far too complicated for the Best Picture determination.

Evidence the fact that they can’t even get the envelopes straight.

Please note that this is not a comment on the picture finally selected by the Academy and so confusedly announced on the TV. This is a comment addressed to the credibility of the process employed to select the Best Picture. More fundamentally, it is also a guarded statement of concern regarding the continued relevance of the Academy and its Best Picture award.

A process should be seen as credible.

For the Best Picture process to be credible, it might be said that the process should be transparent and understandable both to the AMPAS voting participants and the movie audiences intended to receive the results.

A process that nominates too many films and is too complicated may not meet this standard.

On the one hand, the Academy could be viewed as abdicating its responsibility to the movie-going public and its voters in not make an expert judgment as to the very best nominees for Best Picture for that year. There is a concern here that this responsibility has not been met where there are too many candidates. In fact, there will only be one Best Picture; and in reality, it is unlikely there are more than two or three comparable films for that particular year. Judgment needs to be exercised before the ballots are distributed.

On the other hand, a process that is too complicated and perhaps best served in other applications could be viewed as doing a disservice to the AMPAS voters by not allowing their views to be reflected fully and truly in the results. Furthermore, a complicated exercise more appropriate for degreed statisticians may do a disservice to the more widely represented theatre audiences by not being fully transparent or easily understandable to the average ticket holder. Ballots should be easily marked and results straightforwardly tabulated.

Again, this is not to question the result for the Best Picture selected for 2016.

With deference and respect to the Academy, it is to question the continued relevance of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the exercise of its unique responsibilities to nominate the best pictures of the year, to assist the AMPAS voters in their selection of the one Best Picture, and to present a winner determined by a credible process. That process should reflect at its heart that the Oscar is determined and presented not by the Academy, not by the AMPAS voters, not by stars on a stage, but by the moviegoing audiences around the world who love the magic of film and are the true measure of a movies worth.

Allegiance is owed, by the Academy and its voters, first and foremost to those audiences.

When the maintenance of this sacred bond ceases to be the primary and determinative factor in the process of selecting and presenting the Best Picture, the risk exists that the Academy may have lost its credibility and relevance in the eyes of those it serves.

It is our sincere hope that this has not yet happened.

The debacle of the other night raised eyebrows.

The changes of the past years raise doubts.

It is for now to quell those concerns.

With hope for the future.

Grandpa Jim

 

 

The Sound Of Music: The 1965 Oscar-Winning Best Picture — A Top Pick With Its EFMO Fans!

“The hills are alive with the sound of music.”

This is the opening line sung by Julie Andrews as she spins across a high meadow in the Austrian Alps. Her character, Maria, is studying to be a nun – – – until the young acolyte is nudged by the Mother Abbess ever so gently out the convent door and on to another profession. As the singing governess to Captain Van Trapp’s seven children, she dances into the hearts of the children and the arms of their father. With their musical talents, Marie carries the youngest child over her mountains as the family escapes the Nazi incursion. Leaving the hills behind, the Van Trapp Family Singers move beyond their beloved homeland and sing their way into history.

The movie is the 1965 Hollywood blockbuster of the Broadway adaptation of the true story of the Von Trapp family. It was and is a blockbuster. The first run of the film played in theaters for four and a half years. In some cities, the number of tickets sold exceeded the population. After the first release, there were the re-releases, which have really never stopped. Within a year of its release in 1966, the Sound of Music had become the highest grossing film of the time, surpassing Gone with the Wind which held the top spot for twenty-four years. Today, The Sound of Music remains one of the top-earning movies ever produced, with an inflation-adjusted take of over $2.5 billion — not bad for a young nun, seven kids and a captain.

Our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy (EFMO) audience liked the show very much. So much so that the film’s after-movie survey evaluation of 9.57 out of 10 places it at #3 from the top in the list of the first 38 Oscar-winning Best Pictures.

One of the survey questions each EFMO viewer is asked to answer for that evening’s film is the following:

“Assume hypothetically that you are angry with a person and considering leaving the person out in the freezing cold on a bare hillside in the snow without food or water or retrieving the person to the comfort of a warm cabin. There are no consequences to your decision. Immediately after viewing this show, which way would this movie influence you to act? Circle one:  LEAVE  RETRIEVE”

Hooray for Marie and those beautiful singing children! No one circled LEAVE. A wonderful happy zero inhabits that column. This is the second week for this welcome result to occur. Last week, no one circled LEAVE for the lovely My Fair Lady. We have had the real pleasure of watching back-to-back two delightfully entertaining and easily appreciated shows. Of the 38 Best Pictures to date, only six have received goose eggs in the LEAVE column, and we have unanimously retrieved that poor shivering person on the hillside for two shows in a row.

“What was the short summary sentence for The Sound of Music?” you ask. Well, here it is:

“Almost everyone listed ‘music’ as their first ‘like’, and most liked everything about the film (the second most-liked-everything movie in a row after My Fair Lady the week before); with the music, some identified ‘story’ and ‘love’ as likes, reflecting the overall happy and uplifting nature of the show and lifting the movie the the #3 position of the 38 movies viewed to date.”

There you have it in a scant sixty-seven (67) words.

And the single word for the movie is?

“MUSIC”

Could there be another for The Sound of Music?

Thank you for listening and please consider watching.

This is one of the best films to walk down the aisle for its award.

 

Grandpa Jim

My Fair Lady: The Best Picture Of 1964 — A Delightful Exercise In Musical Elocution!!!

Eliza Doolittle sells violets on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London England. She speaks squeaky Cockney English which horrifies Professor Henry Higgins who studies and enunciates the King’s English. Offhandedly, Professor Higgins comments to Colonel Pickering that he could make a lady of Eliza in six month’s time by teaching her proper English. Eliza’s untutored mouth may twist the English tongue but her mind is as sharp as a tack. She knows what words mean and she thinks about what those words so causally dropped might mean for her.

The next morning, our ragtag flower girls presents herself at the very proper bachelor retreat of Professor Higgins. Eliza offers to pay real money for language lessons to make a lady of herself. At first, Professor Higgins is reluctant; but the kindly Colonel Pickering converts the waif’s proposal to a more acceptable wager. If Higgins will teach, Pickering will pay. The Colonel will cover the costs of the lessons, provided the Professor’s efforts are proven successful by Eliza passing her vernacular examination at the Embassy Ball in six month’s time. The gentleman shake. With that, they and Eliza are off to the races in a musical reconnoitre that will forever alter the future of a flower girl and her Professor.

The music is worth the trip. The story is endearing in a distant, unkindly and worried sort of way. The language is tortured and memorable in the haunting fashion of an early morning dream. The costumes are simply not to be missed. The ending is oddly unsatisfying yet reassuring, like a lost pocketbook that has somehow found its home. Only, I’m not sure who of the two is that pocketbook or who has found whom?

Audrey Hepburn is Eliza Doolittle. Rex Harrison is Professor Higgins. Wilfred Hyde-White is Colonel Pickering. The movie is “My Fair Lady,” the film awarded the 1964 Oscar for Best Picture at the  37th Academy Awards ceremony hosted by Bob Hope for the 14th time.

Is this a show not to be missed, to be added to your must-see list of best films?

Our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy (EFMO) reviewers say that it is.

The EFMO viewers have seen the first 37 shows.

Their assessment: #5 from the top!!!!

This is a good one.

One of my jobs is to synthesize the EFMO “Like” and “Dislike” comments into a single sentence. In 75 words or so, here is my abstraction of their appreciation of My Fair Lady:

“Most liked everything — the music, the acting, the story, the humor, the costumes, Eliza’s transition; and although some felt the stereotyping and arrogance were a bit much for today’s viewer and were concerned that Professor Higgins never shared his feelings for Eliza, the film was highly rated (#5 of the first 37 Best Pictures) and, from observing the audience reaction, one of the most enjoyed.”

Yes, the movie carries some of the baggage of a 53-year old film. I fear the dialogue is, in parts, not as correct as it might be – to today’s ears, of course. Nevertheless, and in retrospect, whose verbiage would be perfectly correct after the passing of all those years. None of us ages as well as new thoughts emerge to date ourselves and our words. That is, I suspect, a sign of the times. Nonetheless, the film, despite its bluster, is remarkably adhering and comfortably appeasing. I think the lyrics and music of Lerner and Loewe have much to do with its staying power and still high marks for My Fair Lady.

One last point: The comments on each film must be reduced to a single word. Long sentences are appreciated but what goes into the night when the thrown slippers are finally found and retrieved must be a single elemented locution, a single term.

For “My Fair Lady” the single word, that says it all, is: “lovely.”

And, for that, you must watch the show.

And appreciate the accent.

Movies are fun,

To see

And

To hear.

 

Grandpa Jim