Film Critique Of My Fair Lady Essay

, Research Paper

Segmentation Chart

The following is a segmentation chart of the movie My Fair Lady. This movie was filmed in 1964 and directed by George Cukor.


1. Music Hall/ Marketplace

a. Eliza sells flowers to Pickering.

b. Eliza meets Herny Higgins.

c. Eliza sings of the future.

2. Morning in front of the Music Hall/ Marketplace

a. Alfred Doolittle waits for Eliza.

3. Mr. Higgins’ House

a. Eliza offers Higgins and Pickering money for phonics lessons.

b. Higgins and Pickering make a wager and then propose the wager to Eliza.

c. Pickering questions Higgins morality about why Higgins wants to train the girl.

4. Higgins’ House

a. Alfred Doolittle wants money from Higgins to work with Eliza.

b. Eliza and Alfred converse.

5. Eliza’s Bedroom

a. The maids give Eliza a bath.

6. The Race Track

a. Mr. Higgins surpises Mother Higgins at the race track.

b. Mr. Higgins explains to Eliza the only things she is to speak of are the weather and her health.

c. Eliza expresses herself at the race.

7. Higgins’ House

a. Pickering and Higgins talk about the days events with Eliza.

b. Freddie, from the track, comes to court Eliza.

c. Pickering want the bet and experiment to be over.

8. Six weeks Later in the Higgins’ House

a. Pickering and Higgins wait for Eliza.

b. Eliza enters the room.

9. The Palace Ball

a. Eliza greeting the crowd

b. Entrance of the Prince and Queen of Transylvannia.

c. Eliza and the Prince dance.

10. Higgins’ House

a. Higgins accepting the credit from Pickering on winning the bet.

b. Higgins explains how he tricked everyone at the ball.

c. Eliza want to know what will happen to her.

d. Eliza leaves the house and goes with Freddie to the marketplace.

11. Marketplace

a. Eliza walks around the marketplace trying to be noticed by her old comrades.

b. Mr. Doolittle talks to Eliza of his marriage and new found middle class morality.

12. The Bar

a. Mr. Doolittle has his last hooray with the people in the bar.

b. The morning comes and Mr. Doolittle is carried off like a man who has just die.

13. Higgins’ House

a. Higgins and Pickering realize that Eliza left them.

b. Pickering calls the police for help in tracking Eliza down.

14. Mother Higgins’ House

a. Eliza explains the events of the night to Mother Higgins.

b. Higgins finds Eliza at his mothers house.

c. Eliza turns the emotional tables on Higgins.

d. Eliza says she never wants to see Higgins again.

15. Higgins’ House

a. Higgins thinks of Eliza

b. Higgins plays the gramophone of Eliza’s voice.

c. Eliza returns to Higgins.

Binary Structure


My Fair Lady

Rich Poor

Grammar Jargon

Educated Uneducated

Fantasy Reality

Upper Class Low Class

Men Women

Good Bad

Higgins Accomplishment Eliza’s Lack of Accom.

Lady Street Rat

Same Changing

Marriage Alone

Morality Sin

Visual Analysis

In the film My Fair Lady, many scenes mise-en-scene are applicable for this paper but the scene that comes. The scene that comes to mind is the scene when Pickering, Higgins and Eliza return from the ball. The three of them enter the library and Pickering begins to praise Higgins.

Mise-en-scene. This is a deep focus shot where the butler and Pickering are in the foreground. Pickering on the extreme left hand side and the butler on the extreme right hand side holding a silver tray that contains a candle and cigar box. Higgins is in the middle ground and mid-screen sitting down holding a lit cigar and laughing. Eliza is in the background standing near the door. She has a worried look on her face and she is holding her purse.

Lighting. The lighting used for this scene is high key lighting. There is very little shadow. The only shadow is in the back of the room behind Eliza. This could be a sign of the events to come.

Camera angle and movement. The camera is stationary with a wide lens. The camera does do quite a bit of panning. The camera pans left and right throughout this scene with little or no movement.

Editing. There is very little editing going on in this scene. Seamless editing is going on in this movie but in this scene, which is a very long take, there is approximately four cuts. This is typical of the whole movie. The composition of the scene was more important in this movie it appears. Editing was limited even in one other instance of the movie it appeared there was not even a cut.

Ideological Message

The ideological message of this movie could be many things. One could be the American Dream, sexism or women being a commodity. The message that makes most scene in terms of the scene analysis is women being used as a commodity. This makes sense because in the scene Pickering and Higgins never gave Eliza credit for her performance in the ball. The credit was given to Higgins, the lyrics of the song that Pickering sings says “ did it”. The same for the song that Higgins sing says “… it was all me, I did it”.

Also, Eliza in the scene is filmed in the back ground of the scene. This disassociation from the men of the scene gives the idea that the men are more powerful than Eliza. Other lyrics in the song say that Higgins gave her to the prince and made her.

The American Dream aspect of the message can be shown in the glamorous costumes worn by everyone in the scene. This scene also shows the downside of the American Dream. This downside is demonstrated by Eliza because she knows that the bet is over and now she does not know what will happen to her. This is typical because if one loses their livelihood what will happen to them. Eliza is treated like something that is being used for a show piece and something that is disgarded when Higgins is done with her.

The American Dream and treating women like a commodity is demonstrated and conveyed in the scene. The fact that Eliza is symbolically property of Higgins because she is sold by her father earlier in the movie and through the song lyrics in this song it is demonstrated.


The genre of this film is a musical. The conventions this genre follows is content and form. The conventions of content follow the meeting of the two protagonists. The initial meeting is one of hostility. For example, the marketplace scene in the opening scene pit Eliza and Higgins arguing about how Eliza is uneducated. Another example of content is when Eliza first goes to Higgins house and is insulted by Mr. Higgins and Pickering.

The second convention has to do with form. The two star singing together in a duet and a bond forming between the two actors. There seems to be a love story forming between the two actors.

Another convention is the use of long takes and editing to show the grace and fluidity of the dance. Two good examples of this is the palace ball sequence in the dance between the Prince and Eliza. This sequence has seamless editing with takes to show the beauty and grace of the two actors. The second example of this is the bar scene with Alfred Doolittle. Mr. Doolittle is doing his last dance before he is top get married. The use of long takes and seamless editing shows the dance of a man and his last night of batchlorhood.

This movie was designed to appeal to the populous and have appeal. This film is based on an art form called phonics. This film is incorporated with two basic art forms; music and dance. The film is rich with stereotypical references to lower class individuals. This film is categorized as a kitsch film.

This film is a typical Classical Hollywood Kitsch film. The use of stereo types make up this film. Thing said such as you are the mud under my shoe. References to lying about where individuals are from so they can be accepted in some social circles. Even if a lower class person made it they would never really want the responsibility of a higher class. This is demonstrated no better than by Mr. Doolittle in his last conversation with Eliza.

The degrading of Eliza in the scene after the ball, where there is no mention of her in the congratulations. Higgins and Pickering ignore Eliza and act as if she was a puppet who acted on every whim of Higgins. A thing to mention, Eliza never gets angry with Pickering only Higgins. The elaborate sets and costumes are important in this movie but the music and the lyrics hold more importance. The lyrics and the message behind the music is the most important because this film is a musical.

All of the film’s messages and meanings are in the music and dance. The prime example of messages in lyrics and music is again the scene after the ball, also the second scene of the film where Eliza sings of being a wealthy person and having the finer things in life.


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