“Look at her, a prisoner of the gutters, condemned by every syllable she utters. By right she should be taken out and hung for the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue!”
One of my favorite moments in cinema can be found in George Cukor’s still vibrant and wondrous “My Fair Lady” (1964). Eliza Doolitle, the cockney flower girl, has been trying to learn how to pronounce her vowels properly, and she has been pushed to the limits by the tyrannical Professor Henry Higgins. It all seems to her like a foreign language – because it is! – and she has to understand how to place her tongue, how to shape her mouth and how much inflection to use. Suddenly, after days of struggle, she is able to pronounce “the rain in Spain” flawlessly. The camera zeroes in on Audrey Hepburn, and it captures that spectacular moment that every person who has ever mastered another language — or even another idiom — feels. It’s the eureka flash when it all starts making sense and you have command of the knowledge. At last you’re no longer underwater, and you feel empowered.
Is there a more perfect musical on screen than “My Fair Lady”? It’s been a while since I’d seen it, and somehow it felt bigger, richer and deeper than ever before. I had had a very long day and I was hesitant to dive into this three hour film for I was afraid I was going to doze off. Banish that thought! This is so breezy, so engaging, thought provoking and such a treat to the senses that it feels like time flies. It also helped that I found myself karaokeing to most of the songs (I’m embarrassed to admit I had the closed captions on and was indeed singing along with the lyrics). But who can blame me? With that glorious Lerner and Lowe score which includes “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “On the Street Where You Live” and “Get Me to the Church on Time” amongst others, it is hard to not want to sing along.
I should have admitted earlier that there was another reason why I had trepidation about watching this gem. In the past few years there has been tinkering with the scripts of musicals of the Golden Age when they’re revived on Broadway, so they come across as more politically correct amidst the #MeToo moment. Indeed, it is hard to watch Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Carousel” when Julie tells her young daughter, “It is possible, dear, for someone to hit you, hit you hard, and not hurt at all.” I didn’t want to revisit “My Fair Lady” (which I have always cherished) and find it to be not enlightened. It is of common belief that the plot is about a man trying to mold a woman to be like him. Pay careful attention to the opening scenes at the Covent Garden fruit and vegetable market where Higgins claims he can teach even Eliza Doolittle, the young flower seller with the peculiar accent, to speak so elegantly that she can pass off as a duchess at an embassy ball. He is simply boasting. It is her, Eliza, who shows up at his home demanding to be taken as his pupil. It is her who starts her metamorphosis.
The musical was based on the stage play by Nobel Prize in Literature winner George Bernard Shaw named after the Greek mythological figure “Pygmalion,” who was a sculptor who fell in love with one of the statues he sculpted — and then it came to life. It has always been interpreted that Higgins sculpts Eliza into society life, whereas it is quite clear in the script that it’s her who does her own sculpting – and the person who undergoes the larger transformation is Higgins himself. She finds her voice and becomes empowered by it. This feminist view was always in Shaw’s original take on the play, and he was very adamant about his original ambiguous conclusion which didn’t provide a Hollywood happy ending. It was the 1938 film version of “Pygmalion” that tacked on, without Shaw’s approval, the more pleasing ending of Eliza returning to Higgins’ study, which Lerner and Lowe also assimilate in their musical adaptation.
There are so many extraordinary pleasures in this movie which won the Oscar for Best Picture, Director, Leading Actor (a bewitching Rex Harrison; his “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” always makes me tear up) and five others including Best Art Direction and Costume Design by Cecil Beaton. His costume work is iconic. The dress and hat that Audrey Hepburn wears for the famous Ascot scene is a showstopper and so in accord with Eliza’s evolution. Later he will create a walking Greek sculpture feel when she appears dressed for the ball in the most impossibly elegant white column gown. It is her final stage of progression. Cinematographer Harry Stradling who also won an Oscar uses the camera to visually tell us the state of isolation and loneliness that Higgins feels towards the end of the film. Watch as he returns home — he’s shown in a long shot in an alley adjacent to his house, then, as he enters his now empty home, notice the negative space that surrounds. Stradling had shot the 1938 “Pygmalion.” Lastly, Audrey Hepburn’s performance (despite the fact that she was dubbed) is tremendous. It is probably my favorite work she did and she should have been nominated.
Eliza Doolittle : “The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.”
Available to stream on Netflix and to rent on YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Microsoft, Redbox and Apple TV+.
Story by Alan Jay Lerner
Based on the play by George Bernard Shaw
Screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner
Directed by George Cukor
Starring Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Stanley Holloway, Wilfrid Hyde-White and Gladys Cooper
The Making of “My Fair Lady”
In 1964, for one of the few times in his career, Warner Bros. studio head Jack Warner personally produced a film – My Fair Lady. The result, despite some controversy about the casting, was the last great musical of the studio era and the highest-grossing film in Warners’ history to that time.
Warner had fallen in love with the musical version of George Bernard Shaw’s classic Pygmalion — about a phonetics expert who transforms a Cockney flower girl into a great lady by teaching her how to speak properly — when he had seen its New York opening in 1956. The rights were controlled by CBS, but Chairman Bill Paley wouldn’t even entertain movie offers for five years. Finally he accepted a then record $5.5 million from Warner, along with 50 percent of the film’s gross once it passed the $20 million mark. He also stipulated that Warner hire Cecil Beaton to supervise all design aspects and hold the film’s release until after the Broadway production had closed. The latter was hardly an issue given the time lavished on assembling just the right production package. Committed to a large budget for the film (it would end up costing $17 million), Warner decided to guarantee the investment by pursuing an all-star cast, initially rejecting the show’s original stars: Rex Harrison, Julie Andrews and Stanley Holloway. He wanted James Cagney for the juicy supporting role of Alfred Doolittle, the leading lady’s father, but Cagney had recently retired and, though he often performed Doolittle’s songs at parties, had no intention of going back into battle with his former boss. So Warner ended up giving the role to Holloway.
For Henry Higgins, the stage’s most famous phonetician, he originally sought Cary Grant. But Grant, gearing up for his own retirement, quipped, “Not only will I not play Higgins, but if you don’t use Rex Harrison, I won’t even go to the film.” At least that’s what the Warners publicity department said, though the statement was surprisingly similar to Grant’s remarks when offered Robert Preston’s role as Prof. Harold Hill in The Music Man (1962), which was also filmed at Warner Bros. Warner next turned to Peter O’Toole, who had just become an international star in Lawrence of Arabia (1962), but the actor’s salary demands were too great. Finally, director George Cukor asked Harrison to test for the role. In response, Harrison sent Cukor some naked Polaroids of himself. Cukor finally convinced Warner to cast him for the relatively low fee of $200,000. In casting the female lead, however, Warner was intransigent. Audrey Hepburn was one of the screen’s top stars at the time and had made the studio a great deal of money in The Nun’s Story (1959). Even though there was a groundswell of support for the musical’s original star, Julie Andrews, Warners argued that Hepburn’s box-office power would help the film much more than anything Andrews, who had yet to make a film, could bring him. Ironically, Andrews, whom most people associated with Eliza Doolittle thanks to sales of the show’s original cast album, had only been a last minute choice for the role on stage. She was brought in after Mary Martin, Deanna Durbin and Dolores Gray had all turned it down.
But even though Warner paid Hepburn $1 million, there was one part of the role she couldn’t handle — the singing. She had sung charmingly in her one previous film musical, “Funny Face” (1957), but that was a screen original for which numbers could be arranged to fit her talents. The “My Fair Lady” score was already well known, particularly as sung by Andrews, so there was little musical director Andre Previn could do to make the numbers any easier for Hepburn. She started seeing a vocal coach almost as soon as she was cast and spent hours in the recording studio recording and re-recording numbers to get them just right. But though she did a creditable job on simpler songs like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” she wasn’t up to the more operatic pieces. Halfway through filming, Cukor informed her that they were going to have to dub her songs. In truth, they had already started working with Marni Nixon, who had previously provided the singing for Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956) and Natalie Wood in West Side Story (1961). Hepburn was heartbroken, and the studio tried to soften the blow by telling the press that Nixon had only done half of the singing. That only triggered a public protest from the singer’s husband, leading to the revelation that Nixon’s contribution was closer to 95 percent. Hepburn’s vocals are only heard on a few brief half-spoken, half-sung passages. The bad publicity likely cost Hepburn an Oscar® nomination for Best Actress.
“My Fair Lady” was one big-budget film in which almost every penny can be seen on the screen. Although Warner insisted on filming it entirely in Hollywood, despite arguments from Beaton that they needed to use real British locations, he still shot the film on a lavish scale. For the cobblestone streets around Covent Garden, stones were made individually (the standard practice would have been to make identical stones from a single mold). Art director Gene Allen painted and re-painted the sets to create the illusion that some of the buildings had been standing for centuries. He also spent hours aging Hepburn’s flower-vendor costumes so she wouldn’t look too affluent. Beaton’s costumes for the stage show were already legendary. He outdid himself on the film, inspired by the talents of the Warner Bros. Costume Department… “My Fair Lady” opened to ecstatic reviews and solid box office. It earned $72 million on its initial release, becoming the studio’s highest-grossing film to that time. It also cleaned up in year-end awards, winning Harrison a Best Actor Oscar® bringing Cukor his only Oscar® for Best Director and giving Warner Bros. its first Best Picture Oscar® since “Casablanca” in 1943. (tcm.com)
About Screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner
Alan Jay Lerner’s lyrics were marked by warmth and civilized urbanity, coupled with the highest order of craftsmanship. He was bom in New York on August 31, 1918 into a wealthy Manhattan family, the owners of Lerner Stores, Inc. He attended school at Bedales School in England and then Choate in Connecticut. During the summers of 1936 and 1937, he attended the Juilliard School of Music, and then graduated from Harvard College, where Leonard Bernstein was a contemporary. At Harvard he began his career in musical theater, writing for the Hasty Pudding shows. Early in his career, both Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein served as mentors. In 1942, he met composer Frederick Loewe at the Lambs Club in New York City, beginning one of the great collaborations of the American musical theater. From the start of their partnership, Lerner wrote the books of the shows as well as the lyrics. Their first shows together, “The Life of the Party” (1942) and “What’s Up?” (1943) were complete failures. Their next, “The Day Before Spring” (1945) did slightly better, running for five months, and included the song “You Haven’t Changed At All”. In 1947 they had their first great bit, Brigadoon, which included “The Heather on the Hill,” “From This Day On,” and the classic romantic ballad “Almost Like Being In Love.” In.1951 came “Paint Your Wagon,” which included such songs as “They Call The Wind Maria,” “I Talk To The Trees” and “Wandrin’ Star”.
Then in 1956, “My Fair Lady” appeared, and theater history changed. Adapted by Lerner from George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalian,” if the musical loses much of Shaw’s ferocity and fire, it makes up for that with a warmth and sophistication that has made “My Fair Lady” one of the best-loved, as well as one of the greatest, of all musicals. Lerner produced a bouquet of classic lyrics for such songs as “Why Can’t The English?,” “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” “With A Little Bit Of Luck,” “I’m An Ordinary Man,” “Just You Wait,” “The Rain In Spain,” “Could Have Danced All Night,”“On The Street Where You Live,” “You Did It,” “Show Me,” “Get Me To The Church On Time,” “A Hymn To Him” and “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face”. The show ran for 2,717 performances in its original Broadway production (and even more in London) and has been revived on Broadway several times. The 1964 film version, with a screenplay by Lerner, won seven Oscars. In 1958 Lerner wrote the screenplay and lyrics for the classic film musical “Gigi” (music again by Loewe, and directed by Vincente Minelli), which had a superb score including “Thank Heaven For Little Girls” and “I Remember It Well” which won 9 Academy Awards, including one for Best screenplay and one for the title song. Although they were to work together one last time on the unsuccessful 1974 film “The Little Prince,” their last successful collaboration came in 1960 with “Camelot,” a delightful score which included “I Wonder What the King is Doing Tonight,” “Camelot,” “The Simple Joys of Maidenhood,” “How to Handle a Woman,” and “If Ever I Would Leave You.”
After the production of “Camelot,” Frederick Loewe retired from composing and Lerner began a series of new collaborations and projects. He won an Academy Award for his screenplay for “An American in Paris” (1951). Also in 1951,he teamed up with composer Burton Lane for the movie musical “Royal Wedding,” which included such songs as “You’re All the World to Me” and “Too Late Now.” He worked with Lane again in 1965 for the most successful of Lerner’s post-Loewe musicals, “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.” This show was notable for a gorgeous title song, and also “Come Back To Me.” Lerner and Lane teamed up one last time in 1979 for the musical “Carmelina,” which, although it was failure, included the beautiful “One Last Walk Around The Garden.” Earlier in his career, he worked with Kurt Weill on the 1948 musical “Love Life” (“Green Up Time”). After the death of Oscar Hammerstein ll, he attempted to work with Richard Rodgers, but they proved unable to work together. In 1969 he teamed up with Andre Previn to write “Coco,” which starred Katherine Hepburn as Coco Chanel. And in 1976 he collaborated with Leonard Bernstein on Bernstein’s last musical., the unsuccessful 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It is for the musicals with Loewe that he will be longest remembered. His finest lyrics are deservedly classics. Maury Yeston, the award-winning composer and lyricist of “Nine” and “Titanic,” has said of Lerner, “He was perhaps the best we’ve ever had.” Alan Jay Lerner had eight wives, the last of them actress Liz Robertson, who were with him when he died of lung cancer in New York City on June 14, 1986. (songhall.org)
About Playwright George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin, the son of a civil servant. His education was irregular, due to his dislike of any organized training. After working in an estate agent’s office for a while he moved to London as a young man (1876), where he established himself as a leading music and theatre critic in the eighties and nineties and became a prominent member of the Fabian Society, for which he composed many pamphlets. He began his literary career as a novelist; as a fervent advocate of the new theatre of Ibsen (“The Quintessence of Ibsenism,” 1891) he decided to write plays in order to illustrate his criticism of the English stage. His earliest dramas were called appropriately “Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant” (1898). Among these, “Widower’s Houses” and “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” savagely attack social hypocrisy, while in plays such as “Arms and the Man” and “The Man of Destiny” the criticism is less fierce. Shaw’s radical rationalism, his utter disregard of conventions, his keen dialectic interest and verbal wit often turn the stage into a forum of ideas, and nowhere more openly than in the famous discourses on the Life Force, “Don Juan in Hell,” the third act of the dramatization of woman’s love chase of man, “Man and Superman” (1903). In the plays of his later period discussion sometimes drowns the drama, in “Back to Methuselah” (1921), although in the same period he worked on his masterpiece “Saint Joan” (1923), in which he rewrites the well-known story of the French maiden and extends it from the Middle Ages to the present.
Other important plays by Shaw are “Caesar and Cleopatra” (1901), a historical play filled with allusions to modern times, and “Androcles and the Lion” (1912), in which he exercised a kind of retrospective history and from modern movements drew deductions for the Christian era. In “Major Barbara” (1905), one of Shaw’s most successful “discussion” plays, the audience’s attention is held by the power of the witty argumentation that man can achieve aesthetic salvation only through political activity, not as an individual. “The Doctor’s Dilemma” (1906), facetiously classified as a tragedy by Shaw, is really a comedy the humour of which is directed at the medical profession. “Candida” (1898), with social attitudes toward sex relations as objects of his satire, and “Pygmalion” (1912), a witty study of phonetics as well as a clever treatment of middle-class morality and class distinction, proved some of Shaw’s greatest successes on the stage. It is a combination of the dramatic, the comic, and the social corrective that gives Shaw’s comedies their special flavour. Shaw’s complete works appeared in thirty-six volumes between 1930 and 1950, the year of his death. (nobelprize.org)
About Cinematographer Harry Stradling
Born in Yonkers, N.Y., on Jan. 7, 1925, Stradling Jr. spent time early in his career as a camera assistant and camera operator, beginning when he “slapped the slate” on George Cukor’s “Gaslight” (1944). He also was behind the scenes for features including Fred Zinnemann’s film noir classic “Act of Violence” (1949) and “The Tall Target” (1951), directed by Anthony Mann. He then worked alongside his dad on “Guys and Dolls” (1955), “The Pajama Game” (1957), “Auntie Mame” (1958), “The Miracle” (1959), “A Summer Place” (1959) and “Gypsy” (1962). “Since he was my father, I had to cut the mustard myself … which made me better,” he told author Jim Udel in a 2007 interview. Stradling Jr. went out on his own as a cinematographer for the first time on “Welcome to Hard Times” (1967), a Western that starred Henry Fonda and marked the DP’s first collaboration with Kennedy. Another Fonda Western, “There Was a Crooked Man …” (1970), soon followed, as did the horror film “The Mad Room” (1969) and Arthur Penn’s “Little Big Man” (1970)… His body of work also includes John Sturges’ “McQ” (1974), Sam Peckinpah’s “Convoy” (1978), Ted Post’s “Go Tell the Spartans” (1978), Robert Kaylor’s “Carny” (1980), Billy Wilder’s “Buddy Buddy” (1981), John Frankenheimer’s “Prophecy” (1979) and his last film, “Caddyshack II” (1988). Stradling Jr. also earned an Emmy nomination in 1984 for the CBS miniseries George Washington, starring Barry Bostwick…
He was the son of another acclaimed director of photography, Harry Stradling Sr., who won Academy Awards for “The Picture of Dorian Gray” and “My Fair Lady” and was nominated a dozen other times (for “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “Guys and Dolls,” Funny Girl, et al.). Stradling Jr., though, certainly carved out a superb career for himself, working across genres on films including the family comedy “With Six You Get Eggroll” (1968), the George C. Scott caper flick “Bank Shot” (1974), the action war movie “Midway” (1976) and the Muhammad Ali biopic “The Greatest” (1977). Stradling Jr. received his Oscar noms in consecutive years — 1973 and ’74 — for the adaptation of the Broadway sensation “1776” and for the Barbra Streisand-Robert Redford romantic drama “The Way We Were,” respectively. (Streisand was in good hands; his father had photographed her in her first four films.) Stradling Jr. also shot many Westerns for the big screen, including six for director Burt Kennedy (1969’s “Support Your Local Sheriff” and the 1971 follow-up, “Support Your Local Gunfighter,” among them); “The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing” (1973), starring Burt Reynolds; and John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn’s “Rooster Cogburn” (1975). He worked on 87 installments of “Gunsmoke” from 1964-67 (from the start of the show’s 10th season through the beginning of the 13th) before leaving to shoot almost all of the episodes in the only season of another CBS Western, “Cimarron Strip,” starring Stuart Whitman, in 1967-68. Stradling Jr. also collaborated with director Blake Edwards on “S.O.B.” (1981), “Micki + Maude” (1984), “A Fine Mess” (1986) and “Blind Date” (1987). (hollywoodreporter.com)
About Art Director Cecil Beaton
Cecil Beaton was a British photographer and designer best known for his elegant photographs of high society. Working within a cinematic approach, his black-and-white images are characterized by their staged poses and imaginative sets. Beaton’s costume and stage designs won him three Academy Awards, including one for “My Fair Lady” (1964). Born on January 14, 1904 in London, United Kingdom to a wealthy family, he went on to study at St. John’s College in Cambridge, however he left before finishing his degree. He was mostly self-taught as a photographer, though he did study in the studio of Paul Tanqueray. Beaton was hired by numerous publications, including Condé Nast, Vanity Fair, and Vogue. During World War II, his focus shifted to documenting the realities of war throughout the United Kingdom and Europe, forging a prolific and varied career. “Be daring, be different, be impractical,” he once declared. “Be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” Beaton’s works can be found in The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the National Portrait Gallery in London, among others. He died on January 18, 1980 in Broad Chalke, United Kingdom. (artnet.com)
About Director George Cukor
George Dewey Cukor was born in Manhattan on July 7, 1899, to Victor Cukor and the former Helen Gross. His father worked in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and his grandfather, who had emigrated from Hungary about 1870, chose the baby’s name in patriotic fervor over Adm. George Dewey’s victory at Manila Bay in the Spanish-American War…The youth grew up on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, attended public schools and was graduated from De Witt Clinton High School. ”I was a stagestruck kid,” he recalled, saying he ”played hooky” to see as many Broadway plays as possible from the top balconies. He spent 11 years in the professional theater, rising from assistant stage manager in a touring company to organizing and guiding a stock company in Rochester and going to Broadway as a stage manager. There, he directed such plays as a hit adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel ”The Great Gatsby,” starring Florence Eldridge and James Rennie. Mr. Cukor also directed Ethel Barrymore, Jeanne Eagels, Laurette Taylor, Dorothy Gish, Melvyn Douglas and Louis Calhern. The advent of talkies forced Hollywood to summon directors adept in speech and, in 1929 the stocky sharp-featured director heeded the call, directing dialogue for ”All Quiet on the Western Front,” co-directing films such as ”The Royal Family of Broadway” and rising to director with ”Tarnished Lady,” Tallulah Bankhead’s first movie. In 1933 he became a front-rank director with such credits as ”Dinner at Eight” and ”Little Women,” his favorite Cukor film. The director’s sophisticated comedies starring Miss Hepburn included ”Holiday” with Cary Grant (1938) and, with Spencer Tracy, ”Adam’s Rib” (1949) and ”Pat and Mike” (1952), with the stars sparring respectively over the law and sports…
…Mr. Cukor was celebrated for bringing out the best in performers. His films include a roster of most of Hollywood’s major actresses in some of their finest performances. There are Katharine Hepburn in ”Little Women” (1933) and ”The Philadelphia Story” (1940), among many others; Norma Shearer in ”Romeo and Juliet” (1936); Greta Garbo in ”Camille” (1937); Joan Crawford in ”A Woman’s Face” (1941); Ingrid Bergman in ”Gaslight” (1944); Judy Holliday in ”Born Yesterday” (1950) and ”The Marrying Kind” (1952); Judy Garland in ”A Star Is Born” (1954); Ava Gardner in ”Bhowani Junction” (1956) and Audrey Hepburn in ”My Fair Lady” (1964)…He helped win Oscars for James Stewart in ”The Philadelphia Story,” Ronald Colman in ”A Double Life” (1948) and Rex Harrison in ”My Fair Lady.” The director also shaped one of the most memorable performances by W.C. Fields as Mr. Micawber in the Dickens classic ”David Copperfield.” ”My Fair Lady,” filmed 35 years after he left Broadway directing for Hollywood, was among Mr. Cukor’s most glowing achievements, winning a directorial Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as seven other Oscars, including one for best movie of 1964. The film was also chosen best picture of the year by the New York Film Critics and won him the best director award from the Directors Guild of America. Had Respect for Writers The witty, buoyant director, whose spectacles magnified dark, confident eyes, had an unusual respect for writers as well as performers, and he screened many noted stage plays.
The greatest Cukor discovery was Katharine Hepburn. He studied her awkward screen test, but spotting her potential magic, he battled studio executives to introduce her in ”A Bill of Divorcement,” a 1932 melodrama starring John Barrymore. That began a series of brilliant Hepburn-Cukor collaborations that spanned nearly half a century. Among them were the superb ensemble productions of the drama ”Dinner at Eight” in 1933 and ”The Women,” a 1939 comedy with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russell and many other women, but not one man. Reviewers praised most Cukor films for their worldly perception, lucidity and adept balance in pacing of bouncing comedy and poignant drama. They also cited his expertise in satirizing characters’ foibles and self-delusions, mixing of fantasy and reality and portrayal of deception among women and between men and women – reflected particularly in his many films about entertainers, extending from ”What Price Hollywood” in 1932 to the Cole Porter musical ”Les Girls” in 1957 and ”Heller in Pink Tights” (1960), starring Sophia Loren.
The Cukor imprint derived from subtle theatrical tableaux and his camera did not intrude with the sharp cuts and tricky angles and visual effects that became increasingly voguish. His Description of Cukor Style ”If there is such a thing as ‘a Cukor style,’ ” the director said, ”I guess it arises out of two principal factors: my own personalized perception of the world and my ability to deal professionally with actors. As far as perception is concerned, I always try to imagine settings through the best possible eyes,” such as Somerset Maugham’s view of the South Seas and the post-Impressionist painters’ perspectives of rural France. In creating a climate for creative work, he said, ”I choose my actors well and get to know the quirks of their personalities – and, most of all, I share humor with them. Then I keep my eyes open when they rehearse and perform, because you never know where the next stimulation comes from.” Among Mr. Cukor’s many tributes was a 1975 Emmy award for directing Miss Hepburn and Laurence Olivier in the Edwardian drama ”Love Among the Ruins,” his first television assignment. Besides winning an Oscar for ”My Fair Lady,” he was nominated for ”Little Women,” ”The Philadelphia Story,” ”A Double Life” and ”Born Yesterday.” He was also honored with a 1978 gala given by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, a 1979 Creative Arts Award from Brandeis University and many retrospectives of his films at museums and revival houses… (nytimes.com) Mr. Cukor passed away in 1983.