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->''Why can't the English teach their children how to speak?''\\
''This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.''\\
''If you spoke as she did, sir, instead of the way you do,''\\
''Why, you might be selling flowers, too!''
-->-- '''Henry Higgins''', "Why Can't The English?"

''My Fair Lady'' started life as a stage {{musical}} by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, based on Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw's ''Theatre/{{Pygmalion}}'', and starring Creator/JulieAndrews and Creator/RexHarrison. It was a smash hit when it opened in 1956, and set new records for the longest run in Broadway musical history (a title now held by ''Theatre/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', which is still running).

The musical follows the young Eliza Doolittle, an outspoken and hopeful flower girl in Edwardian England who takes elocution lessons from Professor Henry Higgins, who (as a result of a bet with the kindly Colonel Pickering) promises to turn her into "a lady." He then trains her, day and night, using some downright bizarre machinery and techniques (the marbles make sense, but some of the others...)

When Higgins attempts to try Eliza out on Society by introducing her into his mother's box at Ascot, the transfigured flower girl also encounters young Freddy Eynsford-Hill, who, unaware of Eliza's true social standing, is instantly smitten -- despite Eliza's humiliating lapse into vulgarity at the running of the horserace itself.

The lessons finally culminate in the Embassy Ball, at which ambassadors, lords, and the Queen and Prince of Transylvania will be present. The ball, despite the presence of the venal language expert Zoltan Karpathy, goes incredibly well; Eliza dances with the prince and many at the ball believe Karpathy's identification of Eliza as a Hungarian princess(!).

Then the relationship between Eliza and Higgins, which had been steadily improving, takes a huge blow when Higgins takes all the credit for Eliza's success. Eliza is understandably saddened and enraged and she leaves the house after an outburst that leaves Higgins angry and confused; the rest of the play involves them figuring out their relationship in their own way, though if it works out in the end is left to the viewers' interpretations.

In 1964, Creator/WarnerBros released [[Film/MyFairLady a movie adaptation]], which starred Creator/AudreyHepburn as Eliza.

!!This work provides examples of:

* AdaptationInducedPlotHole: In the first act of ''Pygmalion'', Henry Higgins brings Eliza to a tea party at his mother's house. Lerner and Loewe dropped that scene and replaced it with the scene at the Ascot races (presumably to give the chorus something to do). They left unexplained how Eliza knows where Mrs. Higgins lives in order to visit her in the second act, as in this version of events she has never been there before.
** Unless Freddy, who was with her in the cab, had been to Mrs. Higgins' house.
* {{Adorkable}}: Freddy gets positively randy over Eliza's bad social graces.
* AlliterativeName: Henry Higgins. Eliza, a Cockney girl, struggles with dropping H's and calls him 'Enry 'Iggins.
* AntiLoveSong: "Just You Wait" and "Without You".
* BatheHerAndBringHerToMe: Higgins said this out loud, and Eliza certainly thought he meant it in the trope sense, too. He didn't.
%%* BeardOfEvil: Zoltan.
%%* BigFancyHouse: Higgins' pad.
* BlackmailIsSuchAnUglyWord: {{Enforced|Trope}} when Higgins asks Alfie point-blank how much he wants. Alfie insists on beating around the bush, seemingly on principle.
* BlessedWithSuck: Alfred's windfall is a double-edged sword, as he's now forced to enter into legal marriage with "Mrs." Dolittle. As if 'avin' to act like a bloomin' gentleman weren't enough already.
* {{Bowdlerise}}: The name of the oily language expert was changed from Nepomuk to Zoltan Karpathy, because St. John Nepomuk (as Shaw was well aware) was a Catholic saint and patron of the confessional.
* BreakTheHaughty: Mrs. Higgins' favorite sport with her son, and she delights in Eliza putting him in his place in front of her.
* BritishStuffiness: "The Ascot Gavotte." The English sure know how to party.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: He may be lord of the manor, but Higgins' weirdness is very apparent in public.
* CantLiveWithThemCantLiveWithoutThem: Eliza and Henry, to each other.
* {{Catchphrase}}: Pickering's "I'm dashed." Eventually lampshaded by Higgins:
-->'''Higgins:''' Oh, Pickering, for God's sake [[LampshadeHanging stop being dashed and do something]]!
%%* ConMan: Alfie.
* CostumePorn: Eliza's gorgeous dresses after her transformation.
* CurseCutShort: While singing "Without You", Eliza nearly tells Higgins he can go to Hell -- but replaces it with "Hertford, Hereford, and Hampshire" (echoing Higgins' speech exercise from earlier).
** [[DoggedNiceGuy Freddy]] of all people does it during his first song when he is just about to quote Eliza's PrecisionFStrike in song when Mrs Pearce opens the door.
* DancesAndBalls: The Embassy Ball.
* [[DarkReprise Dark(er) Reprise]]: "Just You Wait" gets a reprise shortly after "You Did It". This time, ItsPersonal.
* DeconfirmedBachelor: Henry Higgins embodies this trope, having said 'So here I am, a confirmed old bachelor and likely to remain so' and so much more. The only hang-up is whether he can actually be considered deconfirmed by the end--though most people agree he had at least befriended and come to care about Eliza by the end--and since he is such an extreme case that he'd never even had a female friend before, by his own admission, this could still be enough of an about-face to qualify him.
* DisproportionateRetribution: “Just You Wait”, in which Eliza wishes death on Professor Higgins in return for his rudeness.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Freddy, in what would be considered stalking by today's terms.
* DrJerk: Henry Higgins himself, though he's [[NotThatKindOfDoctor technically a professor of linguistics and not a doctor per se]].
* DressesTheSame: In the Ascot scene in the film.
* DrillSergeantNasty: Higgins mercilessly drills Eliza day and night. Meanwhile, his servant staff fawns over ''his'' ordeal.
* DudeWheresMyRespect: Eliza is ''extremely'' angry over how Higgins gets all the praise for fooling everyone at the Embassy ball.
-->"Yoooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuu did it! ♫"
* TheEdwardianEra: 1912, to be precise. ([[FridgeHorror Makes one rather wonder]] about Freddy's [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarI fate]].) In a flash of FridgeBrilliance, this may imply a case of DeathOfTheHypotenuse.
* EntertaininglyWrong:
-->And although she may have studied with an expert dialectitian and grammarian,\\
I can tell that she was born -- Hungarian!\\
...Not only Hungarian, but of royal blood.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Higgins might experiment on the desperate and vulnerable for the sake of his own amusement, but Zoltan -- a hatchet man who likes to mix with socialites -- is low even for him.
* {{Fanfare}}: "The Transylvanian March".
* FeeFiFauxPas: Eliza's outburst at the races, to her (and Henry's) embarrassment.
* FictionalHoliday: In Eliza's dream ("Just You Wait"), the King is so enraptured by her voice that he declares Eliza Dolittle Day.
* FlatJoy: Those prim-and-proper racetrack patrons sure are excited to be there. Can't you tell?
* GemEncrusted: The embassy dress is loaded with jewels.
* GentlemanSnarker: Professor Higgins is impeccably polite in the rudest way possible.
* GoodCopBadCop: Pickering and Higgins.
* GorgeousPeriodDress: One of its Oscars was for Costume Design.
* GotMeDoingIt: The voice exercises start getting to poor Pickering after awhile. "'Ave you troid the ploin cayke?"
* GriefSong: "I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face" arguably, since it's a combination of grief and anger. Doubles as LoveEpiphany.
* HatesEveryoneEqually: Higgins' defense to Eliza's charge that he still treats her like rubbish. In point of fact, he treats ''everyone'' like that -- and he's proud of it, too.
-->'''Higgins:''' The question is not whether I treat you rudely, but whether you've ever heard me treat anyone else better.
* HeManWomanHater: Henry is very misogynistic, though he insists he's not. In fact, he's got a whole song dedicated to whining about how much he dislikes women ("An Ordinary Man"). The end of the play may have helped him get over it, but again, it's up to viewer interpretation.
** ''Two'' whole songs -- there's also "A Hymn to Him" ([[RefrainFromAssuming a.k.a.]] "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?").
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Both Higgins and Pickering have that "confirmed bachelor" vibe thing going for them.
** Higgins even uses that exact phrase, then shudders at the idea of marriage. He also has a hard time admitting Eliza "might" be attractive when he suggests she marry herself off (cue flamboyant flourish), laments that women aren't more like men, and while all this might have been intended as BelligerentSexualTension it's taken so far that the idea of a sexual/romantic relationship between him and Eliza becomes ... a stretch.
** Higgins asks Pickering where one can find a Ladies' Dress Shop. Pickering replies so quickly, Higgins asks how he would know. Pickering clears his throat and says "Common knowledge" (despite having just arrived in London from years living in India).
** If you insist, you ''can'' interpret Higgins' "Why Can't A Woman Be More Like A Man" number as evidence.
* HypocriticalHumor: As they prepare for the ball, Pickering [[INeedAFreakingDrink downs a glass of port]] and curses Higgins for his constant serenity. Before they leave, however, Higgins peeks over his shoulder and quaffs some alcohol, too.
** "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face." He's [[FalseReassurance a most forgiving man]].
* IAmSong: "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "An Ordinary Man".
* ILoveYouBecauseICantControlYou: There's more than a hint of NoChallengeEqualsNoSatisfaction in Eliza's relationship with Henry. Pickering is a gentle teacher, ready to call off a session when he can see Eliza is tired. In contrast, Eliza wants the approval of the never-satisfied Higgins. Later in the play, once Eliza grows independent of Higgins, is when he really becomes enamored of her.
* IMeantToDoThat: In the midst of being thoroughly castigated by Eliza, Higgins springs up from his chair and claims credit for her self-confidence. What a chode.
* IWantSong: Eliza's "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?": she wants a cosy warm room, a comfy chair, and lots of chocolate.
* IUhYouToo: Higgins finally confesses to Eliza that he's going to miss her... then quickly follows it up by saying Pickering misses her, too.
* InnocentFlowerGirl: Eliza at the start of the story. The later battle to get her bathed kind of proves her innocence.
* InnocentInnuendo: ''She sent the boy for her belongings, but she said she won't need her clothes'' *wink*
* InsufferableGenius: Even Higgins' own mother can't stand him.
* ItsAllAboutMe: "You Did It".
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Henry. Maybe there's some gold in there somewhere, but you'd be hard pressed to find it. Not quite JerkWithAHeartOfJerk territory, but YMMV.
* KavorkaMan: Alfie. There's a reason he departs for his wedding as if it were his own funeral.
* LastSecondWordSwap:
-->''You, dear friend, who talk so well\\
You can go to...Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire!''
* LessonsInSophistication: Eliza Doolittle receives such lessons from Professor Higgins after he made a bet with Colonel Pickering.
* LicensedPinballTables: Played with; there are actually two {{Pinball}} games based on ''My Fair Lady'', though both of them were unofficial {{Spiritual Licensee}}s.
** Creator/{{Gottlieb}} released ''Fair Lady'' in 1956, capitalizing on the success of the Broadway play, with illustrations of the masked women from the embassy ball.
** Then in 1966, Creator/{{Gottlieb}} released ''Pinball/{{Mayfair}}'', riding the coattails of the film adaptation.
* LighterAndSofter: Much more so than the original Shaw play.
* LocationSong: "On The Street Where You Live", is a love song from the perspective of love interest Freddy. The song is about how wonderful the street seems due to Eliza living on it.
* LoveEpiphany: "Damn damn damn damn! I've grown accustomed to her face!"
* LyricalDissonance: "Ascot Gavotte," wherein upper-class gents and ladies sing about "a ripping, absolutely gripping moment" with all the enthusiasm of a funeral host.
* MaybeEverAfter: [[spoiler: Eliza and Henry]] are reconciled at the end, but are they a romantic couple now, or what? The answer is only hinted.
* MayDecemberRomance: What may have happened between the 21-year-old Eliza and the much older Higgins, who is at least twice her age.
* MeaningfulName: A name like Doolittle totally makes sense for someone like Eliza's father. Eliza herself, [[UnfortunateNames on the other hand]]...
* MenAreUncultured: Henry Higgins believes in the inversion of this trope, that it's the [[HystericalWoman hysterical women]] who ruin discussions of classical literature by wanting to talk about love and that if a man wants to see a play or ballet and a woman accompanies him, he'll inevitably spend it searching for her glove.
* MisogynySong: "An Ordinary Man" and "A Hymn to Him".
* MissingMom: Seeing as Eliza's father remarries, and his side comments about his old wife are along the lines of "You look just like her, Eliza" and "Just like her, you never give me money!" it can be safely assumed Eliza's mother is dead.
** He didn't "re" marry, actually...
-->'''Pickering:''' ...marriage isn't so frightening; you married Eliza's Mother.\\
'''Doolittle:''' Who told ya that, guv'ner? ''[Gives Pickering a headshake and a slightly leering wink.]''
* TheMusical
* MysteriousMiddleInitial: Alfred P. Dolittle.
* NiceHat: The racetrack scene goes crazy with this. ''Every lady'' has a hat nicer than the previous one. Eliza's hat is just massive, including the [[FluffyFashionFeathers loads of feathers on the side]].
** Honorable mention goes to Henry's teacup and saucer.
* NoSympathy: The servants express more compassion for Higgins than his hapless student (Doesn't rest / Doesn't eat / Doesn't touch a crumb!) [[DescriptionCut Cut]] to Higgins munching on cakes while Eliza is wasting away.
** Also, while trying to practice with marbles in her mouth, Eliza accidentally swallows one, but Higgins simply replies "Doesn't matter, I've got more", and puts more into her mouth.
* NurseryRhyme: The title, of course, comes from "London Bridge is falling down", a snatch of whose melody is heard at the beginning of "Get Me To The Church On Time".
* ObsessionSong: "On the Street Where You Live". Considering that Freddy continues to wait outside for several days: possibly weeks -- this song can get creepy for some viewers.
** One really should consider that he has no other polite way of contacting her, due to Higgins. It's not as if he could just text her.
** The text of the musical says that he arrives at the house after Ascot. Six weeks later is the Transylvanian Embassy Ball, and the day after that is the first time we see Freddy again. He's been on that street for SIX WEEKS.
* ParasolOfPrettiness: Eliza takes one to the races.
* ParentalAbandonment: Eliza's father pushes this into borderline abuse levels as he not only leaves all of his children to fend for themselves, he takes their hard-earned money for himself to waste on alcohol. (And he ''brags'' about this, no less!)
** The line immediately following his proud description of his parenting style? "You've got a good heart, Alfie..."
* PassFail: The plot is driven by Higgins' bet that he can train a rough, low-class flower girl into passing as a member of the aristocracy.
* PetTheDog: After a full day of nonstop, grueling exercises, an exhausted Higgins finally offers Eliza a few soft words of encouragement. At this, her voice instantly transforms into an impeccable upper class accent.
** Alfie gets one when he cajoles Eliza to be self-reliant, as "she's a lady now."
* PimpedOutDress: See the photo; also, her gown for the Embassy ball.
* PlankGag: Happens during the "With A Little Bit Of Luck" song, since Alfie Doolittle is singing in what seems to be a construction area and there is inevitably someone who swings a plank around and someone else gets hit by it.
* PlatonicLifePartners: Eliza and Henry. [[MaybeEverAfter Maybe.]]
* PrecisionFStrike: '''COME ON, DOVER! MOVE YER BLOOMIN' ARSE!'''
* PrincessForADay: Well, for several months. Eliza's training is to help her pass as a "lady."
* APupilOfMineUntilHeTurnedToEvil: It seems Higgin's contempt for his pupil lies in the fact that he abandoned academia; Zoltan uses his linguistics abilities "more to blackmail and swindle than teach."
** Since Eliza mentioned straight to Higgins that she might become a linguist like him as her way of getting back at him, [[UnreliableNarrator you should wonder whether Zoltan really is as devious and conniving as Higgins claims]].
*** Still, Zoltan did say of the Greek Ambassador's birth origin "I keep his secret, but I make him pay. I make them all pay", so the character himself seems to confirm the blackmail accusation.
%%* PygmalionPlot:
* PygmalionSnapBack: Eliza has one at the Ascot Gavotte. She later [[spoiler: returns to the flower garden and is not recognized, despite using Cockney.]] She spends most of Act II speaking in some sort of British/Cockney hybrid, so it's not clear if she wants the Pygmalion results to stick.
* RagsToRoyalty: Well, upper middle class. And she ''was'' able to be taken for nobility.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Both Eliza and Henry deliver these to each other. Several times. Henry even gets a Reason Your Speech Sucks Speech.
** Eliza even gets a Reason You Suck ''Song'' ("Just You Wait").
* RightBehindMe: At the end of "Just You Wait", Eliza realizes that Higgins was standing behind her, watching her singing about his death. Awkward...
* RomanticFalseLead: Either Freddy or Higgins. It's left very ambiguous.
* TheScapegoat: Following Eliza's spat with Higgins, Freddy gets chewed out for the high crime of being [[DoesNotLikeMen the first man who crosses her path]].
* SheCleansUpNicely: See the image; when first introduced Eliza's very dirty and wearing torn-up, worn clothing. The exact words of the trope are used by her father on first seeing her as a 'lady'.
* ShotAtDawn: Eliza gleefully fantasizes about this happening to Higgins, who is very casual about the whole business before keeling over.
* SlapSlapKiss: Eliza and Henry's relationship...and if the play is to be believed, no doubt this would have carried on.
* SmugSnake: Higgins throughout most of the musical.
* SophisticatedAsHell: What happens when you combine Eliza's blue language with a posh accent.
* SpiritedYoungLady: Eliza's uncouth behavior got Freddy's interest.
* SpotOfTea: It is set in England, after all!
* SpringtimeForHitler: Higgins sarcastically writing a letter of recommendation for Alfred Dolittle, calling him "one of the most original moralists in England." An American philanthropist dies and bequeaths a fortune to Alfie.
* StalkerWithACrush: Oh, Freddy. By today's standards, anyway.
* StalkingIsLove: Freddy. 'Nuff said.
* StealthInsult: Eliza gets Higgins with a few. Higgins isn't so good at being stealthy with insults, but doesn't understand why he has to be.
** Which is about the best you can hope for from Higgins. "I've [[AnAesop learned something]] from your idiotic notions."
* StrangerInAFamiliarLand: Fed up with her keeper, Eliza returns to the old neighborhood after her blossoming into a lady, but no one recognizes her.
* SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion[=/=]LastSecondWordSwap: In "Without You"
-->You, dear friend, who talk so well,\\
You can go to -- Hertford, Hereford, and Hampshire!
* TalkAboutTheWeather: While in public, Higgins advises Eliza to stick to mundane topics: the weather, and everyone's health. It backfires.
** Mrs. Higgins, disgusted with every word that comes out of her son's mouth, [[IronicEcho echoes this advice]] in the end.
* TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodSandwich: Higgins and Pickering are too stuffed to finish the last cake tart. Not to worry, says Higgins; he knows somebody who ''loves'' these. He marches right past a famished Eliza to feed it to a parrot.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Harry and Jamie, Alfred Doolittle's friends and fellow dustmen.
* TrainingFromHell: ''Linguistics'' training from hell, although not as over-the-top as some examples.
* {{Tsundere}}:
** Eliza is Type A, though this largely comes through from being around Higgins; when left with her Cockney friends, she's more Type B.
** Higgins himself is a type A, notably when he meets Eliza at his mother's. He'll get close to being kind to Eliza, realise what he just said and promptly insult her.
* TheVillainSucksSong: "Without You" is this, as well as being a bit of a AntiLoveSong. Also "Just You Wait".
* WestminsterChimes: A modified version begins every iteration of "Poor Professor Higgins".