i’ve had ‘i’ve grown accustomed to her face’ from my fair lady going through my head for the last few days (mainly because i downloaded a sermon by mike raiter called ‘i’ve grown accustomed to his grace’) – just remembered i had the soundtrack on CD, so have been listening to it this morning.
i know the ending of pygmalion is different, and eliza marries freddy, but the film/musical has her going back to professor higgins. he has just been ranting and reflecting on her absence, in the song i mentioned above – it’s a great song. mum said (and i agree) that it reflects something of the way relationships really can be, where you love the person but can be incredibly frustrated by them, where you want them around but they can drive you insanse, etc. so you think, oh henry’s been boorish and unpleasant but he actually does love her! (so much better than freddy, who hangs around on the street outside her house singing ‘on the street where you live’…that’s just a few steps away from stalking, buddy)
and then eliza returns. she goes back to this man who, even though he has just realised he loves her, greets her with “where the devil are my slippers?”
and the music soars. and everyone smiles. yet imagine the sort of relationship eliza and henry would have had – it would have been dreadful!
it makes me wonder – when you get to the end of watching, what do you actually want for eliza? what is the musical saying? with her upbringing, daughter of a working class drunkard, should she expect more than to be picked up by whatever man chooses her? thanks to henry, she theoretically has more options than she did before her education. and she still has a strength and resilience about her, having had to cope with less than ideal circumstances her whole life. so do you want her to be with the obnoxious, arrogant professor higgins, with the drippy freddy eynsford-hill, or on her own? (and hey, you might not care at all, but this is my blog, ha)
those old musicals are very manipulative. with a few major chords and soaring strings over the final scene, they make you think it’s a happy ending with everything resolved, yet…you have to wonder how much these things subconsciously warp one’s expectations of life.