My Fair Lady Sp Ed

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Greg_M, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    There is a clip of Audrey hepburn singing "I Could have Danced All Night" with her own voice on You Tube - it's charming - it would be great if Warner Home Video could release a DVD of this film with an alternate track where you can watch the film with Hepburn's own voice.

    Audrey does need tweaking here and there, and a little dubbing, but over all with todays technology adjustments she could sound very good. If they can make Renee Zellwegger sound good singing "Chicago" why not Audrey Hepburn?
     
  2. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    They had this on laserdisc with "Wouldn't it Be Loverly" and "Show Me". I never utilized them. I agreed with Jack Warner's decision to use Marni Nixon's vocals in the final film. But these should be available as a supplement. Audrey wanted to be able to sing and tried, and was always disappointed that she could not. I wonder how she would have felt had she lived to hear the uncovering of the two vocals that were released publicly upon the restoration.
    Even so, there are other, more important, audio problems with the film. According to Joe Caps, the original 6-channel sound master went missing in the 1980s when CBS foolishly sent it to Cinemax when they showed the film and CBS never got it back. The print master used in 1994 had little high ends, so they pumped up the bass (?!?). At one point Robert Harris claimed "digital fixes" are now available that were not at the time.
    This film should (as in "it had better") be a spectacular Blu-Ray disc.
     
  3. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    I'm pretty sure those 2 tracks are on the DVD as bonus features. Hepburn only recorded those 2 tracks before the decision was made to go with Nixon, correct?
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    She also sings part of "Just You Wait," I believe. (The parts that don't require an upper register.)
     
  5. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    Correct.

    The clips the person is referring to on YOUTUBE are those songs. I have never seen or heard any complete Hepburn vocal for "I Could Have Danced All Night", only "Loverly" and "Show Me".
     
  6. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    I believe she did the entire score in pre-recordings and all of her dubbing was after the fact. Hepburn performed to her playback tracks and Marni Nixon went in later and dubbed her. She even talks about this in the documentary on the the SE. Only two of Hepburn's original vocals were released, but they probably found all of them, hence how this "I Could've Danced All Night" ended up on YouTube from a collector.
     
  7. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

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    Hearing Audrey's take on "I Could Have Danced", I am even amazed she tried to tackle it. As much as I admire her for so many reasons, she was not a singer and her vocal shortcomings are just too plainly and painfully evident here. A non-singer should not try to sing songs requiring a legit voice. It's very embarrassing to listen to, between the off-key parts, the bad transitions and modulations and those not very musical high notes. And of course there was no way to half-talk/half-sing the songs like she did in Funny Face or Tiffany's, which suited her much better.
    God bless all the voice doubles who made all the stars sound as we expected them to sound. Movies are illusions to begin with, so dubbing is just an illusion within another one. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    Ah...I found it...now, to go have a listen.
    I've always wanted to hear more of Natalie Wood's tracks from WEST SIDE...
    aside from the snippets heard in the dvd documentary.
     
  9. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Was the practice of dubbing known at all to the general public prior to 1964?
     
  10. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    It would be nice to hear Jeremy Brett's voice as well, since I understand he had a decent singing voice.
     
  11. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    I certainly wasn't around in 1964, but I know that Deborah Kerr "outed" herself as being dubbed by Marni Nixon during the original release of KING AND I and that was in 1956....also, MGM records had the practice of naming the actual singer on all of their albums...Carole Richards, India Adams and Anita Ellis are given label and jacket credit for singing for Cyd Charisse and Vera Ellen on several soundtrack LP's including BRIGADOON, THREE LITTLE WORDS, and others. That was in the early 50's, so, I think people were already putting two and two together about dubbing before the Audrey episode.

    Jeremy Brett can be heard singing on a British import cd of songs from operettas released on the EMI/Music For Pleasure label....he sings on a selection from MERRY WIDOW...something about "jaunting in a one horse gig"....his voice is not as trained as Bill Shirley who sang for him in MY FAIR LADY...but he can certainly sing, and his voice is very similar to Bill Shirley's...quite a good match, I would say. After hearing Jeremy's actual voice, I am not certain why they dubbed him at all.
     
  12. Edward Weinman

    Edward Weinman Stunt Coordinator

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    ...it was a total package of "magic" in those days...when Cyd Charisse "sang", you believed it was her...but, when she danced...oh, brother!...what a remarkable entertainer! As an example, watch her "Desert Song" segment from "Deep In My Heart"...re: "One Alone", you'd swear that it was her singing (the emotions, the facial expressions...)...of course, I always thought she was the eighth (or was it the ninth) wonder of the world...her entrance in that dress that looked like it was part of her body, the way she moved...(but, I'm getting off the subject here)...
     
  13. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I read somewhere long ago that Audrey's not garnering an Oscar nomination for her work in MY FAIR LADY was one of the reasons that the studios started trying to disguise the facts of who was singing or who wasn't. For a while, Warners insisted that was Natalie Wood singing in INSIDE DAISY CLOVER when it wasn't, and the soundtracks of DR. DOLITTLE, OLIVER, HELLO, DOLLY, and PAINT YOUR WAGON identified the characters who sang the songs mimed on-screen by Samantha Eggar, Mark Lester, Marianne McAndrew, and Jean Seberg.
     
  14. Jefferson

    Jefferson Supporting Actor

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    Yes...MGM Records was practically the only label that did not resort to using the "character" name as the singer....and I agree...some stars were experts at synching their lips.

    I also find it interesting that some actors like Cyd Charisse, Anita Ellis,

    and even Lucille Ball were dubbed by several different singers over the years, and the public didn't seem to blink about it.
     
  15. Robin9

    Robin9 Cinematographer

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    . . . . and Rita Hayworth . . .
     
  16. Edward Weinman

    Edward Weinman Stunt Coordinator

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    ...it wasn't a negative that the audiences possibly knew...the movie going experience in those days was totally different than today...we loved the cinema entertainment of the day brought to us in the only medium available, film, and the only way to see film, the local movie house...tv was not showing studio movies in the late 40's early 50's...the actors were elevated to star status by the audiences and remained so until "times" changed as well as viewing preferences...(there were eleven movie theaters within walking distance of where I lived in the Bronx).
     
  17. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    I am still waiting, after many years, to have My Fair Lady in good sound on dvd.

    I still have a beta tape made from that Cinemax broadcast with excellent sound. Bright crisp sound, great high end and awesomw dolby surround encoded surrounds.

    The current DVDS don't even have the orginal surrounds. Recording for the Music was done at Goldwyn, but the final mixing for the film was done at Todd AO. Todd always got their surrounds for both four and sixtrack mixes by putting all of the orchestra on the surrounds whenever they appeared. Every song had orchestra on surrounds. But nOT on the current dvds which have NO high end, bloated bass, no surrounds, AND awful fake reverb added on every song, making them all sound as if they are happening far away, instead of in front of you.

    BTW, the original track of Fair Lady is four channel, artificially blown up to six track. The best sound would come from a four track master.

    Audrey did indeed record all of her vocals but not all of them were found, Her vocal of I could have danced all night is NOT charming - its incompetent.

    There is vocals of Natalie wood doing Tonight and ONe Hand One Heart. She's not bad at all, just not good on sustained high notes.

    Does Warner home video have something against Learner and Loew ?

    My Fair Lady is unlistenable. Camelot has the wrong sound mix (taked from a temp mix six track. Again, the original is a four track, later blown up to six.

    The current Camelot has wrong music, a wrong mix and mistakes everywhere on the soundtrack. It's awful.

    We;re supposed to get a new Gigi in a few weeks. I hope they don't screw it up.
     
  18. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Gigi is the most "adult" of all the musicals....I'm still amazed that it's a product of the 1950s....

    I'm really looking forward to upgrading my SD DVD of Gigi.
     
  19. CineKarine

    CineKarine Supporting Actor

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    Dubbed vocals is my favorite topic and the object of an ongoing 20 year research on my part. From 1927 to 1970, vocals were dubbed in well over 1,500 American films, from the most obscure B films to the megaproductions. Dubbers were sworn to secrecy. In the 30s and 40s, the viewers pretty much assumed everyone was singing for themselves, while in fact a LOT of actors (mainly actresses actually) were dubbed. The advent of the soundtrack albums was the beginning of the unveiling of this practice, but even so, a lot of dubbing in the 50s and afterwards remained secret.
    Whenever the subject of dubbed singing voices arises, the same titles (West Side Story, South Pacific, My Fair Lady, films of Hayworth and Charisse, etc.) are always discussed, although there were so many more. Just about every B musical made in the 40s featured dubbed vocals, even for actual singers sometimes. Many a saloon gal in westerns mimed her songs and femme fatales in noir seldom chirped their own numbers. Ditto with songs in melodramas. I'm surprised DVD commentaries on noirs and westerns practically never discuss this.
    Virginia Mayo, Joan Leslie, Linda Darnell, Lana Turner, Audrey Totter, Claire Trevor, Veronica Lake, Jeanne Crain, Sheree North, Maria Montez and Lizabeth Scott were some other ladies who were always dubbed. Then, you have others like Esther Williams, Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Bennett, Yvonne de Carlo, Carole Landis and Ida Lupino who sang for themselves in some films and were dubbed in others. The list is endless!
    I always thought dubbing voices was a great thing - melodious voices were a lot more important back then than today so I am glad they chose to dub Miss Hepburn in MFL and Ava Gardner in Show Boat, after hearing their own vocals. I worship all the great ghost-singers.
     
  20. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I've always thought a very interesting book could have been written with all of that information on who dubbed for whom, interviews with the doubles, and with the actors who were dubbed (their feelings about it, how hard they practiced so they could lip synch convincingly, etc.)
     

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