My Fair Lady, On the Town Movies Among 2018 National Film Registry Inductees

Film & TV News   My Fair Lady, On the Town Movies Among 2018 National Film Registry Inductees
 
The Library of Congress-run program recognizes 25 films annually as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, and the cast of <i>My Fair Lady</i>
Rex Harrison, Audrey Hepburn, and the cast of My Fair Lady Paramount Home Entertainment

Movie musicals My Fair Lady, On the Town, and Disney's Cinderella are among the 25 films selected by the Library of Congress to join the National Film Registry for 2018. The program, established in 1989, selects 25 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" movies annually to showcase the range and diversity of American filmmaking and create awareness for their preservation. The three musicals join the registry this year along with such films as Brokeback Mountain, Broadcast News, and Jurassic Park.

The My Fair Lady film, released in 1964, featured Rex Harrison recreating his Broadway and West End stage performance as Henry Higgins. When Harrison won the Oscar that year for his film performance, he became one of only a handful of actors to win both a Tony and Academy Award for the same role. Audrey Hepburn famously won the role of Eliza Doolittle over the work's original stage star Julie Andrews, though most of the character's singing was dubbed by the legendary—and often uncredited—"ghost singer" Marni Nixon. The Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe musical can currenty be seen on Braodway in a Lincoln Center Theater revival led by Laura Benanti and Harry Hadden-Paton.

Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin in <i>On the Town</i>
Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Jules Munshin in On the Town Warner Brothers

Unlike My Fair Lady, the 1949 film adaptation of On the Town is substantially different from the 1944 stage musical on which it is based. MGM retained only "New York, New York" and "Come Up to My Place" from the Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green score. Comden and Green collaborated with composer Roger Edens for the film's five new songs, which include "Prehistoric Man," "Main Street," and "On the Town." Gene Kelly starred as Gabey, leading a cast including Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, Ann Miller, and Vera-Ellen. Kelly choreographed the film, co-directing it with Stanley Donen. The pair would reunite in 1952 on Singin' in the Rain, which was itself inducted into the National Film Registry in the program's inaugural year.

Disney's 16th animated feature-length film, Cinderella was released in 1950 and is largely credited with rejuvinating the then-struggling film studio. Based on Charles Perrault's version of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella featured a score by Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman that introduced such songs as "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes," "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo," and "So This is Love."

Previous inductees have included the movie adaptations of Carmen Jones, Cabaret, Show Boat (1936), West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Music Man, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Oklahoma!, Porgy and Bess, and Funny Girl.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 registry, and can be submitted online through September 15. For more information, click here.

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