Rex Harrison (31 August SUTS)


RexThis post is written in conjunction with the Summer Under the Stars Blogathon hosted by Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence and Scribe Hard on Film. Full listings for SUTS programming on Turner Classic Movies can be found HERE.

“When I was ten we moved and I decided that none of the names I was then called – Reggie, Bobby, Baa – suited me. Somehow I hit on Rex. I must have heard someone calling for their dog and thought it sounded rather nice.”

“There is always a struggle, a striving for something bigger than yourself in all forms of art. And even if you don’t achieve greatness, even if you fail, which we all must, everything you do in your work is somehow connected with your attitude toward life, your deepest secret feelings.”

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“Exhilaration is that feeling you get just after a great idea hits you, and just before you realize what’s wrong with it.”

“Whatever it is that makes a person charming, it needs to remain a mystery once the charmer is aware of a mannerism or characteristic that others find charming, it ceases to be a mannerism and becomes an affectation. And good Lord, there is nothing less charming than affectations!”

“Originally I had a block about appearing in a musical. I went to a voice teacher for a while, but that did no good. My range is about one and a half notes. I ended up talking the musical numbers, which was revolutionary at the time. The lyrics are extremely intricate. They move along like a precisely acted scene. If you miss a word – heaven help you – the orchestra rattles past like an express train, and you’ve got to run like the devil to catch up.”

“It takes a long time to learn to treat the camera as a friend and confidant, which finally you have to do if you’re to become a good film actor.”

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Rex Harrison Must-See Movie: MY FAIR LADY (1964)

“Eliza Doolittle is supposed to be ill at ease in European ballrooms. Bloody Audrey has never spent a day in her life out of European ballrooms.”

This elaborate musical directed by George Cukor and starring Audrey Hepburn began on Broadway with Julie Andrews in the starring role. Although Audrey did not sing her part in the film, she does justice to the show that made Andrews famous. With a story written by George Bernard Shaw (“Pygmalion”), music and lyrics by Andre Previn and Alan Jay Lerner, and sets and costumes designed by Cecil Beaton, MY FAIR LADY is one of the most spectacular cinematic events a film fanatic can enjoy. The movie won 8 Academy Awards that year, one of which was awarded to Harrison, who dedicated his Oscar to his two fair ladies, Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews.

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Rex Harrison Must-See Movie Number 2: ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM (1946)

ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM is the precursor to the musical THE KING AND I and co-stars the beautiful Irene Dunne as the Englishwoman on assignment to tutor the many children of the King of Siam (Harrison).

“Give her a house! If she was meant to be a sign to us, she deserves a reward. And if she wasn’t, well, give her a house anyway, before she drives me out of my mind!”

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Rex Harrison Might-See Movies

David Lean’s BLITHE SPIRIT (1945) is a comedy adopted from a Noel Coward play about a married man who is haunted by his deceased first wife’s spirit. Margaret Rutherford is hilarious as the mystic medium.

Harrison plays the ghost this time, in Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s dramatic mystery romance THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR (1947), co-starring Gene Tierney and George Sanders.

UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1948) is a Pretson Sturges comedy about a jealous symphony conductors suspicions about his wife’s (Linda Darnell) infidelity.

Also directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Harrison plays Julius Caesar to Elizabeth Taylor’s CLEOPATRA (1963).


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