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re: My Fair Lady -- Question about Rex Harrison's Vocals
Last Edit: PlayWiz 08:04 pm EDT 04/03/21
Posted by: PlayWiz 08:01 pm EDT 04/03/21
In reply to: My Fair Lady -- Question about Rex Harrison's Vocals - BroadwayTonyJ 07:47 pm EDT 04/03/21

I had heard that Harrison did indeed do his songs live on set during filming. I'm not aware how this was done, however, as in, if the orchestra was on the side out of camera range, hidden, on a huge soundstage playing. It's possible, since some early musicals had such a set-up. In the wonderful musical "Love Me Tonight" from 1932, you can tell at least one of Maurice Chevalier's numbers "I'm an Apache" was done live, because at the end, as he mimes with his shadow being guillotined, and he bends down, his voice fades for few words and is briefly slightly "off mic" away from the overhead mic and when he stands up, his vocal matches the rest of the song. Somewhere around this time, pre-recording came to be more the style, which saved the studio the expense of having a full orchestra on set for multiple retakes while paying for everyone responsible for the visual aspects of the film. But Harrison I believe had it in his contract to do it "live". Perhaps others might have examples of actors who did their singing "live". The recent "Les Miz" film I believe was done in this manner. Even though Anne Hathaway won an Oscar, I have a feeling the take selected was one after she had done many, since her voice was not at her best, which is probably what the director wanted for her character and her misery at that point. Having seen her do "Carnival!" at Encores years ago, she has a beautiful voice and was capable of a better sung performance.

Others can probably fill you in how the "Rain in Spain" and "You Did It" were filmed. Hepburn doesn't have too much of a singing burden in that, though there are ways of having had her mic and its particular track isolated so that if they wanted to, Marni Nixon's could have been substituted for Hepburn's in the final film. But I'll leave it to the sound specialists who know for sure.
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Previous: re: also... why does he sing it so much less in the film than he even does on the OBC? - PlayWiz 10:30 pm EDT 04/03/21
Next: re: My Fair Lady -- Question about Rex Harrison's Vocals - AlanScott 08:42 pm EDT 04/03/21
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