Truman Capote

Harper Lee, 1926–2016

Harper Lee in 1961 by Donald Uhrbrock (Irish Times / Time Life Pictures / Getty Images)

Harper Lee has passed away in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama.

Nelle Harper Lee was best known for her first novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird, that stands with The Catcher in the Rye and Catch-22 as the best American novels since World War 2, and its equally famous 1962 film adaptation. Lee’s childhood friendship with Truman Capote, a loosely veiled as Dill in Mockingbird, helped to yield another postwar American literary masterpiece, In Cold Blood. And despite her reclusiveness, Lee was honoured many times after the publication of Mockingbird, most notably with the US National Medal of Arts in 2010 and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2007.

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My Fair Lady [1964]

5 / 5

Brilliant, witty, My Fair Lady is an outstanding musical and arguably the best romantic comedy, ever.

Not to be missed: Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison at the height of their powers, the influential costume designs by Cecil Beaton, the memorable and oft-referenced score by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, along with a subtle and nuanced ending far better than could have been imagined by George Bernard Shaw, himself. As a minor point, the people in charge of the film should have used Audrey Hepburn’s singing voice instead of Marni Nixon’s. As Hepburn wasn’t going to beat Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins for the Oscar for Best Actress—Hepburn wasn’t even nominated that year, and as fans of the musical still prefer Andrews’ voice to Marni Nixon’s, Hepburn should have been allowed to retain her pride and dignity through the use of her more modest singing voice.

Jack Warner Trivia:

  • When director George Cukor demanded reshoots, Jack Warner had the sets torn down.
  • After seeing the first rough cut of the film, Jack Warner rose and then silently bowed to Rex Harrison.
  • When it was revealed that Audrey Hepburn was not nominated for an Oscar, Jack Warner and George Cukor angrily protested.

From “Ballade des pendus” by Francois Villon

Frères humains, qui après nous vivez,
N’ayez les cœurs contre nous endurcis,
Car, si pitié de nous pauvres avez,
Dieu en aura plus tôt de vous mercis.

Brothers, men who live after us,
Do not have hearts hardened against us,
For, if you take pity on us poor men,
God will have more mercy on you.

—Francois Villon (fl. 1431–1463)

Protected: That Lost Summer, pp.48–62, “That Unrelated Coda” (2011.7.25)

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