I’m glad to have George Cukor’s 1964 “My Fair Lady” on Blu-ray, even if it does seem to be a tired-looking transfer of the Robert A. Harris restoration from 1994, but I’m more grateful to the Warner Archive Collection for remastering Cukor’s often overlooked late work “Travels with My Aunt,” a frequently brilliant adaptation of a minor novel by Graham Greene. The screenplay is credited to Jay Presson Allen and Hugh Wheeler, but Allen told Patrick McGilligan, in his “Backstory 3: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1960s,” that the script was entirely the work of Katharine Hepburn, with the exception of one speech Allen didn’t identify.
Hepburn, of course, was originally set to play the part that ultimately went to Maggie Smith, and while Smith’s performance is problematical, at least the casting of a younger actress made possible the stunning flashback sequences, which give the film its heart and soul. Cukor will probably be forever typed as an “actor’s director,” but the “Train Bleu” sequence alone in “Travels” seems sufficient proof that he was one of the medium’s great visual storytellers, an absolute master of blocking and framing.
My New York Times review is here.