17 thoughts on “MCM: Harry Hadden-Paton

  1. He was a great Higgins, especially to Laura Benanti’s Eliza (yes I saw it more than once…). He has great stage acting chops. And a much better singer than Rex Harrison … he made the role his own.

  2. I thought he was great as Higgins – I saw the production three times! I hope they eventually release a filmed version of his My Fair Lady. (Pretty PBS showed The King and I, which was also in that same theater in Lincoln Center, so it’s possible).

  3. All the “Downton” suitors kind of run together in my mind, but HH-P was fine in “The Crown.” More important, he knows how to wear a fedora! And tennis whites.

  4. “I think he’s a better singer than Rex Harrison!”

    Wow. This is practically a dictionary definition of “damning with faint praise.”

    Though given the general regard for Harrison’s overall performance in the role, I guess it’s not quite as bad as “a better singer than William Shatner!” or “a better singer than Lee Marvin!” ;-)

    1. The role doesn’t ask for much actual singing, & Harrison is widely praised for what he did do with it. I was honestly impressed that Hadden-Paton improved on the original (also, looking at HHP’s resume, I don’t see a ton of singing roles, so it’s not like he’s best known for musical theater).

      1. “The role doesn’t ask for much actual singing, & Harrison is widely praised for what he did do with it.”

        First of all, note the “wink-smile” emoji at the end of my comment. Not saying that you intended to criticize HH-P’s performance, and you don’t need to defend him.

        But actually, Harrison is widely known as a non-singer who has a minute vocal range that required him to perform the role in a Sprechstimme voice– rhythmically reciting the lyrics in sync with the melody.

        And Harrison is also notable for having been unable to perform the lyrics the same way twice, requiring both MFL and the subsequent musical DOCTOR DOOLITTLE (1967) to shoot his numbers live on set, rather than post-synching the vocals as is usually done. It created major hassles on both films.

        So while Rex Harrison is widely praised for his theater and film performances as Henry Higgins– and I completely agree– he’s also notorious as a non-singer who talked his way through musical numbers, and therefore a very low bar to improve on purely in singing ability.

        And all that said, I’d love to see Harry Hadden-Paton’s take on the role.

  5. Oh, dear. Trystan, was it fair to begin his post with, “He’s not exactly ‘candy'”? Can we let him have his sexy moment without that caveat–a caveat I think applies to about 5-7% of the MCM choices without outright saying so?** Anyway, I think he’s got a little something, something (and that little bit is definitely augmented in my opinion by his francophone skills). Beyond his looks, he’s definitely a good actor. I loved him in The Crown and all the iterations of Downton Abbey thus far–and yes, he and the whole cast looked lovely in tennis whites. As someone else noted, saying his singing voice is better than Rex Harrison’s, well…that’s not saying much. I didn’t know about his role in My Fair Lady on stage, and I, too, hope PBS will air a Great Performances episode of it. Also, I now want to see him the film with Tom Hiddleston; it looks fun. Thanks for including the red carpet photo. He looks so sassy. I love sassy. Good MCM choice!

    **I feel like I already know your answer to this one! “It’s my opinion, and I’ll say what I want!” ;)

    1. Just throwing that out there bec. ppl expect conventionally pretty/sexy boys on Mondays. Now you complain otherwise. Whatever! Just can’t please y’all with our ad-free, un-sponsored, side-project we’ve been doing consistently 5x a week for the past 8 years.

  6. Oh wish I could get to London to see this. For a start he’s not creepily much older than Eliza, there’s no reason for HH to be in his 50s or 60s, he’s just curmudgeonly.

    1. Leslie Howard’s performance as Higgins in the pre-MFL adaptation of Shaw’s original play PYGMALION (1938) is a bit closer to HH-P in the role, age/looks-wise– he was 44 or 45 at the time, compared to HH-P at 38 and 41.

      (Oddly, while Howard’s Eliza, Wendy Hiller, was only 25 or 26 when she did the role, she had a sort of odd “maturity” to her features that made the 19-year age difference less glaring than that of Harrison with either Andrews or Hepburn.)

      Harrison was 48 when he first did MFL on stage, and 55 or 56 when he did the film– and 73 when he did the role in a 1981 B’way revival!

      All this said, we should recognize that age doesn’t automatically diminish attractiveness in either sex.

      But the constant one-way film pairing of older male/younger female romantic leads with almost no examples of the reverse– to say nothing of the resultant putting of still-attractive actresses “out to pasture” after age 40– is beyond exasperating.

      1. 100% about women losing roles after 40. I saw an article about Anne Heche last week and her role in the HBO series Hung. There was a quote from the co-creator about how it was “incredibly difficult to find beautiful, talented, funny women over 35.” What. The. Hell. And this was a FEMALE creator!

  7. I also saw this on stage in 2018, HHP was wonderful, such a great production. I also loved him in DA, so nice that Edith was happy. I still haven’t watched the sequel but they do look fabulous in those 1920s outfits!

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