I suppose we all know that Audrey Hepburn didn't do the actual singing in My Fair Lady, but it turns out the practice was widespread, especially for the female co-stars, as this fascinating documentary reveals..
In many of Hollywood's greatest movie musicals the stars did not sing their own songs. This documentary pulls back the curtain to reveal the secret world of the 'ghost singers' who provided the vocals, the screen legends who were dubbed and the classic movies in which the songs were ghosted.
As far as the movie moguls were concerned, it was a trade secret and should remain one. This meant that, for years, cinemagoers thought that Natalie Wood was actually singing as Maria in West Side Story, and Mark Lester in the lead role of Oliver! The former was famously disgruntled at being sung over (her own version of I Feel Pretty, heard here, is fine, if a little thin). Lester, on the other hand, was thrilled at his perfect pitch (courtesy of Kathe Green, daughter of the film’s musical director). As Lester now says, “You wouldn’t want me to sing. It would destroy that wonderful image of that little boy singing. Just don’t go there!”
As for the invisible singers, there’s a happy ending. It’s very much a case of credit where credit is due.
Not sure why Robert Wagner features so heavily, though...
* mother of Andrew Gold!