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Pygmalion (1938)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 March 1939 (USA)
A Victorian dialect expert makes a bet that he can teach a cockney flower girl to speak proper English and pass as a lady in high society.

Writers:

(screen play and dialogue) (as Bernard Shaw), (scenario) (as W. P. Lipscomb) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Scott Sunderland ...
Jean Cadell ...
...
Freddy Eynsford-Hill
Everley Gregg ...
Mrs. Eynsford Hill
...
Clara (as Leueen Macgrath)
...
...
Ambassadress
...
Ysabel Social Reporter
Viola Tree ...
Perfide Social Reporter
...
Duchess (as Irene Brown)
Kate Cutler ...
Grand Old Lady
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Storyline

The snobbish & intellectual Professor of languages, Henry Higgins makes a bet with his friend that he can take a London flower seller, Eliza Doolittle, from the gutters and pass her off as a society lady. However he discovers that this involves dealing with a human being with ideas of her own. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 March 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pigmalión  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System Wide Range)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In British prints, Leslie Howard utters the word "damn". In American prints he says either "hang" or "confounded". This was a year before David O. Selznick famously tussled with the Hays Office over permission for Clark Gable to say "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn" at the end of Gone with the Wind (1939). See more »

Quotes

Prof. Henry Higgins: If you can't appreciate what you've got, you'd better get what you can appreciate.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: PYGMALION WAS A MYTHOLOGICAL CHARACTER WHO DABBLED IN SCULPTURE. HE MADE A STATUE OF HIS IDEAL WOMAN-GALATEA. IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL THAT HE PRAYED THE GODS TO GIVE IT LIFE. HIS WISH WAS GRANTED.

BERNARD SHAW IN HIS FAMOUS PLAY GIVES A MODERN INTERPRETATION OF THIS THEME. See more »

Connections

Version of Pygmalion (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
They don't get much better than this one.
15 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

Nearly 70 years later the Gabriel Pascal "Pygmalion" still sets the bar for film adaptation of a stage play. So much so, in fact, that the GBS incorporated many of the film's upgrades into the authoritative published version of the play, despite the play being more than 20 years old when the film was made.

When was the last time you saw a performance leap off the screen like Leslie Howard's as Professor Higgins? Shaw never saw such treatment on screen again, even under Pascal's hand. The film of "Major Barbara" is interesting (and a bit bizarre toward the end) in its own right, with some magnificent bits in the Act II homeless shelter and a heart-wrenching Wendy Hiller, but pales next to the stage version in its intellectual, political and dramatic depth. And all the rest, even the charming "Caesar and Cleopatra" with Raines and Leigh, just don't cut it compared to the plays.

"Pygmalion" is where any screenwriter needs to start in adapting a play for the movies. No one has done it better since.

(BTW, GBS's afterward to "Pygmalion" is intended to be tongue-in-cheek, I think. It's intentionally ridiculous, so that the mob clamoring for a romantic ending would realize just how inappropriate and uninteresting that would have been.)


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