MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 6,497 this week

Major Barbara (1941)

 -  Comedy  -  2 August 1941 (UK)
7.1
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 752 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 13 critic

A young and idealistic woman, who has adopted the Salvation Army and whose father is an armament industrialist, will save more souls directing her father's business. A comedy with social commentary.

Directors:

, (uncredited) , 1 more credit »

Writers:

(original play), (scenario and dialogue), 4 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 48 titles
created 09 Feb 2012
 
list image
a list of 46 titles
created 30 Sep 2012
 
a list of 22 titles
created 11 Sep 2013
 
a list of 47 titles
created 8 months ago
 
a list of 48 titles
created 4 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "Major Barbara" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Major Barbara (1941)

Major Barbara (1941) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Major Barbara.

User Polls

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Story of a Christian in ancient Rome who befriends a lion.

Directors: Chester Erskine, Nicholas Ray
Stars: Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Alan Young
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Henry Hobson runs a successful bootmaker's shop in nineteenth-century Salford. A widower with a weakness for the pub opposite, he tries forcefully to run the lives of his three unruly ... See full summary »

Director: David Lean
Stars: Charles Laughton, John Mills, Brenda de Banzie
Summertime (1955)
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A lonely American woman unexpectedly finds romance in Venice, Italy.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Rossano Brazzi, Isa Miranda
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

During the depression in England, a young lady from Lancashire decides to be a rich bookmaker's mistress, just to help the rest of her family who are unemployed.

Director: John Baxter
Stars: Deborah Kerr, Clifford Evans, George Carney
Pygmalion (1938)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Shaw's play in which a Victorian dialect expert bets that he can teach a lower-class girl to speak proper English and thus be taken for a lady.

Directors: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard
Stars: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A WW2 U-boat crew is stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral USA.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Richard George
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Cultural mistrust and false accusations doom a friendship in British colonial India between an Indian doctor, an Englishwoman engaged to marry a city magistrate, and an English educator.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Judy Davis, Victor Banerjee, Peggy Ashcroft
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The life of Jesus Christ.

Directors: George Stevens, David Lean, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Max von Sydow, Dorothy McGuire, Charlton Heston
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Meeting a stranger in a railway station, a woman is tempted to cheat on her husband.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A humble orphan suddenly becomes a gentleman with the help of an unknown benefactor.

Director: David Lean
Stars: John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Tony Wager
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Set in the wake of the 1916 Easter Rising, a married woman in a small Irish village has an affair with a troubled British officer.

Director: David Lean
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard, John Mills
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The film is based on the novel of the same name by A. J. Cronin. The year is 1880. On the outskirts of the fictional small Scottish town of Levenford there stands a strange building... See full synopsis »

Director: Lance Comfort
Stars: Robert Newton, Deborah Kerr, James Mason
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
The General
Emlyn Williams ...
Marie Lohr ...
Penelope Dudley-Ward ...
Walter Hudd ...
David Tree ...
...
Donald Calthrop ...
Marie Ault ...
Cathleen Cordell ...
Mog Habbijam
Torin Thatcher ...
Todger Fairmile
Edit

Storyline

A young and idealistic woman, who has adopted the Salvation Army and whose father is an armament industrialist, will save more souls directing her father's business. A comedy with social commentary.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 August 1941 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Axiomatikos Barbara  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Deborah Kerr's first credited movie role. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 35 mins) Just before she scolds her husband for addressing her as "Biddy", a boom mic shadow passes over the lace trim on the bosom of Lady Britomart's (Marie Lohr) gown. See more »

Quotes

Andrew Underschaft: When you vote, you only change the names of the cabinet. When you shoot, you pull down governments, inaugurate new epochs, abolish old orders, and set up new.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Girls: Incidentals (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward, Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan (1871)
Words by Sabine Baring-Gould (1864)
Arranged by William Walton
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"What Price Salvation Now..."
11 June 2004 | by (Corpus Christi TX) – See all my reviews

George Bernard Shaw's 1905 satirical examination of salvation, "Major Barbara," is updated in this 1941 screen translation, but the story is basically the same. Munitions industrialist Andrew Undershaft, who has not seen his family in almost 20 years, returns to find that: (a) his son Stephen, at 25, has not discovered a suitable vocation; (b) his daughter Sarah has engaged herself to a pretentious but unoffending young fool, Charles Lomax; and (c) his other daughter Barbara has adopted the Salvation Army as a career toward moral self-fulfillment and social enlightenment.

The essential question in "Major Barbara" concerns the root of the Industrial Age's social ills. Barbara (well-acted by Wendy Hiller) would argue that the greed of whiskey manufacturers and the social rapacity of the ruling classes are the culprits. Her father, on the other hand, maintains that civilization's greatest sin is the existence of poverty. Further, he deplores the shameless glorification of the "meek, honest, and downtrodden" poor and the empty condescension that is offered to those who live in filth, disease, and constant hunger. And since Andrew Undershaft is the play's hero and Shaw's philosophical stand-in (Robert Morley, the actor who plays him, is even made up to resemble Shaw), there can be little doubt as to which character, father or daughter, will ultimately triumph.

Since Shaw was directly involved in this project, it's doubtful that purists will object to the fact that the film includes additional scenes that did not appear in the play's original text. A new prologue introduces us to Adolphus Cusins (Rex Harrison), the professor of Greek classics who is a dismal failure as a Hyde Park lecturer. When his speeches fail to hold or entrance an audience, he is advised by a sympathetic street patrolman (Stanley Holloway) to sample the "religious" speaking-circuit. Deciding he has nothing to lose, Adolphus heeds the policeman's advice, and while doing so, he encounters Barbara speaking to a crowd with incredibly religious fervor, and he is instantly smitten. From there, the movie segues into Shaw's original First Act.

Another important addition is the mock religious conversion of the drunken Bill Walker by wrestler-turned-Salvation-Army-sergeant Todger Fairmile, a scene only described in Shaw's original transcript. Robert Newton, a very fine actor who was especially memorable in Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn" (1939), here plays Walker as an unbridled, unapologetic savage of a bully. His profane dismissals of the aged Miss Mitchens and the quickness of his physical abuse of the docile Army volunteer Jenny Hill provide the film's most shocking moments. But Walker's more lethal ammunition is used in his verbal taunting of Barbara ("What price Salvation, now?") after her disillusionment with and ultimate resignation from the Army of Good Samaritans. So deep is her despair that she almost commits suicide.

Her abandonment of the Army occurs after her superior accepts a large gift of money in the form of a check signed by her own father. Barbara insists that the money is tainted, that its blood money, gleaned from her father with the sweat of his underpaid workers and by the misery suffered by the victims of Undershaft's armaments industry. However, when reluctantly following up on her father's invitation to visit his munitions plant, she discovers that Undershaft's company town is a working-man's suburban paradise of modern architecture and schools and churches; and she then understands that it is not her father who drives the hellish multimillion-dollar business that makes this Eden possible. It drives him. And the film's concluding shot of Cusins, Walker, and Barbara, marching arm-in-arm with the rest of Undershaft's proletariat, is a celebration of the playwright's ironic vision.

Shaw is primarily enjoyed for the intelligent wit of his dialogue, but he had a serious purpose here. As the playwright himself reflected in 1906, a year after the play's premiere, "Undershaft...is simply a man who, having grasped the fact that poverty is a crime, knows that when society offered him the alternative of poverty or a lucrative trade in death and destruction, it offered him (a choice) between energetic enterprise and cowardly infamy."

Gabriel Pascal produced and directed – adequately. Here, his style is very understated and completely serviceable to the film's source. The scenes are paced briskly, even by modern standards. And the casting is superb, particularly Emlyn Williams's two-faced cynic/beggar, Snobby Price (the name says it all); Deborah Kerr is an affecting Jenny Hill (she obtained this film role by reciting the Lord's Prayer for producer Pascal); Torin Thatcher is in fine comic form as Todger Fairmile; and Marie Lohr manages to quietly hit all the right notes as Undershaft's priggish wife, Lady Britomart.


24 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Is it propaganda? apass
Can't believe... Artsygal20
UK DVD Quality ozladbulgakov
So many 'My Fair Lady' connections... mangumman
GBS's family, background, and mission Bob Pr.
Discuss Major Barbara (1941) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?