Due to My Fair Lady, Pygmalion may be Bernard Shaw's most famous play, though not necessarily his best. If you'd like to see it in its original form, find the 1938 version with Leslie Howard as Professor Higgins and Wendy Hiller as Liza Doolittle. Despite the high ratings it received from others, I found this version decidedly inferior. Lynn Redgrave, despite her impressive resume, is not in the least persuasive as Liza and James Villiers is completely over the top as Professor Higgins. The best acting by far in my estimation is by Emrys James as Liza's father, the spokesman for "the undeserving poor," and Lally Bowers as Professor Higgins' mother. Your mind may be filled with Audrey Hepburn (or Julie Andrews) as Liza and Rex Harrison as Higgins, possibly with Stanley Holloway as Doolittle. Redgrave and Villiers cannot handle the comparison and, while I prefer Holloway, James handles the role exceptionally well. On the other hand, Howard and Hiller were brilliantly paired, and watching them is a useful reminder of how great they both were, Hiller in her bloom of youth and Howard a few years before his untimely death during World War II.
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