The snobbish and 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 <email@example.com>
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 »
This film was made a year before the Hays Office gave Clark Gable permission to say "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn", so while in the British prints of this film Leslie Howard often utters the word, in the American prints the word "damn" is replaced by either "hang" or "confounded". See more »
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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