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Pygmalion (1938)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 3 March 1939 (USA)
A phonetics and diction 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:

George Bernard Shaw (screen play and dialogue) (as Bernard Shaw), W.P. Lipscomb (scenario) | 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:
Leslie Howard ... Henry Higgins
Wendy Hiller ... Eliza Doolittle
Wilfrid Lawson ... Alfred Doolittle
Marie Lohr ... Mrs. Higgins
Scott Sunderland Scott Sunderland ... Colonel George Pickering
Jean Cadell ... Mrs. Pearce
David Tree ... Freddy Eynsford Hill
Everley Gregg Everley Gregg ... Mrs. Eynsford Hill
Leueen MacGrath ... Clara Eynsford Hill (as Leueen Macgrath)
Esme Percy ... Count Aristid Karpathy
Violet Vanbrugh ... Ambassadress
Irene Browne ... Duchess (as Irene Brown)
Kate Cutler ... Grand Old Lady
O.B. Clarence ... Mr. Birchwood - the Vicar
Ivor Barnard ... Sarcastic Bystander
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Storyline

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 <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He picked up a girl from the gutter - and changed her into a glamorous society butterfly ! . . . See Wendy Hiller, new star discovery, in this amazing role ! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pigmalión See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$350,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$3,052,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System Wide Range)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Wilfrid Lawson was only thirty-eight when he played Eliza Doolittle's father. See more »

Quotes

Eliza Doolittle: I washed me face and hands before I come, I did.
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 »

Alternate Versions

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Leslie Howard (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
They don't get much better than this one.
15 July 2007 | by kelly_r_1983See 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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