7.9/10
6,980
74 user 31 critic

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 »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Pygmalion (TV Movie 1983)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The standard My Fair Lady story, with a provocative rendition by screen legend O'Toole. He knows how to talk, but does he know how to behave towards a lady?

Director: Alan Cooke
Stars: Peter O'Toole, Margot Kidder, Helen Beavis
Pygmalion (1935)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Professor Higgins determines to transform an uneducated flower-girl into a great lady.

Director: Erich Engel
Stars: Jenny Jugo, Gustaf Gründgens, Anton Edthofer
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A noblewoman discovers her husband is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a vigilante who rescues aristocrats from the blade of the guillotine.

Director: Harold Young
Stars: Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey
49th Parallel (1941)
Drama | War | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A World War II U-boat crew are stranded in northern Canada. To avoid internment, they must make their way to the border and get into the still-neutral U.S.

Director: Michael Powell
Stars: Leslie Howard, Laurence Olivier, Raymond Massey
Major Barbara (1941)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

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: Gabriel Pascal, Harold French, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Wendy Hiller, Rex Harrison, Robert Morley
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades.

Directors: Sam Wood, Sidney Franklin
Stars: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn
Certificate: Passed Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young American man comes to believe that he can will himself back to London in the time of the American Revolution and meet his ancestors, who lived in the house he has just inherited.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Leslie Howard, Heather Angel, Valerie Taylor
Libeled Lady (1936)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A newspaper man, his ignored fiancée, and his former employee, a down on his luck reporter, hatch an elaborate scheme to turn a false news story into the truth in order to prevent a high-society woman from suing for libel.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy
Devotion (1931)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The poor, downtrodden (beautiful, of course) "dutiful" daughter in a London society family falls for a barrister, disguises herself, and takes a job as governess to his son. Adapted from ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Milton
Stars: Ann Harding, Leslie Howard, Robert Williams
Jezebel (1938)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1850s Louisiana, a free-spirited Southern belle loses her fiancé due to her stubborn vanity and pride, and vows to win him back.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Henry Fonda, George Brent
Outward Bound (1930)
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Later remade as "Between Two Worlds."

Directors: Robert Milton, Ray Enright
Stars: Leslie Howard, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Beryl Mercer
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A waitress, a hobo and a bank robber get mixed up at a lonely diner in the desert.

Director: Archie Mayo
Stars: Leslie Howard, Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis
Edit

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 Jean Cadell ... Mrs. Pearce
David Tree ... Freddy Eynsford Hill
Everley Gregg Everley Gregg ... Mrs. Eynsford Hill
Leueen MacGrath ... Clara (as Leueen Macgrath)
Esme Percy ... Count Aristid Karpathy
Violet Vanbrugh ... Ambassadress
Irene Browne ... Duchess (as Irene Brown)
Kate Cutler Kate Cutler ... Grand Old Lady
O.B. Clarence O.B. Clarence ... Mr. Birchwood - the Vicar
Ivor Barnard ... Sarcastic Bystander
Edit

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:

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pigmalión See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although George Bernard Shaw expressed indifference about the Academy Award he won for writing this film, his friend Mary Pickford reported that he proudly displayed the Oscar in his home, showing it off to his visitors. See more »

Quotes

Eliza Doolittle: There's lots of women has to make their husbands drunk to make them fit to live with.
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

Version of Pygmalion (1937) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
"Where the devil are my slippers, Eliza?"
26 October 2005 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The nice thing about watching the screen version of Pygmalion is that having seen My Fair Lady and heard the original Broadway cast album a few thousand times, you know where the songs are supposed to go.

And you know the plot. There's a little more of George Bernard Shaw's social commentary about class in this one, but still we enjoy the romance of the man falling in love with his creation.

Leslie Howard is cast very much against type here. The romantic idealist that was Alan Squire or Ashley Wilkes, there's no trace of here. Professor Henry Higgins is one misanthropic fellow, a man who's disdained the social class mores of the pre-World War I, United Kingdom. But he's no social crusader. He's taken up the esoteric study of language and phonetics and on a bet with Colonel Pickering, boasts he can obliterate class lines for any subject by teaching proper speech.

And who's the subject, cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle. Someone who Higgins opens a new world for and after the wager is finished, just can't go back to what she was.

As in My Fair Lady, the funniest scenes are Eliza trying to master the English of the Oxford Dons. We don't get the Rain in Spain here, sung and danced as Eliza breaks through, but it's still the part I like the best.

Shaw's commentary about class distinctions come out of the mouth of Alfred P. Doolittle. Wilfrid Lawson's ideas about morality may very well make him the most original moralist in the English speaking world. The poor just can't afford them and he's driven kicking and screaming into the middle class with a sudden burst of luck. Think Mickey Rourke in Barfly, forced to clean up his act for the sake of convention.

Pygmalion introduced Wendy Hiller to the screen as Eliza Doolittle. It's a difficult part as Eliza evolves in front of us. Quite a revelation for Leslie Howard also.

Hiller of course would be another Shavian heroine in Major Barbara, another great role for her. Howard, sadly, never got a chance to tackle George Bernard Shaw again. I could see him as Caesar in Caesar and Cleopatra or Cusins in Major Barbara.

Even without the songs, Pygmalion can be seen and enjoyed by all.


20 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 74 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed