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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 ... 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:

GBP87,000 (estimated)
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

The scene in which Eliza accidentally swallows a marble while having an elocution lesson does not appear in the original play. During rehearsals for this scene, a pained expression came over Wendy Hiller's face. When she spat out the marbles she had in her mouth she said, "Leslie, I've swallowed one!", to which Leslie Howard replied: "Never mind there are plenty more." This caused such amusement among the watching crew that it was added to the movie, and to its musical version, My Fair Lady. See more »

Goofs

The second time Eliza is sitting on the sofa at Mrs. Higgins' house, she tells Pickering, "But I know that I can be a lady to you" and her sewing is raised in her hands. The next moment, the sewing is in her lap and she raises it. See more »

Quotes

Professor Henry Higgins: Where the devil are my slippers, Eliza?
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 The Shape of Things (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

not My Fair Lady ...
12 January 2001 | by didi-5See all my reviews

While My Fair Lady was a tremendous film which is a pleasure to watch and rewatch, Pygmalion is the true cinematic version of Shaw's work and this version is brilliant. While I still have mixed feelings about the Henry-Eliza relationship and the play ending, it has to be said that the two leads here are perfect for their roles. There were not many British actors better than Howard at the time for this type of thing, and Wendy Hiller never disappointed her audience once in her long career. A good film full of detail and feeling. The one sticking point is the weak and feeble Freddie who at least was given a personality in MFL. Here you can't wonder that Eliza is so quick to discard his attentions. A film which should be celebrated and treasured more in the UK than it is.


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