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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 »
Reviews
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:

Miss 'Pygmalion'? Not ****** likely! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cathleen Nesbitt, billed as Kathleen Nesbitt, appears in a role credited only as "A Lady". Eighteen years later, she originated the role of Mrs. Higgins in the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady. See more »

Goofs

After the ball when Mrs. Pearce is serving Professor Higgins his tea, the shadow of the camera can be seen in the bottom left, moving back across his blanket. See more »

Quotes

Professor Henry Higgins: Where the devil are my slippers, Eliza?
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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 BBC Sunday-Night Theatre: Pygmalion (1956) See more »

User Reviews

The definitive film version of the Shavian classic
24 February 2002 | by robertguttmanSee all my reviews

This remains the definitive film version of the Shavian classic. As in any of Shaw's plays, the essence of Pygmalion rests upon sharp dialogue rather than splashy musical numbers, and upon character rather than action.

Wendy Hiller makes an infinitely better Eliza Dolittle than the miscast Audry Hepburn. Hiller's transformation from flower-girl to lady is astonishing. On the other hand, one never believes Hepburn in the role of a "draggle-tailed gutter-snipe". She comes off like a dressed-down fashion model putting on an accent.

Leslie Howard's performance is far more subtle, and far less strident, then Rex Harrison's. Perhaps Howard would have been offered the lead role in My Fair Lady in preference to Rex Harrison had he lived longer (he was shot down in a plane in 1943). The two actors were not that much different in age and, if Leslie Howard was not noted as a singer, neither was Rex Harrison.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 March 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pygmalion See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP87,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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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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