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Pygmalion [1938 film] (1938)

de Anthony Asquith (Director), Ian Dalrymple (Screenplay), Leslie Howard (Director/Cast), Cecil Arthur Lewis (Screenplay), George Bernard Shaw (Screenplay)1 més, Kay Walsh (Screenplay)

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Professor Henry Higgins works to make a pretty flower girl into a young lady of society.
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Pygmalion (1938)

Leslie Howard – Henry Higgins
Wendy Hiller – Eliza Doolittle

Wilfrid Lawson – Alfred Doolittle
Marie Lohr – Mrs. Higgins
Scott Sunderland – Colonel George Pickering
Jean Cadell – Mrs. Pearce
David Tree – Freddy Eynsford Hill
Everley Gregg – Mrs. Eynsford Hill
Esme Percy – Count Aristid Karpathy

Screenplay by Bernard Shaw, based on his play (1912)
Directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard

Black and white. 96 min.


Forget that garish, endless and musically mediocre travesty My Fair Lady (1964). This is the real deal. Sadly, both movies share the same ending that makes the whole so much less effective. Add clumsy direction and atrocious editing that make this movie stutter all the time and you must knock down a whole star. Otherwise this is a great movie, better than the other Pascal-Hiller Shavian production, Major Barbara (1941), and vastly superior to that interminable musical – whatever its name was.

The adaptation – save the ending! – is very faithful indeed. The dialogue is straight out of the play, including immortal lines like Eliza’s “I sold flowers. I didn’t sell myself. Now you’ve made a lady of me I’m not fit to sell anything else.” There are plenty of minor cuts, some pointless (e.g. Higgins calls Eliza “object”, not “baggage”), others regrettable (Doolittle’s “It’s making a gentleman of me that I object to” speech). But the characters are preserved with the utmost fidelity. No attempt is made to tone down Higgins’ verbal brutality. He does call Eliza everything from a “draggletailed guttersnipe” to “squashed cabbage leaves” to a “presumptuous insect”. Shaw’s devastating social satire is retained almost intact. The whole point of passing a flower girl for a duchess is, of course, to show that there is no real difference between them. This is Shavian punch power. Straight between the eyes of British class-consciousness!

The cast is as close to perfection as you could possibly get. Everybody has so much fun that you can’t help having a lot of it yourself. Wendy Hiller is sensational. She is superb as Major Barbara, but she is dazzling as Eliza Doolittle. She captures everything from the gibberish speech in the first two acts to the precarious charade in the third act to the pathos and poise in the last two acts. This is beautiful acting from first to last minute, almost as beautiful as Wendy Hiller’s exquisite cheekbones. Leslie Howard gives a spirited, athletic performance as that conceited gambler Henry Higgins. Wilfrid Lawson is hilarious as Eliza’s mercenary father and so is Marie Lohr as Henry’s shrewd mother. Even the smallest parts are pure joy to watch. Esme Percy is a riot as Henry’s greatest pupil (Nepommuck in the play, here changed to one Count Aristid Karpathy).

Do you love Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion? If yes, watch this movie and ditch the musical. If no, watch this movie and ditch the musical all the same. My Fair Lady is your favourite movie of all time? Then stay away from this one! ( )
2 vota Waldstein | Oct 1, 2019 |
Cuando el profesor Higgins, un especialista en fonética, conoce casuamente a Elisa, una vendedora de flores, la vulgaridad e incorrección de su lenguaje despierta extraordinariamente su interés. Decide entonces realizar un experimento con ella: transformar a Elisa hasta convertirla en una respetable dama de la alta sociedad. El trato que Higgins dispensa a la chica no es muy considerado: a él sólo le preocupa la dicción, el perfeccionamiento de la voz y el aprendizaje de exquisitos modales.
  bibliest | Dec 16, 2015 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Asquith, AnthonyDirectorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Dalrymple, IanScreenplayautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Howard, LeslieDirector/Castautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Lewis, Cecil ArthurScreenplayautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Shaw, George BernardScreenplayautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Walsh, KayScreenplayautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Browne, Ireneautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Hiller, Wendyautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Lohr, Marieautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
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