Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a "proper lady" in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. This Academy Award-winning inspiration for Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady was directed by Anthony Asquith and star Howard, edited by David Lean, and scripted by Shaw himself. Criterion presents Pygmalion
in a beautifully restored digital transfer.
This bold 1938 production of George Bernard Shaw's famous play about a linguist who turns a Cockney flower peddler into a princess was codirected by Anthony Asquith (The Browning Version
) and star Leslie Howard, who brings a calculated coldness to the character of Henry Higgins. There's no My Fair Lady
sugarcoating here: Higgins is a brute using language as a weapon of class war and patriarchal subjugation of women. He's a likable
brute, mind you, but a bully nonetheless, and his molding of poor Eliza (Wendy Hiller) into a Cinderella story is not a pretty sight. Everyone in the cast is in perfect accord with this production's take on Shaw's tale, and while this Pygmalion
is a fairly radical enterprise, it is also very funny and handsomely realized. Hiller and Howard have never been better, and the rest of the cast, including Wilfrid Lawson, Marie Lohr, Scott Sunderland, and Jean Cadell, can't be improved upon. Edited by David Lean, who eventually directed Brief Encounter
and Lawrence of Arabia
. --Tom Keogh
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.