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Pygmalion

Leslie Howard , Wendy Hiller , Leslie Howard , Anthony Asquith    Unrated   DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 82.40
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Product Description

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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

Product Description

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.


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pygmailion Jan. 1 2001
Format:DVD
First of all, this is not a review of the play, which is brilliant. My rating is solely based on the quality of the DVD, which I found to be very disappointing.
Criterion has made a name for itself by distributing good if not excellent quality versions of movies on DVD. Having said that, I would like to warn people that the audio quality of this DVD is an absolute disaster. I returned the first DVD thinking the reason the audio wouldn't play was because I received a bad disk. However, the replacement Amazon sent was just the same. If you purchase this DVD, you might be lucky enough to get it to work, but I think I can safely say that you will be very disappointed in the audio of this DVD.
Having looked at the reviews of this movie, I find it annoying that so many of them are based on the VHS tape version. (I suppose that when you click on 'See all customers reviews' it scans the entire database giving you everything related to this play.) This seems to be a disservice to someone looking for the quality of the media not the quality of the play.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent sur toute la ligne ! Feb. 6 2013
By MFJ
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Le produit m'a été livré dans le délai prévu. La qualité mentionnée était exacte. Je suis très satisfait et je recommande fortement ce vendeur. Excellent sur toute la ligne !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars THE FIRST DISAPPOINTMENT FROM CRITERION... Nov. 21 2000
By A Customer
Format:DVD
Until now, Criterion has been recognized as the undisputed leader in film resoration for transfer to DVD. With PYGMALION, they make a very disappointing stumble. The package states that this is a "gorgeous new transfer, with digitally restored image and sound". I'm sure this is what they intended, but the product does not reflect either restored image or sound. It is, on the whole a good print, though not at all up to the normal Criterion quality. It is - in places - terrible. And the sound is all over the map. Yes, it can be heard, but because of a poor audio mix, one has to raise and lower the volume with almost every scene. Criterion remains by far the best distributor of DVDs, but they should be told by their consumers that in this case, the product is plainly not deserving of the Criterion name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PYGMALION IS WON OVER BY HIS GALATEA... Dec 5 2002
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
This superlative, award winning film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play is as delightful today as when it was first filmed, nearly sixty five years ago. This ageless story, based upon greek mythology in which an ivory statue of a maiden, Galatea, is brought to life by the prayers of its sculptor, Pygmalion, features a professor of linguistics, Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard), who takes a cockney flower seller, Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller), and bets that, within a matter of six months, he can turn her into a lady who can pass in high society without betraying her lowly origins.
Leslie Howard, wonderful in the role, is the quintessential Henry Higgins, playing him as an arrogant, aristocratic misogynist whose own mother (Marie Lohr) barely finds him tolerable. Henry makes his bet about his prospective success with Eliza with his friend, the kindly Col. George Pickering (Scott Sunderland), a wealthy gentleman who bankrolls the costs of Eliza's transformation from guttersnipe to royal pretender.
Wendy Hiller is perfectly cast in the role of Eliza, having a certain earthiness about her, which makes her so believable as the cockney upstart. Yet, she has enough of an incandescence about her, so as to make her believable in her transition from gutter to drawing room. Scott Sunderland is wonderful as Col. Pickering, the buffer between Henry and Eliza. Marie Lohr is excellent as Mrs. Higgins, Henry's exasperated mother. The scene in which Eliza has tea with Henry's unsuspecting mother and her guests is one of the funniest on the silver screen. Look also to a wonderful, comedic foray by Wildred Lawson, as Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle.
All in all, this is a film that has withstood the test of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PYGMALION IS WON OVER BY HIS GALATEA... May 26 2002
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:VHS Tape
This superlative, award winning film adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's play is as delightful today as when it was first filmed, nearly sixty five years ago. This ageless story, based upon greek mythology in which an ivory statue of a maiden, Galatea, is brought to life by the prayers of its sculptor, Pygmalion, features a professor of linguistics, Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard), who takes a cockney flower seller, Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller), and bets that, within a matter of six months, he can turn her into a lady who can pass in high society without betraying her lowly origins.
Leslie Howard, wonderful in the role, is the quintessential Henry Higgins, playing him as an arrogant, aristocratic misogynist whose own mother (Marie Lohr) barely finds him tolerable. Henry makes his bet about his prospective success with Eliza with his friend, the kindly Col. George Pickering (Scott Sunderland), a wealthy gentleman who bankrolls the costs of Eliza's transformation from guttersnipe to royal pretender.
Wendy Hiller is perfectly cast in the role of Eliza, having a certain earthiness about her, which makes her so believable as the cockney upstart. Yet, she has enough of an incandescence about her, so as to make her believable in her transition from gutter to drawing room. Scott Sunderland is wonderful as Col. Pickering, the buffer between Henry and Eliza. Marie Lohr is excellent as Mrs. Higgins, Henry's exasperated mother. The scene in which Eliza has tea with Henry's unsuspecting mother and her guests is one of the funniest on the silver screen. Look also to a wonderful, comedic foray by Wildred Lawson, as Eliza's father, Alfred Doolittle.
All in all, this is a film that has withstood the test of time.
Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best production of 'Pygmalion' (and perhaps Shaw) I've seen
A pretty wonderful film of the great George Bernard Shaw play.

Both Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller are terrific in the leads, and this
production brings out both... Read more
Published on June 13 2011 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars A true British classic
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.
This film is based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. Read more
Published on June 1 2004 by Ted
5.0 out of 5 stars The most intelligent british comedy in the thirties
The smart script from Bernard Shaw made it possible this monumental film. The myth of Pygmalion was translated to cinema with a dazzling direction and obviously one supeb cast ;... Read more
Published on May 25 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars George Bernard Shaw, ingeniously...
George Bernard Shaw was simply ingenious when he wrote Pygmalion, and when the story was brought to the silver screen it did Shaw justice. Read more
Published on Jan. 17 2004 by Kim Anehall
5.0 out of 5 stars Odd combination "Angel on My Shoulder/Pygmalion"
Angle
Eddie was rightfully bumped off by gangsters. You know where he goes. "Nick" (Claude Rains), offers a choice position in exchange for a favor. Read more
Published on Dec 30 2003 by bernie
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent screen adaptation
Windy Hiller [Major Barbara (1941) ASIN: 6302969840] Plays a Cockney flower seller. Seeking a better position sees professor of linguistics about improving her speech. Read more
Published on July 14 2003 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Shaw's classic play brought alive for the first time
Those of us brought up on Rex Harrison will find Leslie Howard's Professor Higgins rather hard to swallow. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2002 by www.DavidLRattigan.com
4.0 out of 5 stars A great film that begs for restoration
I have loved this film for years, but why hasn't anyone begun the task of restoring this fine, old flick? Leslie Howard is great as Dr. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2002 by sherebiah
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! It has stood the test of time -- and triumphed!
It started out as a play by George Bernard Shaw based on the Greek myth of a man who created a statue and then fell in love with it. Read more
Published on Jan. 9 2002 by Linda Linguvic
4.0 out of 5 stars My Fair Lady without the music.
You already know the story. However to make this independent review Windy Hiller [Major Barbara (1941) ASIN: 6302969840] Plays a Cockney flower seller. Read more
Published on July 27 2001 by bernie
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