Search - Pygmalion (1938) - Essential Art House on DVD

Pygmalion (1938) - Essential Art House
Pygmalion - Essential Art House
Actors: Wendy Hiller, Leslie Howard
Director: Anthony Asquith;Leslie Howard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
NR     2009     1hr 35min

George Bernard Shaw wrote the screenplay adaptation of his own beloved stage masterpiece about Professor Henry Higgins's wager to turn a low-class flower vendor into a 'proper lady' and won an Oscar for his efforts. Pygmal...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Wendy Hiller, Leslie Howard
Director: Anthony Asquith;Leslie Howard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 02/10/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1938
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1938
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 35min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Theater at its best
M. Brown | Seattle, WA USA | 09/13/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"After a lifetime of watching the musical and singing those great songs, I finally obtained the REAL story -- and what a treat! THIS is theater at its best. Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller play their parts with such excellence and class that the musical version seems like a rather overdone remake in comparison. No extravagant costumes or snazzy tunes are needed with acting of this high caliber. Truly a necessary addition to the collection of anyone who appreciates pure top notch theater."
Ending is the only drawback ...
Andrew Raker | PA | 03/22/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)

"While the acting in this film (especially Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard's) is excellent, I really disliked the altered ending. The ending is NOT Shaw's ending nor did Shaw approve of the ending. While I understood the themes Shaw was trying to convey throughout most of the film, the altered ending left me questioning, "What am I supposed to take away from this film? What am I supposed to learn?"

After a bit of research, I realized that having Eliza reunited with Higgins goes against the entire structure of the play. Higgins is not supposed to be rewarded. In his own epilogue to the play (written in 1941), Shaw clearly displays his disgust with the ending of this film adaptation. Higgins is NOT supposed to receive a happy ending because Higgins REFUSES to alter his behavior.

Because of the ending, I recommend the 1973 BBC adaptations, which follows Shaw's epilogue.

Even though the acting in the 1973 adaptation is quite inferior to the 1938 adaptation, I still believe the 1938 adaptation is worthy of 3 stars while this adaptation should receive no more than 2 stars. (I would have given this film adaptation 5 stars except for the ending, which is the same as the ending in "My Fair Lady", although it pre-dates the musical.)

However, this said, if you can accept the altered ending, by all means purchase this 1938 Leslie Howard adaptation."
Perfect film
AL | NJ | 05/17/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This a perfect film - perfect script, both leads are perfect, direction is perfect, I can go on and on... I loved the ending, of course, she should stay with Higgins. Eliza is the intelligent girl, remember, and what woman in her right mind would choose a dull and helpless Freddie (mediocrity itself) over a genius and success, as charming as Leslie Howard?! She is smart and brave, she won't be frightened by his manners, she'll learn how to deal with him. Has anybody noticed that at Higgins' mother reception, professor is the only one really interested in what Eliza is telling, not how she is telling it? They are true equals, and there is a great chemistry between them.
The quality of the DVD leaves a lot to wish for - some scenes haven't been digitally redone, no extras, no subtitles.

An excellent screen adaptation
bernie | Arlington, Texas | 11/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a screen adaptation of a George Bernard Shaw 1913 stage play based on Greek mythology. Shaw also scripted this movie adaptation.

Windy Hiller plays the part of Eliza Doolittle, a cockney flower seller.

Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) scholar in phonetics bets a colleague, Colonel Pickering (Scott Sunderland) that he can pass her off as a duchess in six months by adjusting her speech pattern to proper-English.

This is a classic story and played my major actors of their time and ours. Windy Hillier is also famous for her role in the "Major Barbara" (1941), many Pressburger and Powel movies, and even into today's era with "The Kingfisher" (1983) as Evelyn. Windy Hiller died 14 May 2003.

You will also enjoy the remake of this film as a musical "My Fair Lady" (1964)

This film is a must for your collection.