Pygmalion

Critics Consensus

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94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 18

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,408

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Movie Info

When linguistics professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) boasts that he can pass off Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) as a princess with only six months' training, Colonel George Pickering (Scott Sunderland) takes him up on the bet. Eliza moves into Higgins's home and begins her rigorous training after the professor comes to a financial agreement with her dustman father, Alfred (Wilfrid Lawson). But the plucky young woman is not the only one undergoing a transformation.

Cast & Crew

Leslie Howard
Professor Henry Higgins
Wendy Hiller
Eliza Doolittle
Wilfrid Lawson
Alfred Doolittle
Marie Lohr
Mrs. Higgins
David Tree
Freddy Eynsford-Hill
Scott Sunderland
Colonel George Pickering
Jean Cadell
Mrs. Pearce
Everley Gregg
Mrs. Eynsford-Hill
Leueen MacGrath
Clara Eynsford Hill
Esme Percy
Count Aristid Karpathy
George Bernard Shaw
Writer (Scenario and Dialogue)
W.P. Lipscomb
Writer (Scenario)
Cecil Lewis
Writer (Scenario)
Arthur Honegger
Original Music
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Critic Reviews for Pygmalion

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (1)

  • Smartly produced, this makes an excellent job of transcribing George Bernard Shaw, retaining all the key lines and giving freshness to the theme.

    November 6, 2007 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A marvelous 1938 adaptation of the Shaw classic.

    November 6, 2007 | Full Review…
  • Above all, the film is remarkable in that it strengthens rather than dilutes Shaw's insistence on language as the vital instrument of power and oppression.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Pygmalion is good Shaw and a grand show.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Whatever the virtues of "My Fair Lady," it is "Pygmalion" that's aging well, a black and white jewel properly enshrined as a classic.

    April 4, 2020 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It is all brilliantly amusing and remarkably undated. And there is certainly no cause for complaint about the interpretation of the story and dialogue by the actors. It is flawless.

    February 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Pygmalion

  • May 07, 2016
    George Bernard Shaw was commissioned to write the screenplay to Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard's 1938 adaptation of his 1913 play "Pygmalion." A story so familiar to people as the basis of so many romantic comedies that have been updated and contemporarized, most notably as the musical "My Fair Lady" and more recently as the teenage comedies "She's all That" and "The Duff." Professor Higgins (Leslie Howard) spends his time around London listening to people talk writing their words down. He can pinpoint where a person comes from by their accent within two blocks. He meets Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) a flower girl with a heavy Cockney accent and crude behavior. Higgins makes the claim that he can pass her off as a Duchess in three months time. Colonel Pickering (Scott Sundersund) takes him up on this offer. Eliza soon comes to live in Higgin's house learning how to speak like a lady. The Greek mythology Pygmalion was a sculpter who fell in love with a statue he had carved who was then brought to life. Eliza is metaphorically "brought to life" and becomes Higgin's ideal woman. Wendy Hiller does a tremendous job with a marvelous Oscar winning script written by Shaw with new dialogue and scenes with help by W. P. Lipscomb and Cecil Lewis. Leslie Howard comes off arrogant and stuck-up, but he pulls it off extremely well. A wonderful film that was David Lean's first editing job.
    Joseph B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 17, 2014
    Fan of the English language? Fancy yourself as your local arbiter for the British vernacular? Well then this adaptation of Shaw's is just your ticket and man how she sparkles, with more wit per scene, per exchange, than a season's worth of 30 Rock. Howard blueprints Higgens for the generations but Hiller imbues Dolittle with such humanity as to shimmer like a jewel.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2014
    While most people will be familiar with the Our Fair Lady treatment of the sixties, this one has its charms as well...and it must succeed without a sugar coated soundtrack.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 12, 2011
    The great original adaptation of Shaw's satiric play, which would be remade as the classic musical My Fair Lady many years later in 1964. Clever and convincing, this version relies on a sharp, well-written dialogue and superb performances by Hiller and Howard.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer

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