Pygmalion

 George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion being adapted into a film in 1938 directed by Anthony Asquith and starring Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller among others. The film stays true to the play, well almost. Professor Higgins (Leslie Howard) is a professor of phonetics & linguistics, and while wandering about in lowly Convent Garden, gets into a scrap with a flower girl Eliza Dolittle (Wendy Hiller). Just then Colonel Pickering comes by, he is an expert of linguistics and dialects himself and wants to meet Higgins, having returned from India. Pickering challenges Higgins to improve the flower girl in a few weeks. Eliza lands up on his doorstep the next morning to learn from him. Then follows the most exacting phase of her life while she tries to throw away her Welsh cockney accent and to adapt a proper British accent with pronunciation, grammar, manners, etiquette etc. Higgins accepts an invitation to an embassy reception with trepidation as to how Eliza would perform. It became his obsession and luckily Eliza goes through with flying colours. Higgins thinks he has won the battle but what has to become of Eliza, where will she go back now that she has become a proper lady, she won’t be able to go back to selling flowers. Higgins is unfortunately not able to make that connection.  Higgins comes across as a self centred egomaniac and for him every girl is like a subject to him, like his triumph. Wendy Hiller got nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. Superb acting by both Wendy Miller and Leslie Howard, both stayed true to script. 

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