|Wendy Hiller and Leslie Howard in Pygmalion|
Eliza Doolittle: Wendy Hiller
Alfred Doolittle: Wilfrid Lawson
Mrs. Higgins: Marie Lohr
Director: Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard
Screenplay: George Bernard Shaw, W.P. Lipscomb, Cecil Lewis
Based on a play by George Bernard Shaw
Cinematography: Harry Stradling Sr.
Art direction: John Bryan
Film editing: David Lean
Music: Arthur Honegger
The perfect antidote for those who think Rex Harrison is the only Henry Higgins, as well as for those, like me, who usually find Leslie Howard a bland and uninteresting actor. He's wonderful in this film, and he's beautifully matched by Wendy Hiller as Eliza. Unlike other Elizas one has seen, Hiller does the flower girl Eliza without coyness or the sense that she has been coached to speak cockney as thoroughly as Eliza is coached by Higgins to speak "proper." It does seem to me that the cockney dialect in the film has been smoothed out a bit more than necessary -- even more than in My Fair Lady (George Cukor, 1964) -- for the sake of American audiences. I'm also struck by the fact that the word "damn" remains so prominent in Pygmalion when it caused such a flap with the censors only a year later in Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939), and that the reference to the fact that Alfred Doolittle never married Eliza's mother wasn't removed. Did the Production Code administration not have to approve this import?