Pygmalion: A Classy Romantic Cinematic Comedy

         Pygmalion , written in 1913 by George Bernard Shaw, was a play that I struggled through when reading. I found the characters dull and the plot slow. I came into class expecting a real snooze fest from the film, directed in 1938 by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard. What I found instead was a humorous and extremely entertaining film. I hardly blinked, and my face rarely was without a smile throughout this film.

         Wendy Hiller did an extraordinary job portraying Eliza. Even when she came across as the poor flower girl in the gutter at the beginning of the film I immediately fell in love with her charm and beauty. I actually prefer the cuteness of her as a draggle-tailed gutter-snipe than the sophisticated princess, but that is neither here nor there. The point is she made the film interesting for me.

         Leslie Howard was equally intriguing and did an incredible job portraying the character of Henry Higgins. I wanted to hate him throughout most of the movie, but I could not help but laugh at every sarcastic and horribly mean comment that he made. The man was incredibly rude, but I could not help but appreciate the truthfulness of his statements.

         Henry Higgins was a man who used his tongue as a sword and held no regrets afterwards until Eliza came along. Henry treated everyone with the same uncaring rudeness. He treats Eliza no differently but for some reason when he saw that he had hurt Eliza and she was actually going to leave him, it hurt him and he finds that he cannot live without her.

         This story is a perfect example of a romantic comedy and is much funnier, more interesting, and infinitely classier than any romantic comedy of today's generation. I would recommend this film to any and everyone who enjoys romantic comedies. However, I would give each of them the forewarning that if they have only been watching the latest romantic comedies then they probably do not have a clue what a romantic comedy is actually all about.

Curt Stewart

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