George Bernard Shaw's 1913 Pygmalion is wonderfully transformed into two film versions. Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard turned the play into a film in 1938. George Cukor took the story and adapted it to the 1964 My Fair Lady, originally conceived as a musical in 1956 by Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe. Out of all the literary works we read and all the films we saw, this combination is the most impressive due to a creative story line, impressive characters, and great sets.
One cannot make a good film without a decent story line. This is one thing the directors of Pygmalion and My Fair Lady did not need to be concerned with. Shaw creatively found a way to make a classical fairy tale of an average girl becoming a princess and made it new again. The play is funny and light-hearted; but, at the same time, Shaw has a way of keeping his audience in suspense.
The characters and actors are also well-thought-out. Professor Higgins (Leslie Howard/Rex Harrison) is the character everyone loves to hate, while Eliza (Wendy Hiller/Audrey Hepburn) is the character everyone sympathizes with. There is a relief felt once one sees Eliza finally succeed and happiness when one sees that Eliza and Professor Higgins really cannot live without one another in the film versions.
The setting described in the play and depicted in both of the films is well-developed. The story takes one form the rainy streets of London to the embassy in London. The films' costumes and decorations make the setting realistic and enjoyable.
Both of the films depict the play in different ways, but neither does a poor job of it. Both are excellent, creative adaptations. I enjoyed every version of this wonderful story.