A Harmless Bet

         It is human nature for people at one point in their life to develop the need to prove themselves. However, most times a person does not think of what might happen if it pursuit affects another person. It is this very situation which is addressed in the 1938 film Pygmalion, directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard and based on George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play. Another film I know of is based upon this situation. Although filmed sixty-one years later, the movie I speak of is She's All That, directed by Robert Iscove.

         The plot and the type of characters are almost identical, considering the year each was made. Both men who are involved in the bet are upper class and considered snobby. In addition, each of the girls is thought of as unworthy and unattractive. The fact that such similar movies are made so many years apart proves that people and society have not changed very much, if at all.

         The bet made in each film is similar due to the fact that the men are challenged to get the women to accomplish something nobody would expect them to do otherwise. Zack (Freddie Prince Jr.) in She's All That, has made a bet that he can get Laney Boggs (Rachel Lee Cook), to become prom queen. Likewise, Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard), in Pygmalion, has been challenged to change Eliza (Wendy Hiller), a Cockney flower girl, into a noble English speaking lady. Each film is like a Cinderella story.

         However, the same fate occurs for the men involved in the bet because they end up falling in love with the respective women they are trying to change. The women from both films have the same reaction when they find out the true intentions. Their first reaction is anger; however, once they realize the men were speaking truth, both come back in the end. I suppose these stories show how people from two different worlds can learn to bond if allowed to get to know each other. In both movies there is hurt, as well as success. A seemingly harmless bet can either hurt or change someone's view, depending on what is intended. Whatever the outcome, once individuals are changed, it is often difficult to resume their old ways.

Sharel Carter

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