After viewing the 1938 film, Pygmalion, directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard, I had a different perspective on the story originally in George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play. I did not like the fact that Henry Higgins (played by Leslie Howard) had the career to "change people." I think that Eliza (depicted by Wendy Hiller) was a much nicer person before she changed into an elegant woman. She seems to have more confidence in herself at the beginning. When she passes the flower stand that she used to work at, she had a look of sadness in her eyes.
Professor Higgins is very hard on Eliza. He keeps her up all night working on her speech. She is worn out and tired, but he still keeps trying to change her. While I was reading the book, I did not see the attraction they had for one another. I was noticing how hard Higgins was working to modify Eliza and her appearance. Higgins reminds me of the wicked stepmother in Cinderella. He is always keeping her busy. He will not allow her be herself and like the person who she really is.
I was happy when Eliza got up the strength to leave. When I saw her walk back in the door in the movies Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, as played by Audrey Hepburn, directed by George Cukor and produced by Jack Warner in 1964, I wanted to scream. Higgins knew what he had lost when she left. I began to feel sorry for him but then remembered that he would not have fallen for her if she were still a flower girl. If she decided to change back to her normal self, would he love her then? He would be embarrassed to be seen with her. But that is who Eliza is inside. She was born a flower girl and will always be a flower girl. She does not even sound right when she is talking in an elegant manner. She stresses her words too much.
If it were my movie, I would have Eliza leave Higgins for good, as she does in Shaw's play. She deserves better than a man who goes around trying to change people. Higgins should love her for who she used to be and still wants to be deep down in her heart. Eliza will find someone who loves her. She will live happily ever after selling flowers on the corner of streets. When Higgins comes around, she will ignore him and kindly say, "How doooo you doooo?" in the way that he taught her not to.