When Love Comes Knocking at Your Street Corner

         While watching the 1938 film titled Pygmalion, derived from George Bernard Shaw's 1913 play, Pygmalion, I could not think about anything else but that it reminded me of the 1990 film Pretty Woman. Pretty Woman, directed by Garry Marshall, stars a young Julia Roberts as Vivian Ward, a hooker turned classy woman almost overnight. In the movie, Richard Gere plays Edward Lewis, an out-of-town businessman who asks Vivian for directions to his hotel. She tells him she would give him directions for $5 and guide him there for $10. He invites her up to his room and likes her spunk from the start.

         At the beginning of the week, Vivian is a slutty, dirty prostitute who talks with her mouth open. Throughout the movie, she is presented with nice clothes, etiquette lessons, and a chance to straighten herself up. During the week though, they have sex and fall in love.

         By the end of the week (the end of the movie), the two come to the realization that their time is coming to an end. Edward is a traveling businessman who makes no stops, and Vivian is a local girl who does not want to admit she has fallen for him. While on his way to the airport, Edward changes plans and tells the driver of his limo to take him to Vivian's apartment. He arrives with flowers, yelling for her to come down. A Romeo and Juliet window scene is portrayed; and Edward climbs up the fire stairs, even though he has an immense fear of heights. He asks Vivian what the girl does when the man rescues her, and she replies, "She rescues him right back."

         During the 1938 film Pygmalion Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) bets Colonial Pickering (Scott Sunderland) that he can turn the local Garden flower girl into a duchess. When Eliza Doolittle, played by Wendy Hiller, shows up on his doorstep the next morning, he is excited about doing his magic.

         Throughout the movie, a gradual change takes place. At first, the lessons are slow and steady, but by the end of the few months Eliza is a regular duchess. From the beginning of the bet, she dresses nicely, stays clean and well kept, and learns new manners on a daily basis.

         Naturally, you can see how easy it is to see the similarities between the two stories. Both Pygmalion and Pretty Woman make dreams come true for two women and even show two bachelors that there just might be someone out there for them.

Ryan Peabody

Table of Contents