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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Pygmalion (1973)

A professor of phonetics (James Villiers) makes a wager with a fellow linguist (Ronald Fraser) that he can transform a Cockney guttersnipe (Lynn Redgrave) into a lady who could pass for a Duchess among high society. Directed by Cedric Messina and based on the classic play by George Bernard Shaw, perhaps best known as the source material for the musical MY FAIR LADY. A methodical if streamlined production of Shaw's play. In the 1938 film version, the ending was compromised much to the consternation of Shaw by the film's producer Gabriel Pascal, an ending kept for the musical version. A "happier" ending I suppose but I prefer the less sentimental ending of the original text as used here. In most productions, the roles of Higgins and Eliza are equal but Villiers makes for a rather weak Higgins which allows Redgrave's vital Eliza to take over. I've never much cared for the time expended on Alfred Dolittle (here played by Emrys James) in any version. The character seems to suck the life right out of play when he's on though most find him rather amusing. With Lally Bowers, Angela Baddeley and Nicholas Jones. 

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