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While the British film industry tumbled into one of the more serious of its periodic crises, an unlikely bunch of radicals and adventurers set out to breathe life into GBS's pre-First World War excursion into language and materialism. They produced a very radical - if still very male - film. Unlike the later My Fair Lady, the stress here is on Higgins' creation of a princess from 'a heap of stuffed cabbage leaves'. There is no Cinderella story: Eliza's transformation is forced and painful, and Higgins' final 'Where the devil are my slippers?' a refusal to forget, sentimentally, the enduring reality of patriarchy. Above all, the film is remarkable in that it strengthens rather than dilutes Shaw's insistence on language as the vital instrument of power and oppression.

Release details

Duration: 96 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard
Screenwriter: George Bernard Shaw, WP Lipscomb, Cecil Lewis, Ian Dalrymple
Cast: Leslie Howard
Wendy Hiller
Wilfrid Lawson
Marie Lohr
Scott Sunderland
Jean Cadell
David Tree
Everley Gregg
Esmé Percy
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