My Fair Lady and Pygmalion: Connections and Contrasts
Through the years, countless film directors have adapted and recreated various novels and plays to make them ideal for the big-screen. In many cases, directors strive to keep their screenplay adaptations true to the original literature; however, viewers often find contrasts in certain areas of the film. George Bernard Shaw, author of the play Pygmalion, who had passed away prior to the production of My Fair Lady in 1964, therefore, he could not assist in the transition from play to musical. For this reason, director George Cukor has attempted to retain some similarities and also incorporate a few changes of his own. Although readers can discover numerous similarities between My Fair Lady and Pygmalion in certain aspects such as character interaction and the portrayal of social status, one can also detect several contradictions in the two plots, especially during the conclusion. Among the number of similarities readers will come across are the likenesses between the two works in character interaction. For example, in both the play and the film, Professor Henry Higgins has an overbearing paternal mentality regarding Eliza Doolittle. In accordance with the dialogue that Higgins speaks in the film regarding Eliza's filthy disposition, readers of Pygmalion discover practically the same words: "You know, Pickering, if you consider a shilling, not as a simple shilling, but as a percentage of this girl's income, it works out as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy guineas from a millionaire" (Shaw 21). In addition, in both the film and the play, Eliza and Colonel Pickering share a bond that stems from her vulnerability and his compassion. For the duration of her stay at 27A Wimpole Street, Eliza often seeks comfort in the sympathetic Colonel because without this ally, she knows that she will not survive the wrath of Henry Higgins. In Shaw's original version, readers can interpret Eliza's...
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