George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) was born in Dublin on July 26th, his education was irregular, due to his dislike of any organised training. He moved to London as a young man (1876), where he established himself as a leading music and theatre critic and became a prominent member of the Fabian Society, for which he composed many pamphlets. He began his literary career as a novelist; as a fervent advocate of the new theatre of Ibsen he decided to write plays in order to illustrate his criticism of the English stage. His earliest dramas were called appropriately Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant (1898).
In 1921 he wrote Back to Methuselah and in the same period he worked on his work Saint Joan (1923), in which he rewrites the well-known story of the French maiden and extends it from the Middle Ages to the present. The Doctor’s Dilemma (1906), facetiously classified as a tragedy by Shaw, is really a comedy the humour of which is directed at the medical profession. Candida (1898), with social attitudes toward sex relations as objects of his satire and Pygmalion (1912), a witty study of phonetics as well as a clever treatment of middle-class morality and class distinction, proved some of Shaw’s greatest successes on the stage. It is a combination of the dramatic, the comic, and the social corrective that gives Shaw’s comedies their special flavour. Pygmalion was reinvented as My Fair Lady.
Pygmalion was first presented on stage to the public in 1913, its English-language premiere took place at Her Majesty’s Theatre in the West End in April 1914 and starred Herbert Beerbohm Tree as phonetics professor Henry Higgins and Mrs Patrick Campbell as Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle.
In 1938 Pygmalion, a British film was produced adapted by Shaw for the screen. It stars Leslie Howard as Professor Henry Higgins and Wendy Hiller as Eliza Doolittle.
My Fair Lady – the musical was a 1956 Broadway production and was a notable critical and popular success. It set a record for the longest run of any musical on Broadway up to that time. It was followed by a hit London production, a popular film version, and many revivals.
My Fair Lady the film was released in 1964, a musical comedy drama film adapted from the above stage musical staring Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle and Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, with Stanley Holloway, Gladys Cooper and Wilfrid Hyde-White in supporting roles. A critical and commercial success, it became the second highest-grossing film of 1964 and won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Director. In 1998, the American Film Institute named it the 91st greatest American film of all time. In 2006 it was ranked eighth in the AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals list.
and it’s one of my favourite movies of all time!