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  • 1.33:1 Standard
  • English Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 1 Disc
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Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Anthony Asquith, Leslie Howard
Starring: Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller, Wilfrid Lawson, Marie Lohr, Scott Sunderland, Jean Cadell, David Tree
1939 | 90 Minutes | Licensor: Valerie Pascal Delacorte and the Society of Authors representing George Bernard Shaw

Release Information
DVD | MSRP: $29.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #85 | Out of print
RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: September 19, 2000
Review Date: March 25, 2011

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Cranky Professor Henry Higgins (Leslie Howard) takes a bet that he can turn Cockney guttersnipe Eliza Doolittle (Wendy Hiller) into a "proper lady" in a mere six months in this delightful comedy of bad manners based on the play by George Bernard Shaw. This Academy Award-winning inspiration for Lerner and Loewe's My Fair Lady was directed by Anthony Asquith and star Howard, edited by David Lean, and scripted by Shaw himself. Criterion presents Pygmalion in a beautifully restored digital transfer.

Forum members rate this film 6.9/10


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Pygmalion, directed by Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard, receives probably one of the most unspectacular Criterion editions to ever come from the company, delivering the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 on this single-layer disc.

The transfer is bad and is one of those bizarre interlaced/progressive mixes that Criterion did frequently at the time of this discís release (I still have no clue why.) The first hour of the film is interlaced and is an absolute disaster, presenting a never ending collection of jagged edges, trailing, and ghosting. It looks horrendous and makes it hard to watch. But then, during the last half hour or so, the transfer goes progressive and while this does improve the image itís still not a treat: thereís still obvious compression artifacts and shimmering effects.

The film is mushy looking and really lacks in the way of sharpness and detail, and gray levels are flat, with weak black levels. In all it looks very bland.

Not that a good transfer would have made the image perfect. Unfortunately it doesnít look like much has been done in the way of restoration and the print is still laced with marks, stains, hairs, scratches, burns, and all sorts of other issues, which are constantly popping up. Certainly not one of Criterionís better efforts.


All DVD screen captures are presented in their original size from the source disc. Images have been compressed slightly to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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The mono track is open to improvement but it could be much worse (take that as faint praise.) Though itís edgy and hollow, dialogue is still easy to understand and the music has some decent range. Thereís some background noise, pops, and scratches, but it doesnít overly harm the presentation.



Not a single supplement is found on here. The only thing worth mentioning is the nice, short essay by David Ehrenstein contained in the insert.



A baffling release from Criterion and one Iím surprised wasnít simply released by Hve at the time. While I donít question the film being a part of the collection, it just seems bizarre that they really just slapped this one out there. The Criterion edition is actually now out-of-print and has been replaced by an Essential Art House edition which, to my understanding isnít an improvement, but is at least cheaper. A rather terrible edition.

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