In August 1939, Shaw completed what Dan H. Laurence describes as "one of his most significant revisions" in the form of a new ending to the stage edition of Pygmalion.1 This marked the first occasion on which Shaw had modified the published version of the play since its appearance in book form twenty-three years earlier. In this new edition--henceforth referred to as the 1939 version--the play no longer ends with Higgins confidently declaring that Eliza will do his shopping for him, but instead with the former declaring to his mother that Eliza will marry Freddy. Shaw's decision to revise his text suggests that he was anxious to refute the popular misconception that he had either written or authorized the final scene of the British film version of Pygmalion, which had been released the previous year. In defiance of Shaw's screenplay, which concludes with an amused Higgins envisioning Eliza's future married life with Freddy, the 1938 Pygmalion film--like the German (1935) and Dutch (1937) screen adaptations that preceded it--had ended with Eliza returning to Higgins. Presumably concerned that this implicitly romantic resolution might influence future stage interpretations of his play, Shaw acted in haste, and, for good measure, instructed
SHAW The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies – Penn State University Press
Published: Sep 11, 2011
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