Pygmalion (1938)

Eliza Doolittle … Professor Henry Higgins … The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plains.

And no singing:

This is better than “My Fair Lady.” Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller in the 1938 comedy classic “Pygmalion.” Written by George Bernard Shaw.

Shaw, who died in 1950, is considered one of the greats in English literature and was closely involved in the production of “Pygmalion.” He won an Oscar for best writing and best screenplay. According to legend, his was so dismissive of the award, it ended up being used as a doorstop. Shaw is the only person to win a Nobel Prize for Literature as well as an Oscar (although Al Gore also has a Nobel Prize and and Oscar, but his Nobel is for Peace.)

Wendy Hiller was a regular in Shaw productions on stage and starred in the screen adaptation of his play “Major Barbara.” She had a long movie career, with her last film appearance in 1993.

Leslie Howard was a superstar of early 20th-century film. He had top billing over Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis in “The Petrified Forest.” In fact, he was the one who insisted Bogart get the role of Duke Mantee, the launch of another famous movie career. Leslie Howard had other major starring roles: in “Of Human Bondage” and, of course, Ashley Wilkes in “Gone With the Wind.” He died at the relatively young age of 50. Involved in Britain’s World War II film effort, he was killed when the passenger plane he was flying in was shot down by Nazi fighters over the Bay of Biscay.