Many people compare an English literary work to different movies of their time. An example of this is Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw. A story about a woman transformed into a spectacular beauty pushed into royalty, but never loses her identity, is very similar to a movie directed by Don Bluth called Anastasia. Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion and Don Bluth’s movie Anastasia, show that one can change a person’s appearance, but the person deep within has never left the surface. The two have a large array of similarities and differences. What is also fascinating is that the background of both the English writer and director are very similar in how they began. I will compare both movie work and literary work of two exceptional people.
Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin on July 26, 1856. He was essentially shy, yet created the persona of G.B.S. The showman, controversialist, satirist, critic, pundit, wit, intellectual buffoon and dramatist (http://www.sites.netscape.net/bernardshawinfo) . Shaw grew up in a family with a drunken father, whom worked in a corn mill, a mother whom left home when he was fourteen. Bernard never went to school past the age of fourteen. After his mother left his father had gotten worse (http://www.spartacus.schoonet.co.uk/jshaw.htm) . So he embarked on a journey to London in 1876, where he would become an active Socialist and a brilliant platform speaker. His heart was in writing and seven years later he wrote five unsuccessful novels. He was successful with his journalism; he contributed Pall Mall Gazette (http://www.sites.netscape.net/bernardshawinfo). One of the many people that influenced him in his newspaper career was William Stead. Shaw attended a lecture on nationalization that was given by Henry George, which had a profound effect on his ideas of socialism. In the year of 1884 he joined the Fabian Society and in 1885 the Socialist League. Bernard gave a lecture on socialism on November 13th which would result in the Bloody Sunday Riot.
Shaw was considered one of the best writers of his time. He wrote many plays such as Arms and the Man (1984), Satirizing romantic attitudes toward love and war. In 1897 The Devil’s Disciple, a play on the American Revolution, was produced with great success in New York City (http://www.sites.netscape.net/bernardshawinfo). He also wrote a play known as Pygmalion, which satirizes the English class system through the story of a cockney girl’s transformation into a lady at the hands of a speech professor. The movie My Fair Lady was produced to amplify what Pygmalion was all about. Of Shaw’s later plays, Saint Joan (1923) is the most memorable; it argues that Joan of Arc, had to be killed because the world was not yet ready for her. Among Shaw’s other plays are John Bull’s Other Island (1940), The Doctor’s Dilemma, Fanny’s First Play, Back to Methuselah, The Apple Cart, Too True to Be Good, and The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism (http://www.spartacus.schoonet.co.uk/jshaw.htm).
Bernard conducted a strong attack on the London Theatre and was closely associated with the intellectual revival of British theatre. His many plays fall into several categories: Plays pleasant, Unpleasant Comedies, chronic- plays metabiological Pentateuch.
Don Bluth was born into a family of seven children in El Paso, Texas. After watching Snow white and the Seven Dwarfs he found his calling. From the age of six he could always be found drawing (http://www.movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc;id=180001539;cf=bios) . His family moved to Santa Monica, California, and upon graduation from high school he took his drawings to Walt Disney studios in Burbank. He accepted a position as an in betweener. He worked with Disney from 1955 through 1956 on the classic motion picture ?Sleeping Beauty?. He continued his education at Brigham Young University, studying English literature.
In 1977, he returned to Disney Animation Department as an Animator. He was promoted within two years to Directing Animator and to Producer/ Director the following year. From 1971 to 1979 he worked on ? Robin Hood?, ? Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too?, ?The Rescuers? and the ?Small One? (http://www.movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc;id=180001539;cf=bios) . He has created many prestigious animated films and laser disc video games.
He was usually known for his animated movies that showed fun, laughter, togetherness, and teamwork. He is known to a lot of animators as an inspiration to their writing style and their joy for the job. Don was overly attached and dedicated to his work, and loved every bit of his day to day life (http://www.movies.yahoo.com/shop?d=hc;id=180001539;cf=bios).
Pygmalion, a play written by Bernard Shaw tells the story of rags to riches. It begins with a young flower girl that is poor and she sells flowers to get by. A man that thinks she is repulsive approaches her. He bets a general that he would be able to change this despiteful young flower girl into a beautiful duchess. She goes to him to learn how to speak respectfully and etiquette. He decides not only will he help her but he will also change her into a duchess to fool the high society. She attends balls and parties to win over the rich that are present. Eliza doesn’t feel right about what she has done, but it is to late. She has fallen in love with the speech therapist and is overwhelmed with the life style that was given and created for her. She feels that the feeling that once made her whole is no longer there, she feels that she is no longer Eliza Doolittle but someone he has created. He doesn’t want her to go because he loves her, but she doesn’t feel that he really loves her. Unlike most stories this one did not end happily ever after.
The movie Anastasia begins in a castle in London, where soldiers are attacking it. Anastasia is a young girl that is the duchess of London, she is shown away out of the castle along with her great aunt. As they pass through the passageways they are separated. A little boy placed her on a train to Russia. While on the ride she hit her head and got amnesia. Six years later while selling flowers she was approached by a young man, that asked her to pretend she was the duchess of London. If they could pull it off they could receive a large sum of money and she could live the high life. The queen, whom was her aunt, was giving a ball in search of her lost niece. So they attended, and were sent away because the queen was tired of being insulted by all of the people trying to fool her. Later on that night, they crept into her bedroom and demanded she see them. After talking to Anastasia for a while she realized she was the niece that she had lost so long ago. And they lived happily ever after.
Bernard Shaw and Don Bluth are very similar to one another. These two men have many of things in common, at a young age both had found their calling. They had decided they would take jobs under big companies to advance their careers. Bluth and Shaw both wanted to revolutionize their fields of choice. They wanted to see play writting and animation in a new light. Like Bluth, Shaw had written and produced some of the top plays and movies.
Pygmalion and Anastasia have a lot of similarities. The stories are both based on two women that are turned from rags to riches. At the beginning of both stories, you are told that they sold flowers for a living. Both had dreams of making it big by having their own flower shops. The men that transformed them into duchess, in the end would soon become the love of their lives. They felt guilty for pretending they were something that they were not. They felt that they had lost their identity and wanted to go back to normal.
Bluth and Shaw are not all together alike. They grew up in different parts of the world, with different family backgrounds. Shaw had a drunken father and a mother whom abandoned him. Bluth was born into a family of seven with no major problems. Bluth was given a chance at education, while Shaw left school at the age of fourteen. Their careers were different in the sense of the time they lived. Shaw in the 1800’s to the middle 1900s and Bluth from the middle 1900’s until now. One life ended so another could begin.
Even though Pygmalion and Anastasia have similarities, they also have differences. Some of these differences are the settings, one in London and the other in Russia. In Anastasia, Anastasia starts out as a duchess, and is hit over the head and comes up with amnesia. She is then found and transformed back to her duchess state, while Eliza was from the beginning poor. While Anastasia was pushed into poverty because of her lose of memory. Named were some of the differences between Pygmalion and the movie Anastasia.
Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion and Don Bluth’s Anastasia exhibit that a person’s appearance can be changed but they never lose their identity. Comparing a movie work to a literary work was very inspirational and interesting. Hopefully people will be able to except a person for whom they are, and not try to change their inner beings. Our individuality is what makes us, us.