No, this isn't MY FAIR LADY, this is Shaw's original play, boasting a screenplay by GBS, to boot. Strong stuff.
To begin with, you can't help but compare the musical with this much older version. And to begin with, you miss the songs. But then the spell of this atmospheric and grainy London tale of a ladette-turned-lady quickly grips you.
And it is frequently hilarious, which the musical simply ain't: the tea-party scene can surely never be beaten.
In many ways I prefer this 1938 black and white masterpiece. It's a bitter-sweet romantic drama. And it's got everything - fabulous one-liners, a galaxy of stars (many of whom are now all but forgotten - but when you see them, you realise why they were stars) and a sense of atmosphere that for me is oddly lacking in the musical.
I also prefer Howard's Professor Higgins. It's less obvious than Rex Harrison's version, and has a slightly dark side ... Wendy Hiller is a delight from start to finish, and as her dustman father, Wilfrid Lawson is definitive.
If you haven't got this on DVD - get it. Get MY FAIR LADY, too, and enjoy both of them. They are both works of genius, and so very different from each other.