There was so much Criterion stuff I missed the Eclipse set, Eclipse Series 20: George Bernard Shaw on Film:
The hugely influential Nobel Prize–winning critic and playwright George Bernard Shaw was notoriously reluctant to allow his writing to be adapted for the cinema. Yet thanks to the persistence of Hungarian producer Gabriel Pascal, Shaw finally agreed to collaborate on a series of screen versions of his witty, social-minded plays, starting with the Oscar-winning Pygmalion. The three other films that resulted from this famed alliance, Major Barbara, Caesar and Cleopatra, and Androcles and the Lion, long overshadowed by the sensation of Pygmalion, are gathered here for the first time on DVD. These clever, handsomely mounted entertainments star such luminaries of the big screen as Vivien Leigh, Claude Rains, Wendy Hiller, and Rex Harrison.
Filmed in London in 1941 during the Blitz bombing, Major Barbara emerged from a troubled production to become a major success for George Bernard Shaw and producer-director Gabriel Pascal. _Pygmalion_’s Wendy Hiller returns, this time as one of Shaw’s most memorable, controversial characters, Barbara Underschaft, a Salvation Army officer who speaks out against the hypocrisy she believes exists in her Christian charity organization. Rex Harrison, Robert Newton, and Deborah Kerr co-star in this playfully satirical morality play.
Caesar and Cleopatra
Vivien Leigh and Claude Rains pop off the screen in vivid Technicolor in Gabriel Pascal’s adaptation of Shaw’s 1901 play about love and politics in ancient Rome and Egypt. At the time the most expensive British film ever produced (complete with real imported Egyptian sand), Caesar and Cleopatra is a lavish epic, featuring a screenplay adapted by Shaw himself and mesmerizing performances by its two stars.
Androcles and the Lion
George Bernard Shaw’s breezy, delightful dramatization of the classic fable—about a Christian captive saved from death at the Colosseum because of his kind act of pulling a thorn from a lion’s paw—was written as a meditation on modern Christian values. And Pascal’s final Shaw production plays it broadly, casting comic character actor Alan Young as the titular naïf; he’s given able support by Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Robert Newton, and Elsa Lanchester.
"The most dementing of all modern sins: the inability to distinquish excellence from success."-David Hare