Watch Major Barbara
- 2 hr 1 min
Major Barbara is a 1941 film adaptation of the play of the same name by George Bernard Shaw. The film version, directed by Gabriel Pascal, stars Wendy Hiller in the title role, with Rex Harrison and Robert Morley in supporting roles. The movie is set in London in the early 1900s, and follows the story of Barbara Undershaft, a devoted and determined member of the Salvation Army. The Undershaft family has made their fortune in the armaments industry, and Barbara's father Andrew is the head of the family business. However, Barbara is determined to prove that she does not need her family's money, and devotes herself to helping the poor and downtrodden. When her father offers to make a donation to the Salvation Army, Barbara is conflicted. On one hand, she knows the money could be used to help many people in need. On the other hand, she does not want to accept money from an industry that profits from war and violence. At the same time, Barbara is courted by her colleague Bill Walker, who is eager to marry her and share in her passion for helping others. As the story unfolds, Barbara's beliefs are challenged in various ways. She becomes embroiled in a family feud between her father and his brother, the eccentric aristocrat and religious leader Barnabas Undershaft. Barbara also meets Adolphus Cusins, a scholar who shares her passion for social justice, and must decide whether to follow her heart or her conscience. The film is notable for its strong performances, particularly by Wendy Hiller as Barbara. Hiller brings a depth and complexity to the character, portraying her as both strong-willed and vulnerable. Rex Harrison is also excellent as the charming but morally ambiguous Andrew Undershaft. Robert Morley steals many of his scenes as Barnabas, providing comic relief and philosophical musings in equal measure. In addition to the performances, the film is notable for its production design and cinematography. The sets and costumes evoke the period setting effectively, and the black-and-white cinematography captures the grit and reality of the London streets. The film also features some impressive set pieces, notably a Salvation Army rally where Barbara gives an impassioned speech and an impressive sequence where the Undershaft factory is shown in operation. Overall, Major Barbara is a well-crafted and thought-provoking adaptation of Shaw's play. It raises important questions about the role of money and power in society, as well as the intersection of religion and social justice. The film is a testament to the enduring relevance of Shaw's work, as well as the talents of the cast and crew who brought it to life.