In sixteenth century Padua, Hortensio loves Bianca, the youngest daughter of Baptista. But Baptista will not allow the two to get married until his eldest daughter, the extremely headstrong... See full summary »
In sixteenth century Padua, Hortensio loves Bianca, the youngest daughter of Baptista. But Baptista will not allow the two to get married until his eldest daughter, the extremely headstrong Katherine, is betrothed. This task seems impossible because of Katherine's shrewish demeanor. They believe their prayers have been answered with the arrival from Verona of the lusty Petruchio, whose father has just passed, leaving him to travel the world and marry. Having not yet met her, Petruchio agrees to court Katherine when he is told of her beauty and wit. Petruchio is even more excited at the prospect of marrying this wildcat of a woman after meeting her. Katherine will have none of it, even if it means her sister's spinsterhood, but has no choice but to marry him. Beyond the fact of the marriage itself, Katherine is even more irked by Petruchio's less than conventional behavior at the ceremony and post ceremony bridal feast. Each starts to play what they consider sly games of oneupsmanship ... Written by
Douglas Fairbanks' and Mary Pickford's marriage had deteriorated so badly by the time they made this film that many onlookers said that Fairbanks exaggerated Petruchio's harsh treatment towards Katharina in order to take out his own frustrations on Pickford. See more »
This early sound movie blows a hole in the theory that all sound films from this era were static, clumsy affairs due to the camera being imprisoned in a soundproof booth to avoid the sound of its machinery registering on the microphones. The camera is very fluid in this otherwise ordinary adaptation of Shakespeare's play.
Hollywood royalty Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford star as Kate and Petruchio, the warring couple who really love each other on the sly. Their marriage was a sham by the time this flick came out, and both their careers were on the wane, but they give reasonable enough performances, even though Fairbanks looks a few years too old for his part when the camera gets close. There's still a tendency to exaggerate their gestures and overact to responses to words being spoken, but they're no worse than any other stars making their first sound films.
It's clear that Hollywood back then had no more confidence in the intelligence of its audience than it does today: this is Shakespeare for the common man, with the pith of the Bard's prose removed in order to make the words readily understandable to all. Although the film is little more than an hour long, it does begin to drag during the last twenty minutes but, that aside, it's not a bad effort.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?