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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
My least favourite Fairbanks film, but still not bad
The Taming of the Shrew is not one of Shakespeare's best plays, but its wit and charm still makes it enjoyable. And Douglas Fairbanks, one of the all-time great silent film stars is always worth watching. He has done much better films than this, which doesn't show off what he was best at, and the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton film is a better film but it is still worth a look and not too bad. The biggest flaw for me was Mary Pickford, who seemed out of her depth in a performance that was a mix of looking lost and overplayed mugging, she has her charms but she is nowhere near shrewish enough which is a crucial part to Katherine's character. She also doesn't have that much chemistry with Fairbanks, apparently they were having marital problems at the time and it shows. Occasionally the dialogue is a little awkward, the film drags a tad in the middle and Dorothy Jordan has next to nothing to do which is a real shame. Fairbanks however is surprisingly good, as aforementioned it is a role that doesn't show him play to his strengths but he is very funny and has a real sense of humour and great charisma. The supporting cast are also very good. The Taming of the Shrew(1929) is skilfully shot and the costumes and sets are beautiful. The music score is energetic and with shades of romanticism. The dialogue on the most part captures the wit and charm of Shakespeare's play very well, and while the story has like 20% resemblance it still feels cohesive and relatively easy to follow. There are a few lulls here and there but the film does move nicely and the direction is above serviceable, not great but far from a hack job. Overall, The Taming of the Shrew(1929) is my least favourite Douglas Fairbanks film but it is enjoyably light and charming and not a bad watch at all. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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