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 »
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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
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 is actually a pretty good film, especially for an early talkie. The camera moves, and moves well - the action is very rarely static. And there are quite a few good laughs. But Mary really is bad - she looks superb, but her acting consists of a strange little sideways pout and much declamation. She is like an over-grown Shirley Temple. But the treat here is Fairbanks' Petruchio - which may be the best Petruchio I have seen on stage or film. His boundless energy and simmering sexuality make this film live - he would have made a great talkie actor if producers had had faith in him.
The film leaves little of Shakespeare's text in place, and all the other characters are reduced to nothing, but don't let that stop you enjoying it.
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