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
This version of the play was not based on Shakespeare's play directly but Richard Garrick's adaptation often produced under the title "Katherine and Petruchio," in which only about one-third of the original text was used. See more »
Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks star in this bowdlerized version the the Shakespeare play. This was Fairbanks' full talkie debit and Pickford's followup to her talkie debut in Coquette, which won her an Oscar. Hollywood legend has it that this film was a huge flop--not true. While not a resounding success, it did make money. It was the marriage between the 2 superstars that was flopping. Their careers were also nearing their end as well: Pickford was to make only 3 more films; Fairbanks made 4. What hurts The Taming of the Shrew most is that there are long silent sequences, sequences where director Sam Taylor allows the stars to mug at each other rather than talk. But when the stars talk, the film is fine. Both are good actors (stage trained), but I guess they just didn't trust the new medium of sound. Geoffrey Wardwell is a handsome Hortensio, and Edwin Maxwell is good the the father. But Dorothy Jordan as Bianca has like 2 words to say and is in hardly any scenes. Jordan is best remembered as Marie Dressler's "daughter" in Min and Bill. I'm sure the DVD version I saw is the re-release from 1966 that had new music added and some judicious cutting. There are several instances when actors are mouthing words, but nothing is heard. Nevertheless this is a charming film with 2 of the biggest stars of the era and wonderful sets. The opening scene of the city street is excellent. This is the second film I'm seen where Mary Pickford wields a whip. The other was The Pride of the Clan (1917).
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