An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.
Fred and Lilly are a divorced pair of actors who are brought together by Cole Porter who has written a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew. Of course, the couple seem to act a great deal like the characters they play. A fight on the opening night threatens the production, as well as two thugs who have the mistaken idea that Fred owes their boss money and insist on staying next to him all night. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At the time he wrote this musical, far from being a healthy man, Cole Porter (played by Ron Randell in this movie) was a wheelchair-bound cripple who needed constant medical care. His legs had been crushed in a riding accident when a horse fell on him. See more »
Nearly a Legend; Great and Beloved Production by All Concerned; From MGM
"Kiss Me Kate"is a late musical by fine songwriter Cole Porter, and some of the lyrics are melancholic. But this is also his mature masterwork, presenting such standards as "Wunderbar", "Where is the Life That Late I Led" "Why Can't You Behave", "So in Love", "Brush Up Your Shakespeare", "I've Come to Wive it Wealthily in Padua", and "Kiss Me Kate". On Broadway the starring role has been played by Alfred Drake and Keith Andes; Howard Keel was a bit too young for the role of a seasoned Broadway star, and his admission was that he had not mastered the classical accent that later serve him in several roles from Kismet on. He is paired here with his tempestuous ex-wife, a role played on Broadway by Patricia Morison, here impersonated with intelligence but less verve than needed by Kathryn Grayson. Other stalwarts in the surprisingly small cast include Ron Randell as Porter, Anne Miller superb as the ingenue, Tommy Rall, a superb dancer, as her sneaky boy-friend, Kurt Kasznar, James Whitmore, Keenan Wynn, Bobby Van and Bob Fosse and others such as Dave O'Brien and Willard Parker who do very well. The production moves forward very smoothly, under the able direction by George Sidney; Walter Plunkett's costumes look very good, the blocking is far-above- average and the lighting and sound deserving of awards--since the talents who worked on the movie include Edwin Willis, Cedric Gibbons, Sydney Guilaroff, Willian Tuttle, composer Saul Chapin and Hermes Pan. There is one dance number choreographed by Fosse, featuring Carol Haney, that is a show stopper and seems delightfully out-of-key with the other numbers, as does Ann Miller's audition number "Too Darn Hot', equally compellingly done. The comedy in the film to my mind is among the best ever put on film, since it proceeds from the characters and their purposes and is never 'added' as business. The hilarious middle scenes of the play involve two comedic stagestruck gunsels, sent by the man to whom Keel owes money, because Rall has been gambling and has signed his name to an IOU to a gangster. The two not only sing the "Bresh Up Yer Shakespeare" number with New York accents, they dance, end up on stage in the production being premiered and all but steal the film. Watch for innovative presentations in several of the within-the-play songs, including "We Open Again in Venice" and Keel's big number, sung to his ex-girlfriends, "Where is the Life That Late I led". Adaptation of the screenplay was done by Bella and Sam Spewak with considerable skill. , and it is far livelier than most musicals throughout. All that prevents this movie from being nominated one of the best of all musicals of all time in my judgment are the leads, who should have been Andes and Morison and also some way of taking the filming outdoors at least twice. But thanks to all concerned, this is an artistic triumph, on nearly every level; and the play is now a staple of the U.S, theatrical repertoire thanks to the clever book, Porter's more-than-clever and well-integrated lyrics and the delightful melodies it presents so seamlessly.
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