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Baptista, a rich Paduan merchant, announces that his fair young daughter, Bianca, will remain unwed until her older sister, Katharina, a hellish shrew, has wed. Lucentio, a student and the son of a wealthy Pisan merchant, has fallen in love with Bianca. He poses as a tutor of music and poetry to gain entrance to the Baptista household and to be near Bianca. Meanwhile, Petruchio, a fortune-hunting scoundrel from Verona, arrives in Padua, hoping to capture a wealthy wife. Hortensio, another suitor of Bianca, directs Petruchio's attention to Katharina. When Hortensio warns him about Katharina's scolding tongue and fiery temper, Petruchio is challenged and resolves to capture her love. Hortensio and another suitor of Bianca, Gremio, agree to cover Petruchio's costs as he pursues Katharina. Written by
This is Burton and Taylor's best film together. It is full of color and fun, and some very fine comedy. All of the actors are brilliant in it. It's a big, romping chase of a movie, and when you hear Petruchio's deep chuckle, it makes you laugh, too.
It's based on the bare bones of Shakespeare's play about Baptista, a rich man with two unmarried daughters. The older daughter is so nasty that no one can stand her long enough to marry her, and everyone in town wants to marry the younger daughter but can't till the older is married off. A bad-mannered fortune hunter shows up and agrees to take the older daughter off the father's hands for a steep price. After the marriage, Petruchio sets about breaking the pride of Kate, and eventually he wears her down, but she works her own magic on him, and in the end they both find that they love each other.
Richard Burton should have won the Oscar for this role; he IS Petruchio. It's a national disgrace that he didn't get it. And Liz is really good as Kate. She makes us believe that she is a horrible shrew, and when her soft side emerges she makes us believe that she could have been sweet all along.
If you can find this film at all, try to watch it in it's letterbox version. You miss far too much of the action in the pan and scan format. It's shown on cable quite a bit, but mostly on the pay channels.
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