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 »
The Faust legend retold (loosely) and applied to a mentally disturbed patient in a hospital run by a doctor of dubious sanity himself. The patient (Burton) offers the innocent orderly (... See full summary »
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
In the film, Katharina's angry line to Bianca "[tell] whom thou lovest best" (which Shakespeare actually wrote and which is grammatically correct) is changed to the grammatically incorrect "whom thou dost lovest best". In his review of the film, critic John Simon caught the error. See more »
This is a thoroughly enjoyable movie with a lot of faults but so much color and fast pace that you are not given enough time to pick it apart. The most unfortunate thing is the shrew's behavior. The original play doesn't give too much liberty to a character that is basically obnoxious the whole time with the exception of the end when she delivers a speech that has been highly criticized (feminists included). But the point of taking Shakespeare to the screen is to give another dimension to the characters, Liz Taylor should have been more subtle in handling the piece. She only has two types of attitude throughout the movie: eyes popping screamer and cat's eye slithering whisperer. Both extremes suit the character but it's hard to see so much of it.
The script is rather good, very faithful to the play but it doesn't mix with the sets. Zeffirelli didn't choose the correct play to handle with his exquisite taste for the sumptuous. In Hamlet he did a far better job with his operatic conception of the set but in this movie one feels that even cinemascope is a bit too much, first of all because there are too many indoor scenes to justify it. However, the movie looks good and it was a very important step forward in showing movie audiences that a Shakespeare movie can be fun and luxurious at the same time. Only for me it didn't work. And the music is also very good, I can't get that tune from my head but I think that something more in the line of Falstaff's "sing me a bawdy song, make me merry" would have been more appropriate. Nino Rotta is a fantastic composer but quite out of tune with what's on screen.
I think there are many resemblances between this movie and Branagh's Much Ado... I think Ken had a lot to learn from Zeffirelli and did it better. This is an enjoyable movie for Shakespeare fans and for fans of Lizzie and Rick as well as for anybody who likes good costumes and sets.
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