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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
For many years it was believed that one of the credits read "Additional Dialogue by Sam Taylor", but the actual credit reads "Adapted and Directed by Sam Taylor". See more »
Ha, ha, ha! There's a Wife. Come on, and kiss me, Kate!... Drink!
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After many years out of circulation, the film was re-released in 1966 in a new cut supervised by Mary Pickford herself. New sound effects were added throughout, much of the voice dubbing was enhanced with newly available technology, and seven minutes were cut from the initial print. This re-released version is the only version now available on DVD or VHS. See more »
By 1929 the fabled marriage of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford was foundering on the rocks, but a last ditch effort to save it was to do a joint project, the only one of their career. It would be released by United Artists the company that they and Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith had founded.
I noted that Mary Pickford was the producer of the film and as such she awarded herself first billing. Why Fairbanks did not do something more along his line is a mystery. But in choosing The Taming Of The Shrew, the subtleties of the Bard eluded them both.
As the tamer Petruchio, Fairbanks is way beyond his depth, but I will say that he does bellow through the part with some conviction. He also handles a whip with the skill of Lash LaRue.
But poor Mary is absolutely lost. Her appeal was always innocence personified on the screen. She could be rebellious when called upon like in The Hoodlum, but that's a far cry from Kate the shrew. When rebelling Mary still looks like she's hoping Daddy will rescue her.
The film did make money, a lot of people paid to see Fairbanks talk on screen, Mary had actually won an Oscar for her sound film debut in Coquette. But this version of Shakespeare, edited down considerably by director/writer Sam Taylor, has not worn well through the ages. I'd really recommend seeing that other fabled couple of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor do their's.
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