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Kiss Me Kate (1953)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 26 November 1953 (USA)
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.


George Sidney


Dorothy Kingsley (screenplay), Sam Spewack (book) (as Samuel Spewack) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathryn Grayson ... Lilli Vanessi 'Katherine'
Howard Keel ... Fred Graham 'Petruchio'
Ann Miller ... Lois Lane 'Bianca'
Keenan Wynn ... Lippy
Bobby Van ... 'Gremio'
Tommy Rall ... Bill Calhoun 'Lucentio'
James Whitmore ... Slug
Kurt Kasznar ... 'Baptista'
Bob Fosse ... 'Hortensio'
Ron Randell ... Cole Porter
Willard Parker ... Tex Callaway
Dave O'Brien ... Ralph
Claud Allister ... Paul
Ann Codee ... Suzanne
Carol Haney ... Specialty Dancer


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 <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Great Big M-G-M Musical in COLOR! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





English | French | Italian

Release Date:

26 November 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bésame, Catalina See more »


Box Office


$1,981,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Stereo (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (Ansco Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Several of the Broadway lyrics were considered too "spicy" for a film. For instance, "according to the Kinsey Report" (Alfred Kinsey) was changed to "according to the latest report" in the song, "Too Darn Hot", and a verse containing bawdy puns was omitted from "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" (William Shakespeare). See more »


In the performance of KISS ME, KATE, the women wear high heeled shoes as part of their costumes. Women of the Middle Ages did not wear shoes with heels; instead they wore slippers. See more »


Lilli Vanessi: You louse!
See more »

Alternate Versions

Released both in 3-D and "regular" versions. See more »


Featured in That's Dancing! (1985) See more »


Were Thine That Special Face
Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Sung by Howard Keel
See more »

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User Reviews

Nearly a Legend; Great and Beloved Production by All Concerned; From MGM
18 June 2005 | by silverscreen888See all my reviews

"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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