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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.

Director:

George Sidney

Writers:

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

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

MGM presents Hollywood's first important BIG MUSICAL in 3-D on our Panoramic Screen with MIRACLOUS STEREOPHONIC SOUND! COLOR, too! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | French | Italian

Release Date:

26 November 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kiss Me Kate See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Ansco Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Deanna Durbin had been MGM's first choice for the role of Lilli Vanessi, but despite a visit by producer Jack Cummings to Deanna's home near Paris, she could not be persuaded to emerge from retirement. Miss Durbin already had rejected the chance to portray Lili in London's West End, where the British production played 400 performances at the Coliseum Theatre, running from March 8, 1951 until February 23, 1952. Patricia Morison, Broadway's original Lilli, re-created the part in London. See more »

Goofs

At the time he wrote this musical, Cole Porter was a person with disabilities and a wheelchair user with serious ongoing medical issues. His legs had been crushed in a riding accident when a horse fell on him. See more »

Quotes

Lilli Vanessi: Do you really think *I* could play the shrew?
Fred Graham: You'd make a perfect shrew!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Version of The Taming of the Shrew (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

Wunderbar
Performed by Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ann Miller Deserved an Oscar
30 October 2005 | by drednmSee all my reviews

Total delight from start to finish, this witty, musical version of The Taming of the Shrew. This show within a show is bright and splashy and boasts terrific performances, songs, dancing, and costumes. Howard Keel plays the egotistic Fred Graham who us mounting this new musical with ex-wife Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson) as his leading lady. The battling couple mirrors the battling couple in the play. All very clever.

As good as Grayson and Keel as however, Ann Miller totally steals the show as Lois Lane, the brassy chorus girl Fred has given a part (the younger sister) in the play. Mills is fantastic as she sings and dances her way through some great numbers: It's Too Darn Hot, From This Moment On, Always True to You, and Tom, Dick or Harry. Her opening number of Too Darn Hot is astounding as she swirls and taps around Cole POrter's living room and across his table tops. The skin tight tassled red outfit is probably the sexiest outfit Miller ever wore and she looks great. She was always denied the starring roles in MGM musicals which is a shame. MGM preferred the more demure types like Grayson or Judy Garland, Jane Powell, Debbie Reynolds for starring roles and Miller always got stuck playing the flashy friend or other woman.

Also good in this great musical are Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore as the thugs who get to sing Brush Up Your Shakespeare. Bob Fosse, Bobby Van, and Tommy Rall are the three dancers. Carol Haney and Jeanne Coyne show up for the From This Moment On number with Miller and the Boys. Ann Codee is the maid, Claude Allister is the butler, Willard Parker is Tex, Dave O'Brien is the stage manager, Kurt Kaznar is the stage father, and Ron Randell plays Cole Porter.

Originally done in 3-D, Kiss Me Kate is shock full of great songs and some of the best lyrics ever heard. For those of us growing up in the 50s, most of the songs from this musical are familiar hits, including Wunderbar, From This Moment On, Always True to You, and So In Love.

Kiss Me Kate is a textbook musical that works on all levels. Keel and Grayson were never better, Miller is outstanding, Whitmore and Wynn are fun, and Tommy Rall gets a couple of dance numbers (My Can't You Behave) that prove him to be one of the best dancers of his generation. The short dance solo with Fosse and Haney also presages much of Fosse's later groundbreaking choreography.

Not a false step in this film, which ranks as one of the great musicals.


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