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The Taming of the Shrew

Elizabeth Taylor , Richard Burton , Franco Zeffirelli    VHS Tape
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Liz and Dick (a.k.a. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton) almost seemed to be importing the psychodramas of their marriage into this 1967 film (of course, the same was true of every film they made together). Adapted from Shakespeare's play and directed by Franco Zeffirelli (Romeo and Juliet) with his usual eye for sumptuousness, this version of Taming features a particularly boisterous, bawdy, fun performance by its stars. Composer Nino Rota--best known for scoring several of Fellini's best-known works--received a National Board of Reviews award for his vivid soundtrack. --Tom Keogh

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
For those of you who read my review on the play "The Taming of the Shrew," you know that I gave it 4 stars. This movie in no way falls short of the book. If anything, I would say that the movie gets an extra half star because it is here that Shakespeare's Literature meets Zeffirelli's phenomenal images. I think to appreciate this movie as much as possible, we should keep some things Isaac Asimov said in mind: (1. Kate is not simply a shrew. Shakespeare infers that Kate's character is the result of years of social rejection while her sister Bianca had anything she wished. Kate is so scarred that even love appears to be mockery to her. 2. Petruchio DOES NOT delight in his seemingly harsh actions. He feels sympathy for Kate and realizes that it may be the only way to help her. 3. Bianca is NOT a sweet helpless creature. If anything, she is somewhat of a spoiled brat. She is adored by several men; she has managed to monopolize her father's love; she has learned how to manipulate her father; and she delights in her sister's misery.) The movie itself is VERY WELL done. Burton and Taylor have a deep knowledge of the characters they are portraying. Just as Shakespeare's Lucentio is a love struck man who can't see the whole picture about Bianca, this is shown in the movie. One thing I must commend Zeffirelli on is how he is able to portray actions that Shakespeare mentions but does not have acted in the play. (Kate and Petruchio's wedding and Kate's fall into the mud are only mentioned in Shakespeare's play.) In their limited roles, Pedant and Vincentio are hilarious. (Pedant impersonates Vincentio and keeps Vincentio out of his son's house.) Overall, both the major and the secondary characters did an outstanding job. Zeffirelli not only gave us the story, but he added his phenomenal images to it. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars More Fun Than A Barrel Full Of Burtons June 18 2004
A rollicking feast for the eye, ear, and funny bone, Franco Zeffirelli's "The Taming of The Shrew" is a tour de force for Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. This pared down version of William Shakespeare's play is a fit morsel for anyone suffering from a fear of the Bard. It's fast pace keeps things going and with a cast of well-known British stars the whole thing is served up to delectable visual perfection.
Richard Burton blends his fabled abilities as a Shakespearian genius with his star power to give us a ribald and loveable Petruchio. This is one of his crowning moments on the screen and we are lucky to have this record of Mr. Burton at his very best.
Elizabeth Taylor is a comic revelation in this, one of her jewels in her acting crown. At the time the film came out, many scoffed at the idea of a mere movie star taking on the challenges of Shakespeare. Miss Taylor rises to the challenge and shines as a stunning, sexy and very funny Kate, in fact she more than rises to the occasion, she shows her command of the medium of film and her understanding of comic timing. The wedding scene is a pure Zeffirelli invention. If you didn't know better you would swear that it was part of the play, it is so well done in faux Shakespeare. Elizabeth shines in this scene. In the final fifteen minutes when she delivers the famous "Lord and Master" speech she is triumphant as she submits to her man. At the same time we know that she is the one who holds all the cards and in the off stage end will rule the roost from now on, all the while letting poor Petruchio think he is king.
The chemistry of Burton and Taylor is pure dynamite that explodes in riotous color across Zeffirelli's Renaissance canvas. Highly recommended viewing, especially if you are new to Shakespeare. It's more fun than a barrel full of Burtons!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Bawdy Bard ! April 5 2004
"The Taming of the Shrew" is a delightful romp, and very entertaining, even for people who do not normally go out of their way to watch Shakespeare. I can imagine serious scholars rolling their eyes at the liberties taken here, and the "star turns" by those two icons of 60s Hollywood, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
However, for most of us who basically just want to be entertained--and I suspect with this play, that was the bard's intent--this version is good fun, robustly acted, and with lovely sets and costumes, a feast for the eye. One suspects that Ms. Taylor had a ball, hurling insults and various pieces of furniture at her real-life, on-again off-again, spouse. It looks like Mr. Burton had a good time too, although one frequently has the impression that this was a "well-lubricated" performance !
The supporting cast is fine, with a pleasant film debut for Michael York. As usual, Zeffirelli gives us a film that is gorgeous to look at--and I'm not just referring to Ms. Taylor !
The DVD has a certain haziness to it, but this may be the way that Zeffirelli intended the film to look.
"The Taming of the Shrew" today, of course, is about as "politically incorrect" as a piece of literature can be. While women will find this film amusing, the idea that the female spirit should be "reined in" like that of a wild horse, will cause some discomfort to feminist viewers, I'm sure.
Nevertheless, this film is highly entertaining, and might give younger viewers an idea as to what all the Taylor/Burton fuss was about. Recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... years & years ago - wanted my life-partner to enjoy it.
I had seen it years & years ago - wanted my life-partner to enjoy it.
Published 3 days ago by Yolande Gallant
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Wasn't the version I was looking for. Don't even know how to find it.
Published 2 months ago by Laura Filipek
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisflying interpretation of the play
This older film stands up very well. Zefferelli's usual energy and brilliant colour support the cast. Burton is delightful as Petruchio and Taylor made a touching Kate. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gayle Gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars Shipping took forever!!!
This dvd is exactly what I wanted it to be! It is in excellent condition. My only problem is that it took too long to get to me. I have never had to wait this amount of time!!!
Published 9 months ago by Pyretta
4.0 out of 5 stars classic
Ive seen many versions but this one is the best one. Was it acting for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton or a reflection of their own tomultuos relationship?
Published 9 months ago by Nancy walpole
5.0 out of 5 stars great film
Funny and entertaining, its the kind of film that takes you in an other time, the actors are great, the story is fun
Published 11 months ago by Sylvie Maheux
5.0 out of 5 stars The Taming of the Shrew
Well, hey it's the Burton
Taylor duo. Both excellent, talented actors, albeit deceased now.
I owned this dvd years ago, lent it out and did not get it back. Read more
Published 15 months ago by denise daniela borda
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable Hollywood Fare
This is a boring rendition that lacks creativity and imagination. Burton and Taylor offer very little in the way of bringing new life to the characters of Petruchio and Kate. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Joseph M. Lauzon
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Came way before the suggested arrival time, which was a pleasent surprise. Excellent quality and a wonderful movie. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Ashleigh Boutilier
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable movie
The family enjoyed it. The movie lacked some of Shakespeare's original elements (the induction, for instance) but it was enjoyable nonetheless.
Published 20 months ago by Mrs. Audrey-lynn Karperien
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