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The Taming of the Shrew

4.3 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern, Alfred Lynch
  • Directors: Franco Zeffirelli
  • Writers: Franco Zeffirelli, Paul Dehn, Suso Cecchi D'Amico, William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard McWhorter
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00004CK4V
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Product Description


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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have a dim memory of the first time I saw Franco Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew. It was on television. I’m sure I was watching with my parents, and the image of Elizabeth Taylor falling in the muddy stream and being left behind by her laughing husband is pretty much all that has stuck with me for forty years or so.

Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet I saw in High School and many times since. I’ve always thought it a wonderful interpretation of Shakespeare’s play with a great deal to recommend it. On returning to Zeffirelli’s The Taming of the Shrew, however, I found little to recommend. Yes, Zeffirelli has assembled lush and beautiful costumes and sets of great detail. But those sets have too much of a smell of polystyrene, the beautiful Italian light of Romeo and Juliet is missing, and the pacing despite large cuts and rewritings of Shakespeare’s text, is, frankly, plodding. Elizabeth Taylor discharges her roll as Katherina professionally, but Richard Burton as Petruchio and the rest of the cast have been set free, or directed, to chew the (polystyrene) scenery with gay abandon.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, The Taming of the Shrew is a difficult play for a contemporary audience. When the fundamental theme of the play, the breaking of a strong woman through starvation and sleep deprivation, is combined with the swinger misogyny of the mid-Sixties, the result is . . .

Read the rest of my review here:

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Format: DVD
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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