Day 124: The Taming of The Shrew (July, 11)

If I hadn't seen a few versions of Shakespeare's play before, I would have questioned the content of Franco Zeffirelli's The Taming of The Shrew,  1969, with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (another DVD that I've bought years ago and was patiently waiting for me). 

But this is my favorite story by the bard, so I have seen it before in movies and television. BBC has a series called ShakespeaRE-Told that presents some of the Shakespeare works by a modern retelling. The Taming of The Shrew brings a view about the tale that I like a lot. It is so much fun, I laughed so hard, but it presents clearly a depth that is only hinted in the 1969's movie. This way, I wasn't so anguished about what looked as a perverse sexism in this story. 

The play's name refers to a taming... about a shrew... But that's is just the surface. What happens between the main couple is only for them to tell, and this aspect per se makes this story so endearing. 

Both Katherine and Petruchio don't conform to social rules. They are rebellious, uncontrollable... They don't fit the  average social rules. So it is not surprising that, after the first bite, they recognize themselves in each other. Peace between them will take longer than usual, if it will ever exist. 

The thing here is not taming, but understanding, empathy between two outcasts, that create a non traditional relationship that defies all social and familiar expectations. They are not what their society see... what matters to them is theis only. It is genius, but I could only realise that by the 2005 BBC production. 

This way, I could admire Zeffirelli's movie. I had to remind me constantly that it was his direction here, when I was amazed in front of some scenes. So, it wouldn't be a big surprise that the scenes were so beautifully staged. It is stunning, ironic, full of smart details, with two protagonists played by actors that would not conform to an average life either.

The Taming of the Shrew. Directed by Franco Zeffirelli. With: Elizabeth
Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack. Writers: Franco Zeffirelli et al.
from the work by William Shakespeare. Italy/US, 1969, 122 min., 70 mm 6-
track/Mono/4-Track Stereo, Color (DVD).

PS: The BBC's Taming of the Shrew relates to this 1969's movie in many aspects. Ruffus Sewell's performance directs Burton's in some moments, specially with his lunatic "Kiss me, Kate!". It is worth to have a look in this good version (or see the whole movie, you choose):

PPS: Other beloved version of Shakespeare's play is a less obvious one, but that I love love love. 10 Things I Hate About You, 1999 is a sweet smart teen version of Taming of the Shrew, and it is great. With the missed Heath Ledger and the underestimated Julia Stiles, this is one of my favorite movies. 

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