Browse all reviews by letter     A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 - 9

Italy/USA 1967
Directed by
Franco Zeffirelli
122 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars

The Taming Of The Shrew

Trumpeted as a Burton-Zeffirelli production, this version of The Taming of the Shrew is a mis-begotten affair influenced more by Burton’s and his wife, Elizabeth Taylor’s reputation for tempestuous marital relations, a reputation which they had exploited much more successfully the previous year in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf). Whatever merit Shakespeare’s play might have are buried beneath Burton’s buffoonery, Taylor’s heaving bosom. shrieking shrewishness and general chronic over-acting by all concerned reducing the play to a tiresome farce, the Bard’s language being lost amongst the supposedly comedic but actually inane pratfalls and horseplay. 

Burton plays Petruchio, a blustering slob whose amour propre is piqued by the task of getting Katherina (Taylor) into the marital bed and showing her who’s boss, while then-newcomer Michael York plays Lucentio who is pursuing Katherina’s beautiful younger sister, Bianca (Natasha Pyne, an actress who came from television and disappeared back into it immediately afterwards). Presumably with the goal of turning out an entertaining sex romp in the Italian manner, Zeffirelli plays every scene over-the-top but the result (aside from any question of the inherent merits of Shakespeare’s text such as it survives here) is witless, dated and near-unwatchable unless you happen to have a liking for late Renaissance costumery.

Available from: Shock Entertainment




Want something different?

random vintage best worst