The Taming of the Shrew - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Taming of the Shrew Reviews

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½ July 7, 2016
I'm not well-versed enough in Shakespeare's oeuvre to know whether this 1967 adaptation of "The Taming of the Shrew" is among the best ever made, but I am familiar enough with the melodramatic relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton to understand that brassy comedy of "The Taming of the Shrew's" sort is the perfect genre to showcase their famously stormy real-life kinship. Embarrassing to better be acquainted with the personal lives of the most famous power couple in the history of the movies, I know. But I spend more time with the cinema than I do with centuries old plays, and, either way, the film is a lavishly designed costume comedy that wonderfully suits the personas of its larger-than-life leads. You could hardly ask for more.
Set in Italy just as the 17th century is about to make way, "The Taming of the Shrew" focuses on the marrying off of the respected Baptista Minola's (Michael Horden) two daughters, the cutely virginal Bianca (Natasha Pyne) and the haughtily shrill Katharina (Taylor). Bianca is a sweet girl whose charisma and good looks have led her to become a magnet for potential suitors - she's anxious to wed and start a life of domesticity. Katharina, about a decade her senior, is the complete opposite. Screechy and always looking for a fight, nothing sounds worse than settling down and tending to a husband; currently, she spends her days secluded in her father's expansive living quarters, and she'd prefer it to stay that way.
But Minola isn't willing to let Bianca get hitched without having his other daughter have her time at the altar, too. So Bianca is, understandably, irritated by the control her father has on her affairs. And it's worrisome to have her personal wishes so drastically depend on Katharina, who, by most standards, is impossible to romance. As Bianca waits for something to change as would-be lovers circle around her like blood hungry vultures, in steps Petruchio (Burton), a loud-mouthed nobleman who likes a challenge and is therefore ready to take on the difficult task of getting Katharina to let her guard down and fall in love with him. But because Katharina is more a tigress than a meek calico, the swooning is going to be a hell of a lot harder than he might realize. Or so we think.
The love-hate relationship between Petruchio and Katharina, which jumps back and forth between kittenish physical brawls and flaming embraces, is a distinct echo of Burton and Taylor's own union. Most of their co-headlined movies struggle to match their talents with material as fiery as they are (1966's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is really the only spotless picture they ever made together), but "The Taming of the Shrew" puts a temporary end to that notion. With its almost screwball battle-of-the-sexes attitude, guided by boisterous performances and a high energy screenplay, it's as funny as it is handsomely produced. Even its anciently unequal gender roles don't muss up its rompy efficiency.
October 14, 2015
A little shrew goes a long way. Less unplasant than her in 'Whose afraid of Virginia Wolf'. But then, it's Shakespeare.
P.S.: Q: Who really wrote all Shakespeare's stuff? A: Some guy named Shakespeare.
May 17, 2015
great, accurate version
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2014
nominated for best picture by NBR and at the golden globes
½ August 10, 2014
The Taming of the Shrew is an excellent film. It is about fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio tames his wealthy shrewish wife, Katharina. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton give fantastic performances. The screenplay is well written. Franco Zeffirelli did a great job directing this movie job. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and romance. The Taming of the Shrew is a must see.
½ July 20, 2014
No wonder Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor married and divorced many times. The sexual tension between them in this film is clear. Taylor plays Kate, the beautiful, fiery, feisty, mean-spirited, unloved Kate to perection while Burton as Petruchio is loud, boisterous and obnoxious. The famous tongue in the tail speech of their first meeting, sets the mood for lusty, sweaty, swarthy fighting and many torments ensue... with a beautiful ending. Directed by Zeffirelli, what more could you ask for?
July 11, 2014
Franco Zeffirelli cast Burton & Taylor in this movie after seeing them brawling in the streets of Dublin. As in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, the tempestuous off-screen passion of the couple makes for on-screen fireworks. The perfect meeting of material and stars.
½ February 14, 2014
Woah, I had no CLUE Zeffirelli did The Taming of the Shrew! I watched it in an English class and I just loved the beautiful production design intermingled with the lighthearted spirit of Shakespeare's work. It's also an extremely respectful adaptation; the characters are pretty much exactly as I'd imagined them and the humor of the play is represented to a T. A wonderful comedy.
November 11, 2013
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
were born to play these parts. Engrossing and entertaining, the story of finding love and giving into it's power is timeless. I love the surprise ending. Great movie.
July 12, 2013
It was a pleasure to watch--the colors and cinematography were brilliant. It was well paced and every moment was full of fun and spirit. Most importantly, it stayed true to the essence of Shakespeare's play--a true feat considering how tricky play-to-film adaptions are.
½ February 9, 2013
Ridiculous bloated pantomime of a movie
½ February 3, 2013
While it may not be as faithfull to the subplots of the original play, this adaptation is a fine introduction to the play and it has sustained most of the humor between Kate and Perturchio.
December 25, 2012
Really funny and really good acting. You can tell that Elizabeth and Richard have chemistry, it shows even when they fight together.
December 2, 2012
great costumes and performances by taylor & burton highlight this adaption of shakespeare's play.
½ October 21, 2012
Impossible to know what star rating to give this, since as always with Shrew you are just left shaking your head at the 400 year old sexual politics. This screenplay also piles on some extratextual weirdness with all sorts of prop and costume business.
½ October 6, 2012
this was a great movie with 2 great perforances. They are brilliant and should have been nominated for orscars
July 12, 2012
I am quite certain that Kate was a fellow Scorpio. (Oh, yes!) Burton: MMMM!
½ May 13, 2012
Burton and Taylor at their best---great story by Shakespeare. They both are great in this movie of a unusual relationship that grows into love.
May 10, 2012
2012 - BBC iplayer with my Mom
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