Cast & Crew
A rich Paduan merchant named Baptista has two beautiful daughters, the unruly and vile-tempered Katharina, and the sweet and lovable Bianca. The many suitors for the hand of Bianca are greatly dismayed by Baptista's refusal of their petitions so long as the elder Katharina remains unwed. Lucentio, a young student from Pisa, is so taken by Bianca's beauty that he poses as a teacher of languages and obtains a position as a tutor in Baptista's household. As Lucentio is proceeding with his wooing, a fortune-hunting scoundrel named Petruchio arrives in Padua seeking a wealthy wife. Although he immediately falls victim to Katharina's scorn and abuse, he wards off her outraged blows until they both fall exhausted into a huge mound of sheep wool. He then calmly praises her numerous charms and announces that they will marry the following Sunday. On their wedding day, he arrives late, very drunk, and wearing indecorous clothes. But despite everyone's apprehension, the ceremony is performed, and Petruchio sets his wildly protesting bride on a broken-down horse and leads her on a muddy journey to his dilapidated country home. There, under the pretext of his great love for Katharina, he rejects all manner of comfort and luxury, maintaining they are unworthy of her. Eventually, after Lucentio has been revealed to be the son of the honored Vincentio of Padua and won permission to marry his beloved Bianca, Katharina and Petruchio are invited to the wedding feast. There Petruchio wagers that Katharina is the most devoted and obedient of wives. And to the astonishment of all, Katharina shames all the other women by giving them a lecture on the virtues of wifely obedience.
Alexandre Of Paris
Suso Cecchi D'amico
John De Cuir
Aldo De Martini
Alberto De Rossi
Giannetto De Rossi
Grazia De Rossi
Maggi And Orcchetti
Best Art Direction
Best Costume Design
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
After numerous discussions with Zeffirelli, the Burtons agreed not only to star in the film version of The Taming of the Shrew (1967) but to co-produce it for a personal investment of between $1.4 and $3 million, opting to defer their salaries until after the film turned a profit. Once on the set, Taylor experienced stage fright. "I was so scared. It was the first time I'd tried to do Shakespeare. And my beloved was no help at all. 'You do it on your own', he said. The first couple of days I was so frightened I couldn't even say 'hello', so they had to redo them. Richard did advise me, 'Don't think of it as verse - don't pronounce it to a metronome as you were taught in school.' And gradually I began to have fun with it." Zeffirelli was delighted with Taylor's performance, "Elizabeth and I came from different planets - her world of the movies and mine of the theatre - and Richard was the great leveler. He was the bridge. Elizabeth was very shy to play Shakespeare to begin with, but she brought a marvelous devotion. On the first day, I remember, she was like a girl coming to her marriage too young; she had extreme concern and humility. That day she was really enchanting...I consider that Elizabeth, with no Shakespearean background, gave the more interesting performance because she invented the part from scratch. To some extent Richard was affected by his knowledge of the classics, as are all established actors - except Olivier."
The filming of The Taming of the Shrew was done at Dino de Laurentiis' new studios in Rome. "The fact that the whole film was shot in the studios gave it an air of unreality which matched the remoteness of the language. The magnificent sets were designed by Renzo Mongiardino and the costumes by Danilo Donati." Those costumes proved to be a problem when famed Hollywood designer Irene Sharaff designed a tight fitting dark outfit with vertical stripes for Burton that was reminiscent of Laurence Olivier's costume as Richard III. According to Zeffirelli, Burton "wasn't tall, had narrow shoulders and a large head. The only way to cope with this was to make everything larger than necessary, to give him loose, flowing costumes. [...] My attempt to make this point to her produced such outrage amongst the courtiers, and provoked a storm of whispering. Liz was loyally on Sharaff's side, 'Franco, this is an important artist, you must respect her.'" Zeffirelli found Burton to be no help to him and so he brought in his own seamstress and within only thirty-six hours, they had created five costumes for Burton. On the morning of shooting, he persuaded Burton to try on the costumes, which he loved, much to Sharaff's anger. "She assumed that we had been secretly making the costumes for weeks instead of virtually overnight, as was the case. The eventual compromise was that Richard would wear Danilo's costumes and Liz Sharaff's. That was our sole major area of conflict." Ironically, both Sharaff and Danilo Donati were nominated for Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, as would Renzo Mongiardino and his crew for Best Art Direction.
The seven minute scene in which Burton and Taylor teeter precariously on a roof which gives way, throwing them onto a pile of sheep's wool on the floor below, took eight days to film. Taylor, whose weight had topped the scales at 143 lbs when she played Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? , dropped twenty-three pounds from the exhaustive physical work on The Taming of the Shrew. "Here I am with six inches of my spine fused and they expect me to toss Richard over my shoulder," complained Taylor one day on the set. She was a trooper, but the one thing she would not do was remove her wedding ring (the Burtons had recently celebrated their second anniversary). A pearl was sewn onto the ring at the beginning of each day's shooting.
The film premiered in London at the Odeon as a Royal Command Performance in February 1967, with Princess Margaret in attendance. Burton remarked, "We made The Taming of the Shrew because I wanted to act a rough role as far away as possible from those Rex Harrison parts with nice suits and freshly laundered shirts, and my wife because she wanted to talk English for a change. In Shrew she shows definite Shakespearean feeling, the only difficulties being some of the Bard's words that are alien to her. For instance, 'how durst thou' is not common talk in California."
The Taming of the Shrew turned out to be a wise investment for all concerned and grossed $7 million on its initial release, with worldwide receipts topping out at over $12 million. The critical reaction was mixed. Bosley Crowther titled his New York Times review, "Burtons Arrive in 'Taming of the Shrew': Shakespeare Gets Lost in Film", writing , "Under Mr. Zeffirelli's gleeful urging more than his restraining, I feel sure, Miss Taylor and Mr. Burton race madly through the first part of the film, committing physical violence on each other with a minimum exhaling of Shakespeare's words. After they've finally exhausted their energies, and ours - after Petruchio has tumbled Katharina in a bin of fresh-sheared wool and has come to a suitable arrangement with her old man to make her his wife-we are treated to more slamming and banging on a slightly lower level of the decibel scale, as Petruchio goes about the standard business of domesticating his bosomy shrew." Wilfred Sheed in Esquire had harsh words for Taylor, "Of Miss Taylor there is little to say. She will never really be adequate to any classical role. Her acting was fixated at the age of twelve in National Velvet  and has not moved an inch forward or back since then. She is, as she should be, a cinematic professional. But when it comes to brewing up a real emotion, such as shrewish rage, she can only flutter her surface and hope for the best." Hollis Alpert completely disagreed in his review for The Saturday Review, "There was never much doubt about the abilities of Burton; there was more question about Miss Taylor, originally a product of MGM's star system, and star-crossed in her love and marital life. Her movie performances during the past ten years have ranged from mediocre to very good [...] But Shakespeare is another kind of peak to climb, and the challenge to Miss Taylor must have been a big one. She had to contend with her husband at his absolute best in a role for which he is extremely well-suited, and she was up against other gifted actors...Well, not only has she managed it; she has come through the ordeal with honor. She has held nothing back in attacking the role with blazing fury."
Producer: Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Franco Zeffirelli (all uncredited)
Director: Franco Zeffirelli
Screenplay: Franco Zeffirelli, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Paul Dehn; William Shakespeare (play "The Taming of the Shrew")
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Art Direction: Giuseppe Mariani, Elven Webb
Music: Nino Rota
Film Editing: Peter Taylor
Cast: Elizabeth Taylor (Katharina), Richard Burton (Petruchio), Cyril Cusack (Grumio), Michael Hordern (Baptista), Alfred Lynch (Tranio), Alan Webb (Gremio), Giancarlo Cobelli (The Priest), Vernon Dobtcheff (Pedant), Ken Parry (Tailor), Anthony Gardner (Haberdasher), Natasha Pyne (Bianca), Michael York (Lucentio), Victor Spinetti (Hortensio), Roy Holder (Biondello), Mark Dignam (Vincentio).
by Lorraine LoBianco
Richard Burton: Very Close Up by John Cottrell and Fergus Cashin
Elizabeth by Dick Sheppard
Zeffirelli by Franco Zeffirelli
Rich: The Life of Richard Burton by Melvyn Bragg
The Last Star by Kitty Kelley
The New York Times film review Burtons Arrive in Taming of the Shrew: Shakespeare Gets Lost In Film by Bosley Crowther, March 9, 1967
The Saturday Review film review by Hollis Alpert, 1967
Esquire Magazine film review by Wilfred Sheed, 1967
The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
Why, there's a wench! Come on and kiss me, Kate.- Petruchio
That wench is dark mad or wonderfully forward.- Tranio
'Tis the mind that makes the body rich.- Petruchio
Nothing but sit and sit, and eat and eat!- Petruchio
Asses are made to bear, and so are you!- Katherine
Women are made to bear, and so are you!- Petruchio
Franco Zeffirelli originally proposed this film as a vehicle for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni.
The dress that Elizabeth Taylor wears during Kate's final monologue is inspired by the dress that the model wears in Lorenzo Lotto's painting, "Lucretia". Taylor even wears a similar coverciere (shawl-like partlet), and has a necklace tucked into her bodice, just like Lotto's Lucretia.
Released in Italy in 1967 as La bisbetica domata.
Voted one of the Ten Best English Language Films of the Year by the 1967 National Board of Review.
Released in United States January 2003
Released in United States Spring March 1, 1967
Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival (Retro) January 9-20, 2003.
Released in United States January 2003 (Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival (Retro) January 9-20, 2003.)
Released in United States Spring March 1, 1967