The Taming of the Shrew offers the interesting situation of Richard Burton fictionally taming Elizabeth Taylor, although the version is a boisterous, often over-stagey frolic. It will strike many as a fair compromise for mass audiences between the original Shakespeare and, say, Kiss Me Kate.
Screenwriters have done neat job, infusing dialog without rocking Bard’s memory over-much. The two stars pack plenty of wallop making their roles meaty and flamboyant with a larger-than-life Burton playing for plenty of sly laughs in the uninhibited wife-beating lark.
Taylor tends to over-exploit an ‘earthy’ aspect in early footage and switch to the subdued attitude comes too abruptly. But against that she’s a buxom delight when tamed. Comedy is sustained in witty wedding ceremony.
Shrewd casting of experienced players pays off with Michael Hordern, Victor Spinetti, Cyril Cusack, Alfred Lynch and Giancarlo Cobelli standouts.