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THE TAMING OF THE SHREW

Any cinematic pairing of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton is worth watching just to see their real life chemistry spill onto the silver screen and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW ($28) is no exception. Director Franco Zeffirelli did a beautiful job visualizing the classic Shakespearean comic battle of the sexes. But then again, it should be easy for an Italian director to bring to life a story set in Italy. The plot of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW involves two sisters; the elder sister is named Katharina (Taylor) and the younger is Bianca (Natasha Pyne). Bianca has a number of suitors eager to marry the fair young maiden, however their wealthy father Baptista (Michael Hordern) has decreed that Bianca cannot marry until her sister Katharina has done so.

Unfortunately, Katharinaís shrewish disposition and explosive temper has scared off every man in the town of Padua. Of course, several of Biancaís suitorís devise a plan involving Petruchio (Richard Burton), a strong willed gentleman of Verona, whose dire financial situation make him the perfect man to woo and wed the fiery Katharina for her dowry. This cinematic adaptation of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW works well because Zeffirelli knows how to take advantage of his two stars. Burton handles the Shakespearean language with ease and does a great job with the sly Petruchio. Taylor is less accomplished with Shakespeareís prose, however she really throws herself into the physicality of Katharinaís tirades and the other comic aspects of the character. Additionally, Zeffirelli also backs up his two stars with a solid supporting cast that includes Cyril Cusack, Alfred Lynch, Alan Webb, Victor Spinetti and Michael York.

Columbia TriStar Home Video has made THE TAMING OF THE SHREW available on DVD in a wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The transfer frames THE TAMING OF THE SHREW very close to its full 2.35:1 and the picture is very pleasing. Since THE TAMING OF THE SHREW was released 1967, it canít be expected to look like a new film. Additionally, the cinematography is decidedly diffuse, but the image is clean and offers good detail. The film element itself shows very few signs of age and there is relatively little noticeable film grain. Colors arenít over saturated, but they are very appealing. Flesh tones are fairly natural and there are no problems with the reproduction of the stronger hues. Blacks are accurate and contrast appears consistent under various lighting conditions. Digital compression artifacts are well concealed on this DVD.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtrack is free from distortion and boasts very clean dialogue reproduction. Spanish and Portuguese language soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai subtitles.

The interactive menus are basic, providing access to the standard scene selection and set up features, in addition to the DVDís extras. A theatrical trailer for THE TAMING OF THE SHREW is included as supplement, as are trailers for MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and MACBETH. Talent files for the stars fill out the extras.

 
THE TAMING OF THE SHREW 



ENHANCED FOR 16:9 TELEVISIONS 

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DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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