The Taming of the Shrew is a comedy directed by Franco Zeffirelli, released in 1967 and starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as protagonists. It is based on the Shakespearean romantic comedy of the same title.
The main story is set in Padua at the end of the 16th century and is about Battista Minolo, a wealthy merchant who has two daughters – Caterina, the eldest, and Bianca, the youngest –and is attempting to marry them off. Their personalities are opposite: the first is surly and ill-tempered, the youngest is praised for her kindness and lovability. Due to this, Bianca already has two suitors, but she is not allowed to marry before her sister does. Bianca’s suitors therefore decide to work together in order to find a husband for Caterina. With all the vicissitudes and twists in the plot, this comedy will leave you astonished!
The film, entirely shot in Italy, gives an accurate historical background and focuses on the social status of women. Shakespeare skilfully analyses the female psychology of the time and emphasizes the superficiality of women by portraying them as interested only in luxury and outward appearance. Moreover, what is fundamental is the contrast between the two sisters and the economic aspect of marriage, clearly shown in the father’s readiness to dispose of his daughters as if they were goods to sell. In fact, the marriage becomes a transaction which involves money above all. The film offers an excellent exploration of the social dimension of love, with a glimpse into the future lives of married couples. Each character has a specific social role, defined by the different factors, such as wealth, profession and education, which influence his behaviour.
In addition, there is an alternation of dramatic and comic registers, with both ironic situations and moments of self-reflection. The tone of the narration is flowing and witty and the cast are extraordinary.
If you are looking for a brilliant comedy with both an interesting historical background and plenty of gags, we highly recommend this film!
Guglielmo Longo, Alice Nalesso, Fiamma Ricato, Elena Susanu e Martina Taffarello