The Taming of the Shrew (1967 film)

The Taming of the Shrew

Original film poster
Directed by Franco Zeffirelli
Produced by Elizabeth Taylor, Richard McWhorter
Screenplay by Paul Dehn
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Franco Zeffirelli
Based on The Taming of the Shrew
by William Shakespeare
Starring Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton
Natasha Pyne
Michael Hordern
Music by Nino Rota
Cinematography Oswald Morris
Edited by Peter Taylor
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • March 8, 1967 (1967-03-08)
Running time
122 minutes
Language English
Budget $4 million
Box office $8,000,000 (North America)
$12,000,000 (worldwide)

The Taming of the Shrew (Italian: La Bisbetica domata) is a 1967 film based on the play of the same name by William Shakespeare about a courtship between two strong-willed people. The film was directed by Franco Zeffirelli and stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton as Shakespeare's Kate and Petruchio.

Plot and cast

Baptista Minola (Michael Hordern) is attempting to marry off his two daughters; however, he will marry off his youngest, Bianca (Natasha Pyne) only if someone will marry his eldest, Katharina (Elizabeth Taylor). Katharina is an ill-tempered shrewish woman but a lusty young nobleman, Petruchio (Richard Burton), takes on the challenge of taming and marrying her. A subplot involves the wooing of Bianca by several suitors including handsome Lucentio (Michael York), foppish Hortensio (Victor Spinetti), and elderly Gremio (Alan Webb).

Production details

The film, made in English but shot in Italy, cuts much of the original dialogue, including much of the subplot of Lucentio and Bianca, and all of the Christopher Sly framing device.

Taylor plays Kate’s final, controversial speech without any obvious irony (such as Mary Pickford’s wink in the 1929 film); however, her taming is apparently undercut by her quick exit from the banquet, which forces Burton’s Petruchio to chase after her amid jeers from the other men. Similar to Harold Bloom’s take on the play, Elizabeth Taylor's Katherina is demonstrating that women may control men by appearing to obey them.

The film was marketed quite misogynistically, including the use of the taglines "A motion picture for every man who ever gave the back of his hand to his beloved... and for every woman who deserved it. Which takes in a lot of people!" and "In the war between the sexes, there always comes a time for unconditional surrender."[1]

The film was originally intended to be a vehicle for Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. Taylor and Burton put over a million dollars into the production and, instead of a salary, took a percentage of profits. The film made $12 million worldwide and was generally liked by the critics.


The film received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Costume Design (Danilo Donati), and Best Art Direction (Lorenzo Mongiardino, John DeCuir, Elven Webb, Giuseppe Mariani, Dario Simoni and Luigi Gervasi).[2]


Box office performance

The Taming of the Shrew grossed $8 million in North America,[3] earning $3,540,000 in theatrical rentals during 1967,[4] making it the 25th highest grossing picture of 1967. The film grossed $12 million worldwide.[5]

Critical reception

The film received positive reviews from modern critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 85% of professional critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 7.5 out of 10 and the site's consensus stating: "It may not be reverent enough for purists, but This Taming of the Shrew is too funny -- and fun -- for the rest of us to resist."[6]

See also


  1. IMDb. The Taming of the Shrew (1967). "Taglines". Accessed 30 Aug 2011.
  2. "NY Times: The Taming of the Shrew". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-27.
  3. "The Taming of the Shrew, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  4. "Big Rental Films of 1967", Variety, 3 January 1968 p 25. Please note these figures refer to rentals accruing to the distributors.
  5. "The Taming of the Shrew, Box Office Information". IMDb. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  6. The Taming of the Shrew. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixter. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
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