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The Taming of the Shrew (1929)

Joseph Cawthorn , Douglas Fairbanks  |  NR |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Joseph Cawthorn, Douglas Fairbanks
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Telavista
  • DVD Release Date: June 5, 2007
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKOGY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,828 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

This "talkie" is the only film co-starring Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. This print is from the 1966 re-release, the only film Miss Pickford allowed since her retirement. It is faithful to the original except that new music and new sound effects

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Shakespeare Comedy still funny in our day June 15, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a rather unusual and special old film, originally made in 1929 and restored with new music and some editing for a re-release in 1966, and which has now been digitally remastered for this DVD. The main thing to strike the general viewer as unusual or special is its blend of Shakespearian dialogue, medieval European setting and slapstick-style comedy, but once accustomed to the language, this farcical story is as fresh and funny as any contemporary comedy. Needless to say, the material of Shakespeare's best-known work is timeless, and "The Taming of the Shrew" is no exception. The story is about a rich merchant who wants to marry off his eldest daughter, Katherine, but no one will have her because of her bad temper and penchant for whip-cracking and throwing objects across the room. Then along comes Petruchio who happily embraces the challenge to tame this shrew, and does so by using reverse psychology and giving her a taste of her own medicine by deliberately irritating, humiliating and contradicting her at every turn. But will she weaken, or work out what he's doing and reverse the psychology? Anyone with a good sense of humour will find plenty of laughs such as Petruchio's loud chomping on an apple during the wedding ceremony to annoy Katherine and break her wild spirit, and one wonders how much of this approach might really work for such shrewish personalities!

The main characters of Katherine and Petruchio are masterfully portrayed by Hollywood's most popular couple of the 1920s: Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, and "The Taming of the Shrew" was their first - and alas, last - picture they made together.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Much better than expected November 28, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
This must surely be the most maligned film of its generation. Generally written off as the failure that ended both the careers and the marriage of Douglas Fairbanks, few people have had much good to say of it.
And yet it holds up quite well. By no stretch of the imagination is this good Shakespeare, but its a fun film. Doug is better than Mary; his persona suits the character far better. Mary looks great but only occasionally springs to life - not surprisingly that is when she doesn't speak.
Sam Taylor lets the film down badly with an unimaginative, stagey, literal approach. But a few facts should be aired. The film was neither a critical nor a box office failure in 1929. It earned a tidy profit and received, if anything, more praise than it deserved. (The New York Times put it on its Ten Best List for the year.) The famous credit "with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor" is also pure myth. There was never any such credit line.
Try and give this film a fresh, objective viewing. But don't expect anything beyond a fun time killer.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Two Superstars in "Shrew" August 18, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Doug and Mary were legends of the silent screen -- the power couple of their day. This short version (66 minutes) of "The Taming of the Shrew" was Mr. Fairbanks first talking picture (let's not count the two brief talking scenes in "Iron Mask," filmed months before this one) and Ms. Pickford's second (her first being "Coquette" with the same director -- Sam Taylor -- directing Mary to an Oscar.)

"Shrew" has had horrible legends attached to it over the years: the film was a disaster, a commercial flop, shattered Ms. Pickford's confidence in herself and her talent, etc. The reality is, only the last item has any truth to it. Mary Pickford states in her autobiography that filming of "Shrew' was not enjoyable, since her husband Douglas Fairbanks (and the co-producer of the film) spent each morning sun-bathing and working out before showing up on the set. (Doug was a compendium of both good and bad habits. He drank no alcohol and exercised religiously, but was also a chain smoker.) Mary, always tense about wasting money, fumed as extras and crew stood around getting paid for doing nothing.

"Shrew" ended up weakening Mr. and Mrs. Fairbanks's marriage and business partnership, but the film itself is far from being a stinker. Fairbanks ends up with one of his best speaking parts (he made only five more talkies) and Pickford, though miscast, is energetic and charming. The film is handsomely mounted and punches across its story and comedy points -- of which there are many. (It's a close relative of Laurel and Hardy's early sound shorts.) The one thing it's not is undiluted Shakespeare.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Legendary Debacle June 2, 2009
Mary Pickford (1892-1979) and Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) were among the greatest stars of the silent era. In 1929 they appeared on screen together in an early sound version of Shakespeare's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. The film was such a notable failure that it effectively ended their careers.

Although it has good production values and runs at a fast clip, THE TAMING OF THE SHREW really is a dreadful little film. Both stars are clearly uncomfortable with the material and, in spite of their love affair and marriage, they lack anything that might be described as on-screen chemistry. Pickford pouts; Fairbanks swaggers; and after sixty three minutes the credits roll and you feel greatly relieved.

The DVD release is adequate rather than pristine, but there are no bonuses of any kind--unless one counts brief biographies riddled with typographical errors. Best left to diehard fans and film historians.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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