Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew is a zesty version of the classic comedy, highlighted by performances by Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor and Nino Rota's score. Instead of simply filming a play, Zeffirelli turned Shakespeare's text into a lively, cinematic movie, with sweeping sets and cinematography. Set in Padua, Italy in the late 1500s, the story concerns the shy Bianca (Natasha Pyne) and the mean-spirited Katarina (Elizabeth Taylor), the two daughters of a rich merchant named Baptista (Michael Hordern). Though Bianca is being courted by a number of young men, Baptista announces that she may not marry until Katarina is wed. None of the men in town are willing to marry Katarina, so Bianca remains unwed, even as more suitors--such as Lucentio (Michael York), a student who begins working as a tutor in the Hordern household just so he can be near Bianca--line up to wed the maiden. No man approaches Katarina until Petruchio (Richard Burton--a wanderer who arrived in Padua just to find a rich wife--falls in love with her. After an intense, occasionally furious, courtship, Katarina eventually agrees to marry him, and they move to Petruchio's shoddy house, which is located outside of the city. Following the wedding, Lucentio reveals that he is not a student, but instead the son of one of the most respected men in town. Lucentio gets permission to marry Bianca and a mild-mannered Katarina shows up at the wedding, giving advice to her sister on how to be a good wife. The Taming of the Shrew received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design, and opened the British Royal Film Festival.~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Movie Guide
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