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Kiss Me Kate, The Taming of the Shrew and Ten Things I Hate About You

Uploaded by schmick on May 03, 2002

Choose one of the various film versions of “The Taming of the Shrew”, the musical “Kiss Me Kate” or the recent film “Ten Things I Hate About You”, and critically evaluate the success or otherwise of this film as an appropriated text.

The 1953 film of the musical ‘Kiss Me Kate’ is successful in many aspects as an appropriation of the Shakespearian play ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. These include: the transmission of ‘Kiss Me Kate’ from the live Broadway musical to the film version; and the clear portrayal of the play ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ onstage, and the mirrored story backstage. Other successful features are: the contribution of song lyrics which add clarity to the plot; and the fact that the score can still be enjoyed today since the mood and lyrics of each songs are varied.

Unfortunately, some aspects of the film do not contribute positively to its success. For example: the obvious fact that the film is a 1950’s piece results in the audience being slightly distracted by the abundance of post-war American values and ideas and renders it less attractive to current viewers. Another negative feature are the frequent dancing scenes which are entertaining, but in which it is not always clear why the performers are dancing, other than the fact that it is an obligatory component of the musical genre.

Before the film version, ‘Kiss Me Kate’ was an incredibly successful live musical-performed on Broadway and around the world. It is still performed as a live musical today. Thus the smooth transmission from live performance to film in 1953 enabled the film version to retain the loyalty of the live musical’s fans whilst gaining more viewers with the distribution of the video. The greatest achievement in the adaptation is that virtually all the live musical’s songs are retained, with the addition of one song from another play, ‘Out of This World’. In fact, this addition proved so successful that the song was included in all subsequent productions of the live show. Hence, the film version’s success as a product confirms its success as an appropriation of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ which is enjoyed and studied by thousands of people.

Another great achievement of ‘Kiss Me Kate’ is the ‘play-within-the-play’ idea. The movie follows the story of a bunch of actors who are performing a musical version of ‘The Taming of the Shrew’. The cast includes:...

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Uploaded by:   schmick

Date:   05/03/2002

Category:   Film

Length:   7 pages (1,602 words)

Views:   3456

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