Cole Porter’s irreverent take on The Taming of the Shrew is one of the most pleasurable (and fabulously danced) MGM musicals of the 50s – and the only one produced in 3D. With Ann Miller, Howard Keel and Bob Fosse.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
If she says your behaviour is heinous/ kick her right in the Coriolanus’: Cole Porter had a ball updating The Taming of the Shrew for Broadway in 1948. Hollywood responded in 1953 with a 3D Technicolor extravaganza studded with great Porter songs and dynamic dance numbers designed to be experienced in three dimensions. Hitting Hollywood dance with the speed and brilliance of a lightning bolt, Bob Fosse makes one of the most breathtaking entrances in the history of the medium. Ann Miller dances and sings ‘It’s Too Darn Hot’ in high heels, and she’s like a shimmying tap-dancing dervish in pink, working a black Spanish hand fan all the while and tossing discarded accessories in our faces. Gangsters Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore invite the lovelorn Howard Keel to ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ (sample lyric above) in a soft shoe duet that purports to be improvised on the spot and comes close to vaudeville perfection. There’s also some warbling from Kathryn Grayson, as the operetta diva in the show within the show, that’s not quite so zippy. But when Fosse and Hermes Pan’s choreography hits the screen with Porter’s music, this is as fabulous as movie musicals – or 50s 3D – get.