Movie Comparison Mini-Essay

At this point, you should be finished reading The Taming of the Shrew and hopefully have come to some conclusions about characters, society, and gender roles. But as most of us know, reading a play on the page is not the same as seeing it performed. To this end, I am going to have you watch a movie adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew.

As you watch, pay attention to how the staging, blocking, costuming, and interpretations of character are changed from the original script. How does watching this play inspire you to rethink your original interpretation? Does it change your perceptions on characters? On society? On gender roles and/or hierarchies of power?

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Part 1:

Choose an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew to watch. If you wish to do so, you may rent, stream, download, etc. an adaptation from the following list:

10 Things I Hate About You [A favorite of most students, this is an adaptation that stars Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles]
The Taming of the Shrew [1967] [This version is directed by Zeffirelli and stars Elizabeth Taylor as Kate; a classic]
McClintock! [John Wayne does Taming of the Shrew. Yep. You heard that right. Even John Wayne did Shakespeare!]
Deliver Us from Eva [This adaptation stars LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union – a little more risque than some of the other versions]
Kiss Me Kate [1953] [Directed by George Sidney, this is Taming of the Shrew as a musical]

Most of these adaptations are available through Amazon to stream or rent, though if you are able to find them elsewhere, feel free.

If you have no way to access Amazon or don’t want to rent a version, you may choose to stream the 1929 version of The Taming of the Shrew starring Mary Pickford. This is available through the library and is one of the more humorous renditions of the tale. While it is in black and white, and the dialogue can be difficult at times, hold out for Act IV, when “the shrew” turns the tables on Petruchio! Very progressive for its time, this is the version that allowed for more feminist interpretations like the modern 10 Things I Hate About You.

To access the free version:

Go to the Library link in the upper left corner of Atlas.
In the “Basic Search” enter the key words “mary pickford taming of the shrew” This should bring you to a list of sources.
The first source listed should be “Taming of the Shrew” and underneath in the description, it should say MVD Entertainment Group. It should also have a film icon that says “streaming”
Click on the link titled “Valencia: Click here to view this eVideo. Access is restricted to valid borrowers”
This will take you to a streaming version of the movie.

*If you are already logged in to Atlas, you might be able to link directly using the following:
(Links to an external site.)

Part 2:

Once you have watched at least one of the adaptations, please complete the following journal assignment:

Please write a 2 page journal reflecting on the movie adaptation you chose to watch. Remember that you want to be specific and detailed in your examples.

You should also consider looking at more than just the superficial differences between the play and the adaptation. While some changes are easy to spot, think deeply about why those changes were made and what affect those changes have on character interactions, the “rules” of the plot, and the societal shifts they highlight in terms of gender, power structures, etc.

To be successful, pick 2-3 differences/choices made as part of the adaptation and reflect on how they help us to interpret the original play more clearly. What do you think the director’s reasoning might have been for these choices? How do we as an audience respond to these changes and why?

Please make sure you include the title of the adaptation you watched, either in the introductory paragraph or as part of the title. You should also approach this as a formal journal. Make sure you follow basic MLA formatting and paragraphing standards. You are writing a mini-essay, not an informal discussion post.

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