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Taming of the Shrew [DVD] [1929] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £12.77
Only 8 left in stock - order soon.
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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.
£12.77 Only 8 left in stock - order soon. Dispatched from and sold by RAREWAVES USA.

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Unrated (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007TKOGY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 341,549 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Many "learned" reviews call this all sorts of things but don't believe them. True, it's cut (well, this was 1929!) and the DVD is even more cut with a music track added for Pickford's 1966 re-issue but it preserves the spirit. I've seen performances at The Globe that also accentuate the slapstick but the play can take it. This copy was beautifully preserved by Mary Pickford which is why the audio track is much better than many others of this period. Have a sense of fun and enjoy it. The transfer is beautiful (unlike many films of this period). This is one that may not stay around for long but I highly recommend it.
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A good DVD disc
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8d6f8ea0) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5e3b70) out of 5 stars A Shakespeare Comedy still funny in our day 16 Jun. 2005
By Barbara Underwood - Published on Amazon.com
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This is a rather unusual and special old film, originally made in 1929 and restored with new music and some editing for a re-release in 1966, and which has now been digitally remastered for this DVD.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. Fairbanks grew up with Shakespeare and began his acting career in a Shakespearian play, but ended up doing comedies on Broadway before his famous decade of action/adventure films in the 1920s, playing characters like Zorro, Robin Hood and D'Artagnan. When the sound era began in 1929, Fairbanks was no doubt eager to do a Shakespeare play with the new medium of sound film. Although some audiences might not have liked the sudden change in characters for both of these big stars, I personally enjoyed seeing them in very different roles, especially Mary Pickford as the bad-tempered shrew which is in total contrast to her famous "America's Sweetheart" screen persona. Both of them give a powerful and memorable performance, and this new DVD edition has very good picture and sound quality. My only quibble is that the speech is a bit difficult to understand at times; perhaps a combination of the Shakespearian dialogue and the age of the recording, but not bad enough to lose the plot or miss any witty remarks in this timeless farce about shrews, marriage and the men who attempt to tame a shrew.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5e3dbc) out of 5 stars Much better than expected 29 Nov. 1999
By jamie_moffat@hotmail.com - Published on Amazon.com
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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5e6090) out of 5 stars Two Superstars in "Shrew" 19 Aug. 2004
By J. C. Hulett - Published on Amazon.com
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.

Unfortunately, the only version of the film that is now available is a 1966 release version with added music and voice tracks that stand out like enflamed digits against the original (and far scratchier) Vitaphone tracks. The 1966 release version is also shorter than the '29 release, and cries out for a fresh restoration with the added sounds of '66 stripped away and the old, original ones cleaned up with digital technology.

Hey, Pickford Corporation! How about a NEW release? One that takes us back to the original, with cleaned up tracks? I'd buy THAT in a heartbeat!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5e600c) out of 5 stars A Legendary Debacle 3 Jun. 2009
By Gary F. Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
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
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d5e6594) out of 5 stars Who Cares that its Shakespeare? 30 Aug. 2005
By Samantha Glasser - Published on Amazon.com
Shakespeare is always difficult to watch for most people, especially when it is left in any of the original dialogue. It seems inaccessible and silly for the most part. This version of the Taming of the Shrew retains some of the original dialogue although much has been changed while remaining similar. However, it is acted well and with comprehension which helps the reader to understand the motives behind the words even if the words are not heard absolutely clearly or if they are not completely understood. This is thanks to their training on the stage and the silent screen.

This film is also hindered by its being an early talkie made only in 1929, two years after the first talkie was made. The technology was crude, often planting actors near stationary objects where microphones could be hidden and employing large gaps of silence between spoken word. Unexpectedly though, this film is neither static nor silent. It abounds with action and cleverly placed points for speaking so that the actors could move around when not delivering lines. It also used background music to pad scenes that had no dialogue and sound effects when necessary. What results is a film that technologically was ahead of its time.

Part of the draw to this film was the stars Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, Hollywood's golden couple. The two were in their downfall, and making this film together contributed to the tension between them. Still, they have tremendous chemistry and talent which enables them to give a wonderful show. However, it seems to be more of a vehicle to showcase Fairbanks than Pickford.

This film, although ridden with a few Shakespearean stereotypes such as quivering jesters and servants, has a modern comedic flair. Mary Pickford's excellent screwball-esque timing and Douglas Fairbanks' overbearingly forward personality prove that the two should not have been on the decline. Sadly, the public wanted new stars to replace the ones they had loved so dearly during the silent era. This is the only reason that this film was not the large success that it should have been. For a Shakespeare film, it is wonderful.
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