Saturday, July 05, 2014

Greetings from Padua!

I am watching The Taming of the Shrew on TCM and I'm having a wonderful time.

Here we have Richard Burton as Petrucchio, delivering the Bard's lines in that voice. Here we have Elizabeth Taylor, more athletic than I can ever recall her (except maybe for National Velvet) and charmingly game, performing alongside stage-trained Shakespearean actors and holding her own. And Mr. and Mrs. Burton generate real heat in their scenes together. Their passion is palpable, even after nearly 50 years.

I'm always surprised by what a fan I've become in middle age. For when I was a girl, "Liz and Dick" were everywhere and I thought they were ... well ... silly. Smoking, drinking and brawling, showing off their huge baubles and tiny dogs.

What was lost on me back then was how really good these two could be when they were doing their jobs. It's obvious now when I watch them at their best, separately and together, that they both enjoyed acting and took it seriously. I'm glad they're captured forever as Kate and Petrucchio, as George and Martha. I prefer their screen performances to their movie magazine incarnation.

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