Matthew Lickona noon, April 29
The Taming of the Shrew
One of Mary Pickford's few sound films (and rather poor sound at that) has strong biographical interest, at least, in putting her tempestuous marriage to Douglas Fairbanks on screen, four decades before Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton hopped aboard the same vehicle, and in tailoring the Shakespearean roles neatly to the stars' personalities -- especially the interiorizing of Kate into nonverbal appraising, calculating, fretting, fuming, glowering, gloating. The actress always projected the image of an inexhaustible thinker. An added dividend, meanwhile, is the direction of Sam Taylor, with its unusually mobile camerawork for an early talkie, its subjective point-of-view shots, its teeming long shots, its bits of comic business (the apple core passed from groom to best man at the wedding ceremony), its all-around inventiveness. Indeed the overriding cinematic interest of the piece is not (excuse the pun) the tailoring mentioned above, but the Tayloring. 1929.