Kiss Me Kate: Cole Porter Musical of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew

Shot in 3D by George Sidney, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me Kate is a musical within a musical, just like the source material, Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, was a play within a play.

Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson star as a Broadway singing team who haven’t worked together since their divorce.

Collaborating with Cole Porter (played by Ron Randell), Keel plans to star in a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew titled “Kiss Me Kate.”  He and Porter agree that only one actress should play the tempestuous Katherine– Grayson. But she is reluctant, especially after discovering that Keel’s latest paramour, Ann Miller, will play Bianca.  Grayson plans to retire from showbiz to marry the “Ralph Bellamy character,” played by Willard Parker.

Gangsters (James Whitmore and Keenan Wynn) arrive on the scene, holding that Keel is in debt to their boss. It’s actually a young dancer in the chorus (Tommy Rall) who owes the money, but he signed Keel’s name.

Keel plays along with the hoods, who force Grayson at gunpoint to co-star with her ex-husband in order to get their money back.

Roles are reversed, when the gangsters are themselves are forced into appearing on-stage.

All of Kiss Me Kate the play are retained in the screen version: “So in Love,” “Wunderbar,” “Faithful in My Fashion,” “Too Darn Hot,” “Why Can’t You Behave?,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” (delivered by Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore)

Porter also inserted a song from the play Out of This World,, “From This Moment On.”

Shooting in 3-D meant, among other things, that many chairs, dishes, and fruits are thrown at the audience in the domestic battle scenes.

Running time: 110 minutes

 

Oscar Nominations: 1

Scoring of Musical Picture: Andre Previn and Saul Chaplin

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

In 1953, the Scoring Oscar honored Alfred Newman for “Call Me Madam.”