Monday, June 17, 2019

Brush Up Your Shakespeare


 Film and opera director Franco Zeffirelli--that's him in the above picture on the left--died the day before yesterday at the age of 96. He's best known to American audiences for the 1968 movie version of Romeo and Juliet, but it wasn't his first attempt at putting the Bard of Avon's work on film. That happened a year earlier with another box office hit, The Taming of the Shrew, starring Elizabeth Taylor and her hubby at the time, Richard Burton (the other two characters in the above picture.) Take a quick look:



According to Eddie Fisher that's exactly how it happened.

Yes, yes, I know, it all looks a tad involuntary on the bride's part. And the subsequent marriage isn't much better as Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf gets rebooted in iambic pentameter. But keep in mind this is 400 years before the #MeToo movement. Women didn't even have the right to vote back then (now that I think of it, no one did.) When it comes to the works of William Shakespeare, you occasionally need a grandfather clause.

Let's leave that quickly behind and move on to a romance where there seems to be some mutual respect:


A love story that ends unhappily. No need to grandfather that, I'm afraid. It can happen in any era.   

10 comments:

  1. Hi, Kirk!

    I enjoyed your tribute to director Franco Zeffirelli. I took my girlfriend, the future Mrs. Shady #1, to see Romeo And Juliet when it was first released to theaters. She and I also caught Mike Nichols' Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I am familiar with The Taming of the Shrew, but I don't think I ever watched it in its entirety.

    I never forgave Liz Taylor. She married Nicky, Michael, Mike, Eddie, Dick, John and Larry when she could have had me... Shady. (...and likewise Phoebe Cates settled for Kevin Kline.)

    Thanks, good buddy Kirk, and have a great week!

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    1. I know, Shady, you missed out on having Carrie Fisher as a stepdaughter.

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  2. Ohhh Leonard Whiting. I was 14. Nuf said.

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    1. Afraid he's taken, Mitchell. He still acts, but mostly on the London stage.

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  3. Zeffirelli's style made a big impact in both Shakespeare and opera. RIP

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    1. Debra, I didn't do a full-blown obituary like I usually do because I really don't know all that much about opera (I thought Hello, Dolly might be an opera, but was told that all that talking between musical numbers disqualifies it.)

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  4. Rather unusual for such a talented person to live to such an old age.

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    1. Andrew, perhaps the royalties from Romeo and Juliet gave him a reason to live.

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  5. That is a long age to live.

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  6. Honestly, Adam, is if I was that old, every time I got into bed I'd wonder if I'd still be around in the morning.

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