Shakespeare Plays Available in Video Format
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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
Cymbeline
Hamlet
Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
King John
King Lear
Love’s Labour’s Lost
Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1929: Sam Taylor

1967: Franco Zeffirelli

1976: Kirk Browning

1980: Jonathan Miller

1982: Peter Dews

1983: Peter Dews/John Allison

1988: Richard Monette

2013: Toby Frow


Adaptations

1953: Kiss Me, Kate

1958: Kiss Me, Kate

1994: Aida Zyablikova (animated)

1999: 10 Things I Hate About You

2003: Kiss Me, Kate

2005: ShakespeaRe-Told: The Taming of the Shrew


Related

2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 1


The Taming of the Shrew
1980: Jonathan Miller

Almost at the very opposite end of the spectrum from Zeffirelli’s and Browning’s renditions, is this entry into the BBC Shakespeare Plays series. Reactions to it were very mixed, and a number of people vehemently disliked it. A number of others have told me that they thought it was far and away the best version of The Taming of the Shrew ever made or ever likely to be made.

Costumes and staging are minimal, but adequate. One does not expect the lavish from the BBC Shakespeare Plays. The heart of its strategy, though, is that it casts John Cleese of Monty Python fame (a remarkably capable actor) as Petruchio. Rather than the swaggering braggart-conqueror one finds in most productions of The Taming of the Shrew, he plays a role rather like his nameless character in The Great Muppet Caper, who watches Miss Piggy scaling the outside of his house with a kind of bemused detachment. Here also he hems his role around with a very drily humorous English reticence, appearing to be perpetually perplexed, but at the same time wholly unrattled by anything that happens, making weird decisions less in an attempt to be coercive than just because he never seems to get what’s going on. In the end, his apparently unassailable imperturbability wears Katherine down. Doing this to the character of Petruchio is in most ways counter-intuitive, but the effect is (to my taste) oddly appealing. Whether one likes the film or not, however, it forms, in conjunction with the Zeffirelli production and maybe one or two others, a case study in how flexibly one can approach Shakespeare without transgressing the basic sense of the text.


Baptista’s Servant: Bev Willis

Baptista: John Franklyn-Robbins

Bianca: Susan Penhaligon

Biondello: Harry Waters

Curtis: Angus Lennie

Gregory: Leslie Sarony

Gremio: Frank Thornton

Grumio: David Kincaid

Haberdasher: David Kinsey

Hortensio: Jonathan Cecil

Katherine: Sarah Badel

Lucentio: Simon Chandler

Nathaniel: Harry Webster

Nicholas: Derek Deadman

Officer: Tony Martell

Pedant: John Bird

Peter: Denis Gilmore

Petruchio: John Cleese

Philip: Gil Morris

Tailor: Alan Hay

Tranio: Anthony Pedley

Vincentio: John Barron

Widow: Joan Hickson