Monday, September 18, 2006

The Promised Analysis of Kiss Me Kate

First things first, if you're looking to have a bad time at a movie, or you want to leave a movie feeling badly about yourself, I don't recommend this one. If you want to feel badly about yourself and how all of your supposed problems are pretty non-problematic, I recommend watching this show which I came across when I got home last night. Nothing that is more sad comes to mind. But, the movie that is in the title of this post will leave you feeling pretty doggone happy. In fact, as long as you don't just outright despise old movie musicals, you're probably going to love this movie, and even if you have your reservations about them, this one will grab you by the ears and shout at you, "I'm really funny, dang it! Go make me some pie!"

The basic premise of the show is that a composer and an actor are looking to do a musical remake of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. The actor has the brilliant (and awfully cheeky) idea to cast his ex-wife in the part of the shrew (Get it?). She has her reservations at first (especially when she realizes that her ex-husband's new girl friend will have another large part in the show), but she eventually acquiesces when she realizes that the part of the shrew really is a part that will show off her acting and singing skills.

The rest of the movie is a mixture of opening night of the show itself and the backstage hi jinx that ensue as various miscommunication occurs.

Oh, and, as the movie poster would suggest, there's spanking.

Act one ends with the actor's ex-wife realizing that a bouquet of flowers that she received from him prior to the show were meant for someone else. This causes her to be furious, and understandably so. From the moment she realizes this, she starts beating him up on stage.

By "beating him up on stage," I, of course, mean slapping him around on stage every opportunity she gets.

And what is a 1953 actor to do? Why, just prior to the fall of the curtain signaling intermission, he puts her over his knee and takes great joy (as the movie poster would suggest) in spanking her.

This naturally leads to the following questions: did men in 1953 really spank their wives in an effort to chastise them for wrong-doing? Did President Eisenhower slip that that was okay somewhere into his Presidential acceptance speech? If it were at one point acceptable, at which specific point did it become unacceptable?

I will accept any reasonable answers to this question, and take them as truth.

Also, one of my favorite scenes is one in which two gangsters who have been sent to collect on a debt for their mob boss sing a song about how, in order to impress the ladies, one should "Brush Up your Shakespeare." I will leave you with a stanza from said song:

"Brush up your Shakespeare, start quoting him now.
Brush up your Shakespeare, and the women you will wow.
If your goil is a Washington Heights dream,
Treat the kid to "A Midsummer Night Dream."
If she fights when her clothes you are mussing,
What are clothes? "Much Ado About Nussing."
If she says your behavior is heinous
Kick her right in the "Coriolanus."
Brush up your Shakespeare
And they'll all kowtow,
And they'll all kowtow,
And they'll all kowtow."


Julie_Gong said...

great scene. the main reason i love musicals (real musicals meaning the old ones) is because of the dancing. i'd have to say my favorite scene is with Ann Miller and the other main charcters are dancing in the market. i love that scene. its amazing. the whole movie is actually i think.

Analyst Catalyst said...

Actually, the dancing is something that I forgot to write about. I was amazed at how well they danced in this movie, and I was even more impressed when I thought about the fact that, because it was a movie, each of the dance scenes was probably shot two or three times. With the apparent difficulty of the movement, those people were obviously terrific athletes.

Sigh. I wish I could dance well, as opposed to looking like stop motion animation.

miss thany said...

I have Kiss Me Kate sitting on the DVR right now and I am looking forward to seeing it again. I think the last time I watched it was back in high school some Saturday afternoon with my sis.

When you dance, AC, just try to think light like Ann Miller. You can do it, you are the AC!

Analyst Catalyst said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

I think that what frustrates me most about the whole process is that it seems like I should be able to do it. I mean, at least the easy stuff should be, by definition, easy.

I feel like I'm getting there; every time that I have to dance for something, it gets a little bit easier.

Red Riding Hood said...

Does the gf make you dance for your supper? Is that what is helping the most?

Analyst Catalyst said...

That's right! I would have thought that she would have gone for the much more obvious singing for you supper, but she's a slave driver, that one!