Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

The Taming of the Shrew (1908)

TitleThe Taming of the Shrew
Release LocationsUSA
MediumBlack & white video
Length10 mins
Play ConnectionsThe Taming of the Shrew (abridgment)


As the work of D.W. Griffith, America's premiere auteur, this version of Shrew has historical interest. The Biograph pictures logo, "B," appears in many places nested away in the painted sets to identify the maker and to protect against piracy. Only a fragment of the film remains, a reconstruction of a paper roll, in the Library of Congress collection. The best part of the film is Florence Lawrence, the delightful star of so many silent Shakespeare films. Originally known as the "Biograph Girl," she was later ballyhooed by the Carl Laemmle company as the "IMP" (Independent Motion Picture) girl. As the IMP girl, she became the first "free agent" in Hollywood history and thus overturned the economic basis of the industry by making the star system possible. If not much else of Griffith's genius can be detected in the surviving remnant of the film, at least her presence adds further evidence to his reputation for discovering talent. The Gish sisters were to come later, but in the mean time Florence Lawrence's fresh looks exactly fitted the requirements for a Griffith heroine

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

KateFlorence Lawrence
PetruchioArthur Johnson

Production Team and Crew Overview

Adaptor/TranslatorDavid Wark Griffith
LightingArthur Marvin

Company Overview

Producer American Mutoscope and Biograph Company

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell