Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

The Taming of the Shrew (1980, Jonathan Miller)

TitleThe Taming of the Shrew
Release LocationsGB
DirectorJonathan Miller
MediumColor video
Length2 hrs, 5 mins
Audiencecollege and university
general public
high school
Play ConnectionsThe Taming of the Shrew (teleplay)
SeriesThe Shakespeare Plays


The most extraordinary thing about this production was Jonathan Miller's assault on stage tradition that saw Petruchio converted from a kind of rollicking swaggerer (e.g., Douglas Fairbanks and Richard Burton) into a rigid, suffocatingly puritanical figure. Miller's Petruchio somehow got cross-hatched with Malvolio. Miller's characteristically brilliant rationale for this apparent absurdity, however, was that Petruchio is actually a puritan. One only has to think of his constant exhortations to Kate that mere outward appearance, fine clothing, do not make the man. This point he underscores by showing up at the wedding outfitted in a ridiculous getup. To make the joke even more delicious, Miller selected one of the funniest men alive, John Cleese, of the Monty Python show, to play this solemn Petruchio. It's like casting Woody Allen as Hamlet. Moreover Miller gets away with it. He creates an absorbing show

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

KatherinaSarah Badel
BiancaSusan Penhaligon
BaptistaJohn Franklyn-Robbins
VincentioJohn Barron
LucentioSimon Chandler
PetruchioJohn Cleese
GremioFrank Thornton
HortensioJonathan Cecil
TranioAnthony Pedley
BiondelloHarry Waters
GrumioDavid Kincaid
CurtisAngus Lennie
PedantJohn Bird
ServantBev Willis
WidowJoan Hickson
TailorAlan Hay
HaberdasherD. Kinsey
NicholasDerek Deadman
PeterDenis Gilmore
PhilipGil Morris
GregoryLeslie Sarony
NathanielHarry Webster

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorJonathan Miller
ProducerJonathan Miller
Literary ConsultantJohn Wilders
EditorHoward Dell
ComposerStephen Oliver
Adaptor/TranslatorDavid Snodin
CostumesAlun Hughes
MakeupEileen Mair
SoundChick Anthony
MixerJohn Barclay
CameraJim Atkinson
Production AssistantAlan Charlesworth
ProductionColin Lowrey

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell