July 22, 2013

Movie Monday: Kiss Me Kate

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Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson) and Fred Graham (Howard Keel) are two of Broadway’s most popular musical theater stars. They are also a divorced couple who kind of hate each other. He’s arrogant and ambitious, she’s spoiled, greedy, and selfish, but they are both incredibly talented and make a great team on-stage, so they take on the lead roles in a new musical, “Kiss Me Kate,” a musical version of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.

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Also going to be in the new show are newcomers Lois Lane (Ann Miller) and Bill Calhoun (Tommy Rall) as the dancing supporting actors. Lois has been dating Fred to get the parts for herself and her boyfriend, which makes Bill anything but appreciative. To get revenge, he gives Fred’s name to some mobsters he owes money to. So on top of the storyline mirroring the source play, there’s a pretty wonky subplot involving a couple of incompetent mobsters (Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore).

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“Kiss Me Kate” has been one of my favorites since I was a kid. I asked my voice teacher in 5th grade to let me sing “I Hate Men” (she didn’t go for it) and Kathryn Grayson is one of my vocal idols. I was always fascinated by Ann Miller’s amazing dance skills. And Howard Keel and Tommy Rall…need I say more? The songs are all fantastic, the dancing is sensational, and if you are any fan of Shakespeare it’s a treat to see how much of the actual text is incorporated into the script and lyrics. “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” is a witty classic. Oh, and did I mention it was filmed in 3D? Of course, on TV the effects aren’t there, but you can still tell where the 3D tricks are put in, and that’s a fun Easter Egg hunt to spot them.

“Kiss Me Kate” will be on TCM on Sunday, July 28, 5:00 am CST.

Honorable Mentions:
Between Two Worlds (1944) – Tuesday, July 23, 9:00 pm CST
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – Wednesday, July 24, 12:30 pm CST
AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Mel Brooks – Wednesday, July 24, 11:30 pm CST
Young Frankenstein (1974) – Wednesday, July 24, 1:00 am CST (Wednesday night)
Dead Poets Society (1989) – Thursday, July 25, 9:00 pm CST
Where Angels Go…Trouble Follows (1968) – Thursday, July 25, 1:00 am CST (Thursday night)
The Lemon Drop Kid (1951) – Friday, July 26, 8:15 am CST
Guys and Dolls (1955) – Friday, July 26, 2:15 pm CST
Wuthering Heights (1939) – Friday, July 26, 2:30 am CST (Friday night)
She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) – Saturday, July 27, 5:00 pm CST
Tootsie (1982) – Saturday, July 27, 7:00 pm CST
Dangerous When Wet (1953) – Sunday, July 28, 9:00 am CST
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) – Sunday, July 28, 11:00 am CST

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