Kiss Me Kate

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Overview

Cole Porter fanatics had every reason to think they had caught a glimpse of heaven during the spring of 2003 -- first George Sidney's 1953 film Kiss Me Kate, adapted from the stage hit, came to DVD (along with the movies High Society, Silk Stockings, Broadway Melody of 1940, and Les Girls, all built on Porter songs or shows), and then, just a few weeks behind it, Michael Blakemore's Kiss Me, Kate (2003) arrived on DVD. The disc for the 1953 film, from Image Entertainment, doesn't have any extras, but it doesn't ...
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Overview

Cole Porter fanatics had every reason to think they had caught a glimpse of heaven during the spring of 2003 -- first George Sidney's 1953 film Kiss Me Kate, adapted from the stage hit, came to DVD (along with the movies High Society, Silk Stockings, Broadway Melody of 1940, and Les Girls, all built on Porter songs or shows), and then, just a few weeks behind it, Michael Blakemore's Kiss Me, Kate (2003) arrived on DVD. The disc for the 1953 film, from Image Entertainment, doesn't have any extras, but it doesn't need any either. The show was the biggest success of Porter's entire career, running over 1,000 performances in New York in a time when 600 was considered a hit -- Blakemore and the cast, led by Brent Barrett and Rachel York, make this funny and exciting to watch from the opening shot, and the camera is nearly as athletic in its moves as the dancers are in theirs. The medium shots have enough resolution to display skin textures, and the production strikes a good balance between the setting of the slightly seedy theater company and the color demanded of the play the actors are staging; the lighting, based on what we see here, deserved some kind of an award for its delicacy, tone, and range. The audio is captured in Dolby 2.0 stereo and 5.1 Surround, either of which is impressive in its dimensionality -- on a big-screen monitor, with a proper audio setup, this presentation will run circles around the original PBS broadcast from February 2003, and for the truly ambitious, there's a DTS 5.1 surround track that gives only greater depth as well as breadth. The only real flaw in the mastering is the relative paucity of chapters. There are just 22 of them, and given that the piece runs 147 minutes (albeit delightful minutes), the producers might have broken the work down by more than its actual songs, marking out a plot development or two. As for which Kiss Me Kate version is preferable, it's an impossible toss-up -- the MGM movie has considerable virtues, several of which are impossible to ignore, but Image's disc is a superb rendition of the show that revived Porter's career and lofted him to his last 15 years of success; on the other hand, one cannot ignore the fact that even Blakemore's production appropriates the film's most important innovation, the addition of the song "From This Moment On." Perhaps the best decision would be to view both; be assured, you won't be bored, and you'll love the doubling up of the pleasures like a banquet multiplied by two.
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Special Features

[None specified]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/13/2003
  • UPC: 014381018028
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: Image Entertainment
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Alternate Wide Screen (1.78:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / DTS
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:27:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Brent Barrett Fred Graham, Petruchio
Rachel York Lilli Vanessi, Katharine
Nancy Anderson Lois Lane, Bianca
Michael Berresse Bill Calhoun, Lucentio
Jack Chissick Second Man
Nicolas Colicos Harrison Howell
Teddy Kempner First Man
Colin Farrell Harry Trevor, Baptista
Kaye E. Brown Hattie
Nolan Frederick Paul
Alan Vicary Ralph (Stage Manager)
Duncan Smith Pop (Stage Doorman)
Nick Winston Gremio
Barry McNeill Hortensio
Andrew Spillett Nathaniel, Cab Driver
Christopher Stewart Gregory, Dance Captain
Philip Sutton Philip
Richard Sidaway Haberdasher
Michael Berrisse
Technical Credits
Michael Blakemore Director, Screenwriter, Teleplay
Chris Hunt Director
Helen Asquith Executive Producer
Roger Berlind Producer
Paul Gemignani Musical Direction/Supervision
Roger Horchow Producer
David Horn Executive Producer
Nobuo Isobe Executive Producer
Kathleen Marshall Choreography
Martin Pakledinaz Costumes/Costume Designer
Andy Picheta Producer
Richard Price Producer
Margaret Smilow Executive Producer
Jac Venza Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title; Another Op'nin', Another Show [13:38]
2. Why Can't You Behave? [7:05]
3. Wunderbar [7:25]
4. So in Love [5:47]
5. We Open in Venice [4:06]
6. Tom, Dick or Harry [6:48]
7. I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua [5:15]
8. I Hate Men [7:07]
9. Were Thine That Special Face [10:52]
10. Cantiamo d'Amore (We Sing of Love) [3:49]
11. Kiss Me, Kate [5:46]
12. Too Darn Hot [18:23]
13. Where Is the Life That Late I Led? [9:54]
14. Always True to You in My Fashion [9:18]
15. From This Moment On [4:28]
16. Bianca [7:40]
17. So in Love (Reprise) [2:53]
18. Brush Up Your Shakespeare [4:59]
19. Pavane [2:51]
20. I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple [2:00]
21. Kiss Me, Kate (Finale) [:49]
22. End Credits [:57]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Start the Play
   Select a Song
   Audio Selection
      Dolby Digital 5.1
      Dolby Digital 2.0
      DTS 5.1
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    OUTSTANDING!

    This performance of Kiss Me, Kate is absolutely amazing. I'm just sad that they don't have a soundtrack. I have the 1999 Broadway cast soundtrack on my iPod, but Rachel York and Brent Barret certainly give Marin Mazzie and Brian Mitchell a run for their money. AMAZING PRODUCTION!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    why it's more than wunderbar!

    This is soooooooo amazing. Lead by the very handsome Brent Barrett and the gorgeous Rachel york, this is the funniest, and best musical I've seen recentely. I saw only a bit of it on PBS in October. I saw Rachel doing her 'I hate men sequence' up till this point, the only other version of Kiss me kate I'd seen was the 1953 movie version. (i'd listened to the Patricia Morison/Alfred Drake version, but it's different when you actually see the play) Now, it must be stated, Kathryn Grayson's 'I hate men' is a product of the production code policy, so it was a very clean, innocent version. Suddenly I see Rachel grabbing herself, screaming about, and stimulating a birth scene in detail, all the while, her curls are bouncing everywhere. I didn't really like it at first, but i had to admit the girl had extrordinary vocal range, but it seemed a bit vulgar compared to Ms. Grayson. I turned the TV off for a while, but came back a bit later and saw the first 3/4 of the second act. (to the end of 'from this moment on scene') It then started growing on me, I decided to rent the DVD. WOW!!!!!!!! seeing it from the beginning was some thing else. I fell in Love! I've now bought the DVD, and seen it about 3,000 times. (that's barely an exaggeration) Brent and Rachel have such chemisrty, and what talent!!!!!!!!!!! They are truly two of the most versatile, and talented performers today in theater, and trust me, I've seen ALOT of theater. They are certainly the top. Rachel's range is so unbelievable, her emotion, her comedic timing as well as dramatic, she's incredible. Brent does the impossible, make Fred a true overbearing thetaer ham, and yet make him so incredibly likable. Don't waste anymore time, order it now!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Rachel York Is a Must See

    This version of 'Kiss Me, Kate' is an absolutely glorious production of the classic Broadway musical comedy based on Shakespeare's 'The Taming of the Shrew.' Standout performances and a brilliant directorial vision combine to make this THE very best production ever. The DVD of this PBS Great Performance will rule for ages. Rachel York as Lilli/Kate and Brent Barrett as Fred/Petruchio each bring an underlying tenderness to their off-stage characters that makes you ache to see them get back together in the end. Sure, they rant and rave and fight like wildcats, just as their on-stage counterparts do. But never do you forget that they love each other. Too many productions of this very funny show-within-a-show make the leads one dimensional and totally unlikeable, acting as if they hate each other. This production, directed by Michael Blakemore and performed throughout with tremendous energy and skill, is first and foremost a love story. Everything else - the tongue-in-cheek wit, superb singing, vibrant dancing, innovative orchestration, and even bawdy physical humor - is consistent with the passion that emanates from the two leads. And the two leads are superb. Rachel York has a vocal range that is unequalled in musical theater today. She sings her torchy version of 'So In Love' with a heartbreaking sincerity, then belts her 'I Hate Men' with raucous wild abandon. She ultimately reaches the stratosphere with her amazing coloratura soprano in her screamingly funny rendition of 'Kiss Me, Kate.' Matching her every step of the way is Brent Barrett. He infuses his 'Were Thine That Special Face' and reprise of 'So in Love' with absolute adoration, but also demonstrates unbridled machismo in 'I've Come to Wive It Wealthily in Padua' and 'Where Is the Life That Late I Led.' The chemistry between York and Barrett is palpable, even on DVD. They accentuate their volatile relationship with unexpected touches of genuine endearment, such as an unconscious tender brush of an arm during 'Wunderbar' or a glistening tear in the eye during the finale. The entire cast keeps up with the pace and tone set by York and Barrett. The show never lets down, and everyone seems to be having great good fun with the unrepressed music and lyrics of Cole Porter. This PBS version of 'Kiss Me, Kate' will undoubtedly prove to be a classic, with the performances by Rachel York and Brent Barrett considered definitive. It will surely be the standard against which all future Kates are measured. It is an unabashed winner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Kiss Me Kate

    This is THE best movie ever. It's a lot better than the original. In this film, there is comedy, romance, and so much more! I loved this show before but this has heightened my affection for it. I would reccomend this video out of any other! If you're only thinking about buying it, stop thinking and get your money out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    You'll fall in love with Kiss Me Kate!

    I would have to say my favorite musical is Kiss Me Kate. This version is better than the original movie and is certainly better than the broadway casts. Brent Barrett and Rachel York have wonderful chemistry.They can't live without each other, it's so touching! Rachel York has the most beautiful voice and she's so incredibly talented! Kiss Me Kate is hilarious and has everything a musical should have. This DVD is a must have for any theatre fan!

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