The Taming of the Shrew
, has often been held up as the most ridiculous in Hollywood history: "By William Shakespeare, with additional dialogue by Sam Taylor." That's a laugh, but on the stage or on the screen, it's no kind of joke to add to the Bard. MoMA's two-week "Breaking Bard: Shakespeare on Film"
series celebrates adaptations, many as brilliantly presumptuous as Mr. Sam Taylor, of the plays that are the very headwaters of our language. Here's some trad favorites — Olivier as Hamlet, McKellen as Richard III — but also many reimaginings, most of them not weary, flat, stale, or unprofitable: Jarman's diced-up fantasia of a Tempest
(1979); Polanski's scarifying Macbeth
(1971); Taymor's avant–Grand Guignol Titus
; Baz Luhrmann's spasming, shorthanded Romeo + Juliet
. The inspired-bys are themselves inspired, including a stellar Bollywood Macbeth
(Vishal Bhardwaj's Maqbool
) and one splatter-comedy horror freakout (Tromeo & Juliet
). They feature mostly additional dialogue, of course. Cheers to the inclusion of Gary Hardwick's Deliver Us From Eva
(2003), a Shrew
-taming comedy with L.L. Cool J and Gabrielle Union."Breaking Bard: Shakespeare on Film" runs through October 24 at MoMA. Click here for the screening schedule.
This onscreen credit, from the 1929 Douglas Fairbanks/Mary Pickford