From the stage play of the same name.
This is the filmed version of the Broadway revival from 2000…evidently the only time it was revived, although I find that hard to believe. They performed it in front of a live audience for the filming.
Well…hm. On the one hand, there are a lot of good things about this production, and it may very well earn Otter Family Favorite status…I certainly have heard Mr. Otter playing his favorite bits over again several times in the last three days since we watched it. The leads were really good- all could sing, act and dance, and they all looked right.
Unfortunately, the guy who played Frederic Graham, although he was handsome, funny, and could sing…was just not sexy. Not a bit. In a role where he should be shooting sparks off every which way, as indeed Howard Keel did in the 1953 movie of Kiss Me Kate, he was not a bit steamy. Ah well.
The musical numbers were staged well, the sets and costumes were good, and the songs were, by and large, wonderful.
But…the script. We have actually ordered a copy of the libretto, unable to believe that (as claimed) what they filmed was the original play…the cover of the dvd does say that the production was ‘adapted’ for television (they televised this particular performance after filming it) and there were absolutely no bonus materials, so there is nothing to tell what was ‘adapted’ or why they did what they did. It seemed to us that one character was ludicrous, even for a musical, and just screamed out TOPICAL…the story’s end was weak, the best scene (and a major amount of final explication) cut to ribbons, and the songs were in VERY odd places…truly, if this is indeed the actual script, they did it a favor rewriting it for the movies. More on this when the libretto arrives…
Verdict: the 1953 movie was better, but this is a kick and well worth watching.