Kiss Me Kate (1953)

MGM could have called its musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew “The Taming of 3D”.  Shot at a time when new screening systems were coming and going, the picture was shot simultaneously in 3D, standard Academy format and widescreen. In planning the film for those different formats, however, director George Sidney produced a 3D wonder, using ceilings and forced perspective to showcase the technique dramatically. The film screened flat for its premiere run at the Radio City Music Hall but played in 3D in other theaters for a few months. Then the decline of the 3D craze led MGM to call back its 3D prints and the film has rarely screened in the original 3D since. The film is a tune-filled delight, with Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson as bickering exes who carry their fights on stage while playing Petruchio and Kate, and Ann Miller as the soubrette whose flirtations complicate matters. They perform a collection of classic Cole Porter hits, including “So in Love” and “Too Darn Hot.” In addition, Porter gave MGM “From This Moment On,” a song dumped from another show. For that number, choreographer Hermes Pan let Bob Fosse stage his brief dance duet with Carol Haney. The sequence was so effective, it won him the chance to choreograph on Broadway.

(d. George Sidney, 109m, Digital 3D)