Musical Monday: Kiss Me, Kate, darlings!

Posted on May 14, 2007

Yes, it’s Kiss Me, Kate! It’s like Shakespeare – with tap-dancing! This thing has enough plot for three or four of Shakespeare’s plays, so let’s get crackin’!

Our story opens with Howard Keel as Fred Grahame, a vain, recently divorced musical star. He’s hanging out with his good buddy Cole Porter, who in this film is heterosexual and can stand unassisted. They’ve got a hot script – a musical comedy based on The Taming of the Shrew – and they want to convince Fred’s former partner to hop on.

Enter Kathryn Grayson as Fred’s ex-wife, Lilli. Lilli has decided to forgo the requisite vagina hat and is instead sporting the forward-thinking “pubic hair” hat. Lilli’s all set to tell the boys not to waste their time with her when there’s another knock at the door.

Why, it’s our favorite gal, Ann Miller, fresh in from a busy night on the docks. Ann plays Lois Lane (no, seriously), a hoofer with a heart of gold and a hunger for the big time. Ann can sense that her beau is looking to cast his ex-wife and she can’t have any of that, so she rips off her clothes and taps her ass off.

Go girl, go! Just try and tell us that she didn’t have several orgasms while performing that number. In fact, we propose an Ann Miller drinking game. Everyone has to do a shot every time she orgasms while tapping. Try it at home! Make your own alcoholic!

Suddenly, the script is looking awfully juicy to Lilli and a cagematch almost erupts, but Fred avoids bloodshed by casting them both in the play.

Later, in rehearsals, Ann demonstrates how she got the part. Ann’s not one of those girls who sits around waiting for a breeze to air out her ladybits. She’s all about taking matters into her own hands.

Ann’s other beau, Bill shows up. He’s her dance partner and he’s just no good for her. She begs him to straighten up for their shot at the big time and he tells her that he just signed over an IOU for two thousand dollars to a couple of gangsters, but here’s the kicker, kids: He signed Fred’s name! Oh, the comedy that’s sure to ensue now!

Ann drags him up to that place in musicals where one must always go to have important conversations – the roof – and pleads with him to behave.

It’s not the best song in the world, but the dancing and the outrageous overacting of Ann make it all worthwhile.

Meanwhile, in Lilli’s dressing room, the hidden rage and passive aggression are in full force. Lilli’s engaged to a rich Texas oil man and she flaunts the rock on her finger because…well, because she’s a bitch.

And a cocktease, apparently.

These two have an unfortunate habit of breaking into song constantly. No wonder they divorced. They always had to rehearse their arguments for two days before they could have them.

Ruh-roh! We all didn’t see THAT coming, did we, kittens? We’re 15 minutes into this film and we already need to recap the plot:

Howard’s in love with Kathryn but he’s dating Ann. Ann is just using him to further her career, but she’s really in love with Bill. Bill owes money to gangsters but the gangsters think Howard owes it to them and Kathryn is engaged to Tex but is clearly still in love with Howard.

You still with us? There’s more.

The gangsters show up to collect the money and Fred has no idea what they’re talking about, so they politely leave. Seriously. If all gangsters were like that, we’d all be doing business with them.

Meanwhile, a character actress delivers some flowers to Lilli. They’re from Fred. You know what that means.

Singing.

Fred is perfecting his “George Michael” look when he realizes his manservant gave the flowers to the wrong girl. They were supposed to go to Ann. He beats him roughly, praying that Lilli hasn’t read the card yet.

No time to worry about that now! It’s curtain time!

And Shakespeare is weeping somewhere.

Although we have to say, that’s a killer set.

Every musical, even if it’s a mediocre one, has one song, one bit that just makes up for the entire two hours.

Ann Miller joyfully singing about dick with Bobby Van, Bob Fosse and Tommy Rall waving their hot asses in our faces?

That’ll do.

In other news…

Howard Keel is not afraid to look like a complete dork.


He sings about looking for a wife, but there was really only one reason for this screencap. Can you guess?

Lilli, in a fit of unprofessionalism, takes her flowers onstage and decides to read the card in the middle of the play. Hilarity of course ensues, as Lilli bypasses shrewdom and heads straight for unmitigated bitchery, almost ruining the play on opening night. This bitch needs to get fired.

But Howard comes up with a better idea. Wouldn’t it be great if the entertainment industry handed out spankings to its divas more often?

Backstage, a character actress can’t tell the difference between Lilli’s head and her ass. Lilli is leaving right in the middle of the play and she calls her Texas boyfriend to come and pick her up.

Howard has a better idea. Spanking and gun threats! What refreshing and unusual methods to ensure entertainment quality! Why isn’t anyone doing this to Lindsay Lohan?

Under threat of murder, the play goes on…

…and unexpectedly veers straight into “gay pride” territory.


Lilli keeps trying to run offstage, but Fred put the gangsters in costumes to keep her in line. Tex shows up and Lilli begs him to take her home.

Is your head spinning from this plot yet?

While Lilli’s getting changed, Ann spots Tex and Ann’s a girl who can smell money from several blocks away. She waves her tits in his face, but to no avail. Oh well. He’s not the first fancy boy Ann’s seen backstage and he’s sure not to be the last.

Has everyone forgotten they’re in the middle of performing a play?

Because the gangster to whom the money was owed died unexpectedly, the thugs decide to let Lilli go.

Meanwhile, Ann and the boys are doing all the heavy lifting on stage.

FANTASTIC number, but the real treat is watching baby Fosse as he learns how to become BOB FOSSE, jazz-hands and all.

This thing’s been going on for almost two hours and they need to wrap things up…

…so Lilli unexpectedly and without any explanation, shows up on stage even though we watched her drive away five minutes earlier. It was the spanking. She clearly wanted more.

All’s well that ends well and Fred and Lilli inexplicably balloon to massive ghostly proportions and float out over the audience, terrifying them.


Until their gigantic, leering, painted faces fill the screen and haunt us for years to come. Eat that, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Next week: We enjoy being a girl, darlings!

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

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