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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks at sexuality in the movie Kiss Me Kate, and it is also viewed through the lens of race. Although the film seems on the surface to be a comparatively faithful adaptation of the stage musical, the chapter highlights that it betrays the Broadway material by replacing the two African American characters, Paul and Hattie, with two white characters, Paul and Suzanne. The Broadway Paul’s non-diegetic song ‘Too Darn Hot,’ which explicitly deals with male impotence during hot weather, is reassigned in the movie to Ann Miller, for whom it becomes a diegetic showcase of both her tap dancing ability and her potent sexuality (she is heavily objectified in the number). Hattie’s ‘Another Op’nin’, Another Show,’ meanwhile, is cut apart from a brief piece of orchestral underscoring. In this, the film is a problematic reflection of its time, as is the manipulation of the direction for the briefly popular 3D technology that was used during the making of the film. The chapter concludes that ‘the charisma of Sidney’s adaptation lies in the conviction of our love for the score, the strength of the central performances, and the visual character of the film rather than in its deference to the original Broadway text.’

Keywords: Pal Joey, The Lady is a Tramp, Frank Sinatra, Babes in Arms, masculinity

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