I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Awesome Adaptations (1) - Woman of Fire

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,

Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.  Anyone can play along! Each week I will be writing about an adaptation of a book that I think is worth seeing and I have challenged myself to come up with suggestions to match a category. If you’re playing along on your own blog, just mention Picturemereading in your post and include the banner above. Let us know which film you’d pick and why it is an awesome adaptation worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!

An awesome modernization of a classic story

Joan Hackett as Margarita and Pernell Roberts as Adam Cartwright
Well, as I mentioned on Alisa's blog, I had been thinking of writing a post about this episode of one of my very favorite TV shows, Bonanza.  It's a 1960s western and I grew up watching it on reruns.  Wrangling it into this category is a bit of a stretch, as it's not very modern (although modern compared to the source material?) and not a film, but I really love this episode and really wanted to blog about it!

Episode Title: Woman of Fire
Adapted from Taming of the Shrew by William Shakespeare

The Cartwrights are hosting some guests from Mexico - Don Miguel and his two daughters Margarita and Elena.  Elena, the second born, has two suitors already vying for her hand.  Margarita is going to meet a possible suitor, sheep rancher Don Luis.  But Margarita has a violent temper.  And no one can silence her, until Adam Cartwright, in a pique when she punches him in the gut, spanks her.  Okay. Kinda weird.  Acceptable for 1960s television I guess.  So her family beg him to try and make her more reasonable before Don Luis comes, so that she can be married off.  Adam doesn't want to, until she breaks his guitar (sent all the way from New York!) so guess what?  It's on!!  And Adam does everything he can to aggravate her.  Pretending to be helpful he "fixes" her bed so that it collapses, makes her a terrible breakfast, "accidentally" pours cold hot chocolate on her and then tries to clean it up by pouring water on it.  Eventually he gets her to admit that being polite and pleasant is not such a bad thing, and that because she doesn't want to live alone, she can bank the fire.  

Now you would think that's the last of it.  Nope.  Don Luis arrives and is disappointed that Margarita is not exhibiting the famous temper he's heard about.  He says to Adam that he is a sheep rancher and he does not want a sheep for a wife.  So now Adam has to undo his teaching and when they have a picnic the next day he does his best to make her lose her temper.  He does the sun is a moon bit from the book, escalating into pushing her into the lake.  And still, through clenched teeth, she maintains her temper.  Until Adam pushes Don Luis into the lake, and she finally loses it.  

What I like so much about this episode - well aside from how funny it is - is the twist that Don Luis wants Margarita the way she is.  Such a nice touch, and an improvement on the message we get from Taming of the Shrew.  There are a couple scenes that show the vulnerability of Margarita and they play so well in this; it makes me cheer for Margarita, that even with her prickly personality, she just wants a suitor to accept her for who she is.  

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  1. I remember this episode and I totally agree..I think it fits perfectly!
    Oh and as for the meme I am planning on using webseries, a t.v. show, some movies..so it's any type of format you like in terms of adaptations! :) So for anyone playing along I love the idea of using any sort of adaptation format! :)

    1. I forgot to say as well I loved the twist in the story too! :)

    2. Oh good, not just films then! That will make things a bit easier. And I didn't know you watched Bonanza - at least I have forgotten as I'm sure it had to come up before! So yay that you've seen it! :)

    3. I haven't seen all of the episodes but I was a nick at nite addict at one point of my life..and I watched everything on there 'The Famous Mr. Ed.' and 'The Patty Duke Show' etc.!
      Yes definitely! I need to change that in the Meme so people know that television is perfectly acceptable as long as it is based on a book, play etc.