Sunday, March 16, 2008

Homage or Plagiarism?

Kiss me, Kate. Dir. Chris Hunt. Perf. Brent Barrett and Rachel York. 1999. DVD. Image Entertainment, 2003.
The 1953 Kiss me, Kate cuts the number “I am Ashamed that Women are so Simple.” The 2003 release of the 1999 London stage revival leaves it in. Immediately afterwards, Katherine / Lilli gives this enormous wink—one reminiscent of the wink in the Sam Taylor Taming of the Shrew (for which, q.v.). It has to be enormous so that the people in the back row will be able to see it—it’s primarily a stage production, after all.

Does that wink count as indebtedness, homage, an allusion, or down-and-out plagiarism?

I ask because it happens frequently in film—and, perhaps, particularly frequently in Shakespeare-related film.

Next time, homage in Much Ado About Nothing.

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Unless otherwise indicated, quotations from Shakespeare's works are from the following edition:
Shakespeare, William. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Gen. ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
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