The works of William Shakespeare have been adapted to the screen more times than any other author, and ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is way up there with at least 44 direct screen versions and even more adaptations (West Side Story, anyone?). It speaks to the way that Shakespeare still speaks to the populace, or at least to the number of filmmakers who want to make their own mark cinematically with the Bard’s words. To that end, Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 version stands out largely because of the youth of the title couple. These young lovers caught the social unrest at the time and made a big splash on the big screen. But how well does it hold up today? Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we close out our celebration of films from 1968 celebrating their 50th anniversaries with Zeffirelli’s second Shakespeare adaptation – Romeo and Juliet.
We talk about our feelings about Shakespeare in general and this play specifically and how those feelings likely shaped our viewing of it. We look at the performances of Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey as the teen lovers and why they largely work for us. We chat about the feel of the film and if the cinematography, locations, costumes and production design help give us a feel of this world. And we debate not only this film’s place in the award season discussions of the year but also close out this overarching 1968 series with a look back at everything we’ve discussed and what, if anything, we’d change about the award recognition.
It’s a good adaptation of the Bard’s tale and allows for a spirited discussion. Check it out then tune in! The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins.
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