Romeo and Juliet (1968 film)

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Romeo and Juliet
Romeo-and-juliet-DVDcover.jpg
Directed byFranco Zeffirelli
Produced byJohn Brabourne
Anthony Havelock-Allan
Screenplay byFranco Brusati
Masolino D'Amico
Franco Zeffirelli
Based onRomeo and Juliet by
William Shakespeare
Narrated byLaurence Olivier
Starring
Music byNino Rota
CinematographyPasqualino De Santis
Editing byReginald Mills
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release datesOctober 8, 1968 (1968-10-08)
Running time138 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Italy
LanguageEnglish
Budget$850,000[1]
Box office$38,901,218[2]
 
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Romeo and Juliet
Romeo-and-juliet-DVDcover.jpg
Directed byFranco Zeffirelli
Produced byJohn Brabourne
Anthony Havelock-Allan
Screenplay byFranco Brusati
Masolino D'Amico
Franco Zeffirelli
Based onRomeo and Juliet by
William Shakespeare
Narrated byLaurence Olivier
Starring
Music byNino Rota
CinematographyPasqualino De Santis
Editing byReginald Mills
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release datesOctober 8, 1968 (1968-10-08)
Running time138 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Italy
LanguageEnglish
Budget$850,000[1]
Box office$38,901,218[2]

Romeo and Juliet is a 1968 British-Italian romance film based on the tragic play of the same name (1591–95) by William Shakespeare.

The film was directed and co-written by Franco Zeffirelli, and starred Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. It won Academy Awards for Best Cinematography (Pasqualino De Santis) and Best Costume Design (Danilo Donati); it was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture. Laurence Olivier spoke the film's prologue and epilogue and reportedly dubbed the voice of the Italian actor playing Lord Montague, but was not credited in the film.

Being the most financially successful film of a Shakespeare play during that time, it was popular among teenagers partly because the film used actors who were close to the age of the characters from the original play for the first time. Several critics also welcomed the film enthusiastically.[3][4]

Plot summary[edit]

In Verona, Italy, the longstanding feud between the Montague and the Capulet clans breaks out in a street brawl, broken up by the Prince of the city. The same night, two teenaged children of the two families — Romeo (Montague) and Juliet (Capulet) — meet at a Capulet feast and become deeply infatuated. Later, Romeo stumbles into the secluded garden under Juliet's bedroom balcony and the two exchange impassioned pledges. They are soon secretly married by Romeo's confessor and father figure, Friar Laurence, with the assistance of Juliet's nursemaid. Unfortunately, another street duel breaks out between Juliet's first cousin Tybalt and Romeo's best friend Mercutio when Tybalt insults Romeo. Since Tybalt is Juliet's cousin and Romeo has just been married to Juliet, he sees Tybalt as family and refuses to fight him, leading Mercutio to be a loyal friend and fight for him. This leads to Mercutio's death. Romeo retaliates by fighting Tybalt and killing him, and is punished by the Prince with banishment instead of the death penalty.

Unaware of Juliet's secret marriage, her father has arranged for her to marry wealthy Count Paris. In order to escape this arranged marriage and remain faithful to Romeo, Juliet consumes a potion prepared by Friar Laurence, intended to make her appear temporarily dead for forty-two hours. Friar Laurence plans to inform Romeo of the hoax so that he can meet Juliet after her burial and escape with her when she recovers from her swoon, so he sends another Friar, Friar John, to go and give Romeo a letter to make him aware of his dearly beloved's "death." However, when Romeo's servant, Balthasar, sees Juliet being buried, he thinks she is dead, goes to tell Romeo and unfortunately reaches him before Friar John. In despair, Romeo goes to Juliet's tomb and kills himself there by drinking a poison. Awakening shortly after he expires, Juliet discovers a dead Romeo and proceeds to stab herself with his dagger to join him. Later, the two families attend their joint funeral together and agree to end the feud.

Production[edit]

Set in a 14th-century Renaissance Italy in varying locations:[5]

Casting[edit]

Rosaline in Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, one of the few films to give her a visible role.

According to Franco Zeffirelli's autobiography, Paul McCartney was originally asked to play the part of Romeo.[6]

Main Characters

Reception[edit]

The film earned $14.5 million in domestic rentals at the North American box office during 1969.[7]

It was re-released in 1973 and earned $1.7 million in rentals.[8]

Film critic Roger Ebert has written: "I believe Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet" is the most exciting film of Shakespeare ever made".[9]

According to ratings aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the film is positively reviewed by 97% of critics.[10]

Soundtrack[edit]

Two releases of the score of the film, composed by Nino Rota, have been released.[11][12]

"Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet"[edit]

The film's love theme was widely disseminated, notably in "Our Tune", a segment of BBC disc jockey Simon Bates's radio show. In addition, various versions of the theme have been recorded and released, including a highly successful one by Henry Mancini, whose instrumental rendition was a Number One success in the United States during June 1969.[13]

There are two different sets of English lyrics to the song.

In popular culture[edit]

Thom Yorke cites the film as one of the inspirations for the Radiohead song "Exit Music (For a Film)", which was written specifically for the ending credits of the 1996 film William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet. Said Yorke, "I saw the Zeffirelli version when I was 13, and I cried my eyes out, because I couldn't understand why the morning after they shagged, they didn't just run away. The song is written for two people who should run away before all the bad stuff starts. A personal song."

Kevin and Paul go to see the film in the episode "Wayne on Wheels" in season three of "The Wonder Years."[14]

Celine Dion referenced this film, in particular the "hand dance" scene, in the video for her 1992 single "Nothing Broken but My Heart."

Japanese manga artist Rumiko Takahashi referenced the Zeffirelli film in two of her manga and anime works. In one episode of Urusei Yatsura, devious troublemaker Ryoko Mendou invites the series' male protagonist, Ataru Moroboshi, to have a "Romeo and Juliet" rendezvous with her, and wears a dress based on Olivia Hussey's from the 1968 film. Later, Takahashi's Ranma 1/2 featured a storyline in which the lead characters, Ranma Saotome and Akane Tendo, are cast as Romeo and Juliet in a production of the play at their high school. Takahashi designed Ranma and Akane's costumes for the play with Whiting and Hussey's outfits in the Zeffirelli film in mind.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 p399
  2. ^ "Romeo and Juliet, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Adler, Renata (9 October 1968). "Movie Review - Romeo and Juliet (1968)". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (15 October 1968). "Romeo and Juliet". Chicago Sun Times. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Liner notes (back cover) from Romeo & Juliet: Original Soundtrack Recording, 1968, Capitol Records ST 2993
  6. ^ "Did You Know?". IMDb. Retrieved 3 August 2009. 
  7. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1969", Variety, 7 January 1970 p 15
  8. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 60
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (15 October 1968). "Romeo and Juliet". RogerEbert.com. Roger Ebert. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  10. ^ "Romeo and Juliet (1968)". RottenTomatoes.com. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 17 January 2014. 
  11. ^ "Romeo & Juliet: Nino Rota: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  12. ^ "Nino Rota Romeo & Juliet Soundtrack HDtracks high resolution audiophile music downloads". HDtracks.com. 1999-12-04. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  13. ^ Bronson, Fred (1992). Billboard's Book Of #1 Hits (3rd ed.). New York, New York: Billboard Publications, Inc. p. 255. ISBN 0-8230-8298-9. 
  14. ^ The Wonder Years (season 3)
  15. ^ The storyline spans chapters 74 through 77 of the manga and episode 39 of the anime titled Kissing Is Such Sweet Sorrow! The Taking of Akane's Lips. http://www.furinkan.com/ranma/misc/index.html

External links[edit]