The Montagues and the Capulets, two powerful families of Verona, hate each other. Romeo, son of Montague, crashes a Capulet party, and there meets Juliet, daughter of Capulet. They fall passionately in love. Since their families would disapprove, they marry in secret. Romeo gets in a fight with Tybalt, nephew of Lady Capulet, and kills him. He is banished from Verona. Capulet, not knowing that his daughter is already married, proceeds with his plans to marry Juliet to Paris, a prince. This puts Juliet in quite a spot, so she goes to the sympathetic Friar Laurence, who married her to Romeo. He suggests a daring plan to extricate her from her fix. Tragedy ensues. Written by
John Oswalt <email@example.com>
Scenes of combat that will stir your pulse...tender haunting romance that will stay ever fresh in your memory...spectacular beauty that will set a feast for your eyes...in the greatest melodramatic romance of all time...presented as it has never been before...the final glorious flower of motion picture achievement.
This was the last film producer Irving Thalberg personally produced before his death. The film's Los Angeles premiere took place at the Carthay Circle Theater on September 14, 1936, the night of Thalberg's death. Frank Whitbeck, the radio announcer for the broadcast of the premiere, decided not to interview the stars of the movie on the air. The actors were so grief-stricken that Whitbeck was afraid they would break down crying, so he simply announced their names as they arrived. See more »
The lavish treatment given to this by MGM and Irving Thalberg (his final production showcasing his wife Norma Shearer as Juliet) does work, as do the mature lovers and their supporting cast (Leslie Howard fitting the part of Romeo perfectly, John Barrymore and Basil Rathbone out-swashing each other as Mercutio and Tybalt), Edna May Oliver as the Nurse, typically loud, and Ralph Forbes as a bizarre Paris (no, I can't see why Juliet would want to marry him either, despite her parents' wishes). The music is lovely, despite being stolen from more classical stuff, the settings are perfectly in tune, the verse is spoken with some feeling and inspiration. Why this version doesn't get seen more often I don't know (not even on video in the UK).
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