Sonora, Mexico, 1852. During war with the apaches and the invasion of the US in Mexico, a muleteer decides to leave home to find a better place to live. To do so he will have to cross the land of the Chiricahuas to find gold.
Shakespeare's classic tale of romance and tragedy. Two families of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets, have been feuding with each other for years. Young Romeo Montague goes out with his friends to make trouble at a party the Capulets are hosting, but while there he spies the Capulet's daughter Juliet, and falls hopelessly in love with her. She returns his affections, but they both know that their families will never allow them to follow their hearts. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
According to Paramount Pictures' souvenir book, it appears Zeffirelli either filmed and cut or at least intended to film the scene where Paris confronts Romeo at Juliet's tomb and is killed by him in a sword fight. Fencing master Niccolo Pena was engaged to train Leonard Whiting, Michael York, John McEnery and Roberto Bisacco, the actor who played Paris. The book states, "Romeo, Tybalt, Mercutio ad Paris all get into trouble through their haste to draw a sword." It goes on to mention that Whiting was given an authentic Renaissance sword to use in the film. See more »
The Prince's speech during the funeral includes the line "I...too have lost a brace (i.e. a pair) of kinsmen." In this version, only one of the Prince's kinsmen (i.e. Mercutio) is killed. Count Paris, the Prince's cousin who is slain by Romeo in the play, is left very much alive in this version. This may indicate that the film was trimmed before release, and that the death of Paris was actually cut. The souvenir program given out when the film first played in theatres indicates that plans were originally made for Paris to be killed by Romeo, just as in the original play (there is a reference to "the graveyard where Romeo slays Paris"). See more »
My only love sprung from my only hate. Too early seen unknown, and known too late.
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A scandal that the Academy did not give this best film
I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Odeon Leicester Square, the day after the Royal Premier and from that day I was hooked on this film. I went back three times with different sets of friends just to watch it again and each time I enjoyed it more. Now owning it on DVD when I want to just feel good about films I watch it!
So much has already been written about the youth of the two young unknown stars and the chemistry that they had on screen that I don't need to repeat it now. However the key to this film's great success was that it was visually stunning, Zefferelli is the master of using colour, setting and costume to great effect. He was so clever in his casting, not just with the very handsome young Leonard Whiting who at the time when I was only 18 myself I thought was gorgeous but also the innocence of an immature Hussey was perfect. A master stroke was Milo O'Shea as Friar Lawrence, never ever has there been a better role for this talented by rarely seen Irish actor.
It's pointless complaining that the text is cut, by leaving out Romeo killing Paris and also the apothecary selling Romeo the poison in no way detracts from the overall imagery and beauty of Shakespeare's text. To have made the film using the whole text would have been too difficult and perhaps Zefferelli did want to portray Romeo as a little nicer than he actually was. In truth he was a fickle young man as all teenage boys can be and also prone to an amount of passionate violence so prevalent in adolescence. But this was Italy in Tudor times when life was cheap and the willingness to reach for the sword was as it should be.Shakespeare understood human nature better than anyone and that's why all his plays show so much insight into the human spirit.
Zefferelli balanced the film perfectly, nothing was overdone. He combined the tragedy with the humour as well as the love story by casting the right actor for each role and even if some of them faded into oblivium later, for this film they were all perfect. I never want to see another version. Baz Luhrmann's pales in comparison and thats not a bad film.
Come the Oscars I waited with baited breath having convinced myself that it would get best film - I was so disappointed!. It did collect Best Costume and I think Best Cinematography, but what a travesty, especially when the film that did win that year was not even in the same league and is hardly ever remembered. It's always very difficult to succeed with Shakespeare on the big screen but this version of Romeo and Juliet had it all. Only Kenneth Brannagh's mammoth production of the uncut version of Hamlet comes anywhere near this wonderful film.
How Nino Roto's soundtrack also missed out on an Oscar I will never understand. Footnote: Luciano Pavarotti has recorded the main love theme and it's called Ai giochi addio - it is so beautiful it will make you cry as you remember the film.
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