(II) (1916)

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Wherefore Art Thou, Romeo?
wes-connors26 April 2009
A synopsis reveals this to be a faithful adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet". Film historian Anthony Slide reported the only significant difference being, "Rosaline, the girl of whom Romeo is enamored before meeting Juliet, is shown, not merely talked about." In his early 30s, Francis X. Bushman might seem a little too old, by present standards, to be playing "Romeo Montague"; but, audiences in 1916 couldn't have cared less. As one of the most popular leading men from the era, Mr. Bushman would have been a natural casting choice.

Immensely popular, Bushman was in the "Top Ten" of the decade's "Motion Picture Magazine" favorites lists: star #4 in 1912, #6 in 1913, #10 in 1914, #3 performance of 1915 in "Graustark", star #3 (and #1 male) in 1916, # 2 (and #1 male) in 1917, and #10 in 1918. Popular co-star, probable off-screen lover, and future Mrs. Bushman, beautiful Beverly Bayne was "Juliet". This film competed with a the near-simultaneous release of box office rival Theda Bara's version. If only the two had performed "Romeo and Juliet" in the same film, and had it survive the ages…

***** Romeo and Juliet (10/19/16) John W. Noble ~ Francis X. Bushman, Beverly Bayne, Fritz Leiber
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