In Shakespeare's classic play, the Montagues and Capulets, two families of Renaissance Italy, have hated each other for years, but the son of one family and the daughter of the other fall desperately in love and secretly marry.
It's 1929. The studio gave the cinema its voice gave offered the audiences a chance to see their favorite actors and actresses from the silent screen era to see and for the first time can ... See full summary »
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.
Contrary to popular belief, this was not the first screen adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. A silent film was made in 1920, but all copies of the film have since been lost. See more »
Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair Verona, where we lay our scene, From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life.
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The fine cast and production make this adaptation of "Romeo & Juliet" a satisfying one, both as a movie and as a realization of Shakespeare's play. Most of the cast is matched up very well with their characters, and the lavish settings provide a good backdrop for the drama.
Although it's soon clear that Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer are quite a bit older than the original characters were, in other respects they are well cast. Shearer's eager innocence and Howard's refinement fit together well, and although they are clearly not the teenage characters of the original, their romance is believable and convincing in itself.
The other roles include some nice casting. Reginald Denny as the loyal Benvolio, Basil Rathbone as the hard-hearted Tybalt, and Edna May Oliver as Juliet's bustling nurse are all enjoyable to watch. But the highlight of the cast is John Barrymore, who steals every scene as the fun-loving, ill-fated Mercutio, a character who is well-suited to Barrymore's strengths. It's a blessing that at least one of Barrymore's numerous Shakespearean roles was captured in a film for posterity.
The script abridges many of the scenes for cinematic purposes, and it does well in fleshing out the basic story with the duels, festivities, and other events, at times also dramatizing developments that in the original text are only mentioned by the characters. Overall, it is a well-conceived, well-executed, and enjoyable movie version of the famous story.
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