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>
There were not many directors like Zeffirelli around during those golden years -sixties and seventies -of the Italian cinema.Because he was not part of the champagne socialists,because he made movies completely devoid of social concerns,he was generally dismissed by the European critics (and his fellow colleagues) as non-hip and reactionary. When you see these movies today,you realize how much they have worn well,and how much his detractors were wrong:Zeffirelli has never tried to change the world,but he has given beautiful movies which have stood the test of time quite well,perhaps because they are timeless.Even an epic and absorbing -and diametrically opposite to Zeffirelli's cinema - political work like Bertolucci's "Novecento" (1976) displays cheesy gauchism so trendy before the eighties in Europa .
This is the second of the three Zeffirelli screen adaptations of Shakespeare -as a matter of interest,the others are "taming of the shrew"(1967 with E Taylor and R Burton) and "Hamlet" (1990 with M.Gibson and G.Close)-and it 's probably the best:Zeffirelli's genius was to cast actors (about) the age of the heroes as the leads.And Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey,both very beautiful,make up for their lack of experience with their youth,their innocence and the intensity of their looks.They are far better than Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes in the drag queens cum west side story Luhrmann's 1996 version.Besides they get strong support from dark-haired Mickael York as Tybalt and John MCEnnery as Mercutio.The colors are,as always in a Zephirelli movie (see taming,and his made-for-TV Jesus)dazzling.Two scenes stand out:the ball and the lovers death in the Capulet tomb.
Filmed on location in Verona,we never have the feeling that we are watching filmed stage production,not a small feat.This is the definitive screen version of the Elizabethan classic.Sir Laurence Olivier is the narrator.
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