Friday, April 20, 2007

Shakespeare Series: Romeo and Juliet - 1968

Staring: Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey
Director: Franco Zeffirelli

The ultimate version of the tragic love story, the 1968 version has just about everything correct in it that other versions of the tale may lack. Some consider this the “definitive” version of the work – and I almost can’t disagree. You'll see my take on the 1996 ghastly work, Romeo + Juliet.

Not familiar with the plot of Romeo and Juliet? My God…

I think one of the strong points about the film is that the principal cast members – specifically Leonard Whiting (Romeo) and Olivia Hussey (Juliet) were actually young. So young in fact that Zeffirelli had to get special permission for a scene where 15 year old Hussey is topless (only for a brief moment). According to IMDb, Hussey wasn't legally allowed to attend the London premier of the movie as it contained nudity because she was under the age of 18. Bummer.

Imagine this though: Paul McCartney was originally asked to play the part of Romeo. Yikes.

Zeffirelli went on to direct Mel Gibson’s Hamlet.

Verdict: **** ½ /*****

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