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Romeo & Juliet - Opening Scenes Comparison - Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zefferelli.

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Romeo & Juliet - Opening Scenes Comparison Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zefferelli William Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet has been made into two very successful films. In 1968 Zefferellis version was a huge success and in 1997, another version, a very different version was a production from Baz Luhrmann. In this essay I will identify and explain the differences and similarities between the two, using evidence such as quotes from the play to support my ideas. Baz Luhrmann' s opening prologue is a simple television in the very centre of the screen using only a small space. With the background left pitch black and a brightly coloured dressed reporter on the screen, her voice is the only sound that is heard leaving the audience no choice but to focus all attention on her, they are immediately drawn to the film. While the prologue is read in a serious American voice from a black lady in the form of a news reporter the audience begin to realise that this is a true story, and everything she says is to be believed just as we do in real life, the news is real. It also brings out its first theme; it's a modern film. ...read more.


Love is also shown in body language. When the two families are in conflict, it isn't serious. They are arguing in a very amusing way as if it's all a joke to them. A Montague puts their arm around a Capulet, out ruling any theme of hatred. Western style is used in Luhrmanns production, even though it's set in Verona in modern day, the Capulet's have cigars sticking out of their mouths as if mimicking a straw, and occasionally the music becomes western based. The Capulets also have guns strapped to their belts like cowboys do. The effect this has on the audience would be portraying them as "baddies" and showing that this scene is serious, it's battle-like and somebody could get hurt. A big difference between these two films is the setting. One is modern and one is old. Baz Luhrmann uses a modern setting, a petrol station, and modern props such as guns and modern costumes such as tuxedos. These all reflect the time periods in which it was filmed and fashions that were around at the time. Same with Franco Zefferellis, only his is an old setting, using old props like swords and old costumes such as joker or clown outfits, this film is set in Shakespearean times, suggesting a reason for it's uses of old props and costumes and old setting which is a market place. ...read more.


It could be saying indirectly 'add more fight to the argument' suggesting to the audience that something here is going to become dangerous or violent. There are a balanced amount of differences and similarities in this area. My opinion of these two films is simply based on the director's use of the above points. I found Franco Zefferelli's version very hard to understand and as a result I lost interest and was not too bothered about viewing the rest of the film. There was no proper introduction of the characters and the words were spoken in very fast way. However, I liked the fast pace and the music of Baz Luhrmann's version and found the opening scene very eye catching. There were lots of people in Zefferellis version, which added to the confusion but Luhrmann, boldly introduced them and made me keen and eager to continue my viewing. In conclusion, there were many differences between these films and not very many similarities, one was a modern film and one was an old film. If the directors had used the same techniques and ideas making them too similar, the films wouldn't have been so successful and bought out their own style. Each director demonstrated the tragedy of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet equally well; I just preferred Baz Luhrmann's interpretation, as it was a modern day production and more suited to my predilection. 20/2/2003 Sophie Wong ...read more.

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