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A Comparison Of Luhrman's and Zeffirelli's film Versions Of Romeo And Juliet

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Introduction

A Comparison Of Luhrman's and Zeffirelli's film Versions Of Romeo And Juliet I am comparing Franco Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet, which was produced in 1968 and has won several academy awards. One critic stated "His film has become the definitive version in high school classrooms across the country." I am also reviewing Baz Luhrman's Romeo + Juliet. This was produced in 1995. What can you say about a version of Shakespeare that ends with a helicopter chase? As you would imagine it is a much more modern version than Zeffirelli's. I am going to review 2 parts of each of the films and try and come to a conclusion to show which is better and why. The scenes I will be reviewing are the opening scenes and the party scenes. Both films are based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet but each portrays the play in a completely different way. Zeffirelli's version was rated a PG although there are scenes including nudity. Luhrman's was rated a 12. I imagine this is because so of the violence throughout and the fact that guns were often used and scenes such as Mercutio's death scene which is gory and gruesome. Luhrman's opening scene starts with a television in the middle of the screen. ...read more.

Middle

It then moves on to quick moving party lights flashing throughout the Capulet's house. Then we see Mercutio, in the middle of some huge stairs, dressed in women's clothes. Dancers surround him and loud 'party' music is playing in the background. This shows modernism in the film. Zeffirelli wouldn't have dreamt of putting this in his film. Purely because people's attitudes to sexuality, cross-dressing etc. has changed a lot since 1968. The carpet on the stairs is bright purple and there are bits of strong reds all around the room. Again, this is one of the many things that makes this film modern and relates it to a modern audience. The camera is constantly closing in on Romeo and then quickly panning to a close up of Juliet, showing their facial expressions and hinting at their feelings. The camera is mainly level with the actor's heads. This makes the audience feel as if they were in the room with the characters. The party is set in a big house with large, bright stairs in the centre of the back wall. The room where the characters are dancing is brightly decorated with flowers. There are also lots of mirrors and a very large window. ...read more.

Conclusion

He didn't use many modern effects because these would not have been available when Shakespeare wrote his play. Luhrman's film was a lot more modern. He has turned a historic play into a modern film for the people of today. His fast editing and constantly panning camera angles along with his fantastic sound and visual effects made this film an amazing version of a fantastic play. He modernises the play so well by doing things such as making the character 'Paris' into 'Dave Paris' and 'Prince' into 'Captain Prince.' He uses guns instead of swords, which not only modernises the film but also makes it a lot more interesting and fast moving. A sword-fighting scene could go on forever but by using guns the fight is over with one shot. I think that the only things these films have in common are their titles and the language used in them and even that is spoken in completely different ways. I think that Luhrman's film is a lot better than Zeffirelli's purely because I can relate to it. Its modernisation makes it fast and exciting. It is a completely enjoyable film and I would certainly recommend it. If I could sum up each film in a few words, they would be: Luhrman's - Exciting, Fun, Fast and Modern Zeffirelli's - Slow, Historically accurate, Romantic and Tight trousers! Created on 14/11/2002 16:59Steve Livesey ...read more.

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