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Compare two versions of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare. The versions I will be comparing are Franco Zefferelli's made in 1967 and the more recent film, Baz Lurhmann's version, made in 1996.

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Introduction

Romeo + Juliet In this essay I have been asked to compare two versions of Romeo and Juliet, written by William Shakespeare. The versions I will be comparing are Franco Zefferelli's made in 1967 and the more recent film, Baz Lurhmann's version, made in 1996. In class we mainly concentrated on Act 1 of each film, which is what I will be analysing in this essay. At the beginning of the play, Capulet servants, Sampson and Gregory pick a fight with the montagues. As the opposing families start to fight, Benvolio (a montague) tries to calm down the situation but Tybalt adds flames to the fire by accusing the Montagues of being cowards. Prince Escales stops the riot and threatens death if they fight in public again. Benvolio told Lady Montague that Romeo had been keeping himself to himself. Romeo tells Benvolio that he is sad because the love of his life, Rosaline does not love him in return. Benvolio tells Romeo to look at other girls to help him through his sadness. Paris wants to marry Juliet (a capulet) although she is only 13 years of age. Capulet says he will agree to the marriage if Juliet consents. He invites Paris to his party that night. ...read more.

Middle

If younger people did not know of Shakespeare and his famous scripts, then the actors would attract them to see the film. In my opinion it is better to have well-known actors because when people see the trailers for the film, the actors' names are likely to draw attention. The film was a 12 certificate. This shows that Lurhmann's version was made for an older audience, with more adult content. Both of these productions used the original Shakespeare dialogue. Both films set the scene for a tragic-romance by beginning with loud, dramatic music in the background, which attracts the audience's attention to the importance of the scene. A man with a deep voice introduces Zefferelli's version, I think this was because a deep voice makes the introduction more powerful and memorable making people more likely to listen and concentrate. Baz Lurhmann's version starts with a female news reader on television reporting a riot between the Capulets and the Montagues. I think this is trying to show the audience that the film has its fair share of action. It is also relating to modern life with people finding the latest headlines from the news. In watching both films I realised that Shakespeare's original script has not been altered that much, if at all. ...read more.

Conclusion

The difference in setting of the films is plain to see by the music the directors chose. Zefferelli relies on classical type music while Lurhmann chooses a loud beat, more 21st century style music. I think Zefferelli uses classical music because his version is slightly more romantic than Lurhmann's. For example, having a masquerade ball is more romantic than a 'rave'. As Zefferelli's version was made in the 1960's there are no special effects but Lurhmann uses them to highlight the modernistic setting of his film such as the narration being by a TV newsreader. I think all these modern alterations will allow people of our generation to relate to the film better. I had not watched either film before this piece of work and I was impressed with both of them. I preferred Lurhmann's version because I could relate to it better and I am more used to that kind of setting. Another reason I preferred Lurhmann's version was that I knew the actors and could judge if they were acting to the best of their ability, which I believe they were. A reason why I might have preferred Zefferelli's version is the setting is more realistic to what Shakespeare intended for the play. I have learned over this piece of coursework that Shakespeare's writing is very powerful and can be used very well with a more modern setting. ...read more.

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