“Romeo and Juliet”
Essay Question: Both films of ‘Romeo & Juliet’ display the values and attitudes of their contexts. Which is the better version? Justify your answer with references to the films and the plays.
Answer: The two version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that we watched were the 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version, staring Leonard Whiting, and Olivia Hussy, and the 1996 Baz Luhrmann version, staring Clair Danes, and Leonardo De Caprio. Within both of these versions the plot line is still the same, with Romeo meeting Juliet at her father’s party, and the two of them falling in love, getting married, and then killing themselves, both versions in which Romeo kills himself by drinking poison, but the differences that the two directors used are very visible in the movies, such as the obvious change of where the scene was set, and the substitute of the swords for guns, the neon crosses, and the major fact that Mercutio is black and gay. Both of the two films display the attitudes of their very different times.
The 1968 Franco Zeffirelli version of Shakespeare’s play, set in the Renaissance era of the 17th century, seems to be more of a better portrayed version than that of the 1996 Baz Luhrmann version, set in a more modern time of the 20th century. The Baz Luhrmann version of the play seems to be a lot more contempory than the older version. The way that Baz has cast the movie first of all gives the impression that this particular version of Romeo & Juliet is going to be very modernised than that of the Franco Zeffirelli version. The casting includes Leonardo De Caprio, and Clair Danes, both of which are not very suitable for the roles of Romeo & Juliet, as they give a more 21st century feel to the film than the casting of the Franco Zeffirelli version does. The castings of the 1968 version are based around actors that are close to the age of the actual Romeo & Juliet, who are played by Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussy. The two actors that are cast in the 1968 version basically have not been seen in the cinemas before, giving the roles that they play a more realistic visualisation then the Baz Luhrmann stars Leonardo De Caprio and Clair Danes. Because these two stars have been in other movies before ‘Romeo& Juliet’, and because the movie is supposed to be a Shakespeare play, they don’t give the roles a “real” vibe. Within the actual play,...