The Opening fight scenes of Franco Zeffirelli’s, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

The Opening fight scenes of Franco Zeffirelli’s, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

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Romeo and Juliet is known through out the world for its heartrending story of two young star-crossed lovers, who had the inability of being united due to the feud between their families. Many films and books, all over the world, have used this famous playwright as an inspiration. As they were inspired, the story of Romeo and Juliet had kept spreading worldwide.

Franco Zeffirelli had directed the first version of Romeo and Juliet in 1968. He had casted the vital roles of Romeo and Juliet to Leonard Whiting and Olivia hussy, who were both unrecognised actors before the releasing of the movie. Meanwhile, Tybalt and the Prince of Verona were played by two recognisable actors, Micheal York and Robert Stephens. Micheal York was fairly accounted for some other films, whereas Robert Stephens was the most recognisable as he had already previously starred in a couple of the other Shakespearean films.

The modernised 1996 version was directed by Australian Baz Luhrmann. The vital roles of Romeo an Juliet in this movie were played by well-known experienced actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Clare Danes, both of whom have been nominated awards for starring in previous films.

Luhrmann had decided to retain the original Shakespearean dialogue as he started the prologue of his movie with a news broadcast. This represents the modernly communication. This showed that Luhrmann had wanted to change a lot of the settings and make it more modern compared to the play, but he kept the dialogue the same as he wanted the film to remain authentic in it’s own way. However, Zeffirelli had the narrator presenting the prologue over a background of an Italian city.

In Luhrmann’s version he had located the opening fight scene to be in a petrol station. A pet...


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...wn touches to the the film, without making it identical to the play. The action was intense and the story was more understandable even with the original dialogue from the play. He had retained the original dialogue so that he can represent the actual play and his creativity at the same time, when he was modernising his version of the film. However, I thought that Zeffirelli wanted his film to fully represent the the original play. It was helpful, because he tried to show how the play was visualized when Shakespeare had created it. You can clearly see this, as the site to where the scenes were filmed in the film is similar to where the scenes were set in the play. Although, Zeffirelli’s version had left me quite disappointed because I felt like I was reading the whole play over again, but I would have wanted to see more of his creativity like I did in Luhrmann’s film.

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