The Major Differences Between Two Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet

The Major Differences Between Two Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet

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The Major Differences Between Two Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet The major differences between the two movies Romeo and Juliet who were
made by Franco Zefferelli in 1968 and Baz Luhrmann in 1998, are that
they were interpretative different ways because the historical and
social context of the two films which may have influenced the two
directors to portray their movies the way they did. . One
interpretation was to make an authentic realistic movie trying keeps
to the original era it was set in which was the medieval ages. The
other interpretation was a very modern and tried to make a lot of
money using its modern sound and visual special effects.

When Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet he did not included a lot of

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stage directions in his script. This meant that the director of the
movie had to interpret the movies the way they had pictured or thought
it should be. Both of these directors had different ideas on how to
illustrate this story to people in film form as they have approached
it in different techniques and at different times meaning their
audience intended was different and their culture and social and
historical context would be different.

In both the movies the directors try to portray their characters in
different ways. They both had different ideas of how they should
display the characters. The parties they must have gone to when they
were younger influenced them to make the party scene how they did and
dress the characters as they did. That is why Zefferilli wanted to
have plain mask on just like the medieval ages and why Baz Luhrmann
choose to do a costume party, which is very popular now a days. In
Zefferelli's movie he tried to show the characters personality by
their words they spoke or their actions, which was similar to Baz
Luhrmann, but Baz Luhrmann wanted to use the costumes at the Capulet
party to show their relevance and personality in the play. In Luhrmann
movie Luhrmann dressed tybalt as a devil to show his evil and
wickedness. Also it shows that he is feared just like the devil is and
he is powerful. Romeo was dressed as a knight to show that he was
brave and noble. Juliet was dressed as an angle to represent beauty,
innocence, purity, and gentleness. Also the fairy represents light and
the theme of star-crossed lovers. Lady Capulet is dressed in her
Cleopatra costume to represent that she is rich and spoiled and tries
to be the queen of seduction like Cleopatra was. Capulet was dressed
as a Caesar to represent his power and wealth. Zefferelli did not use
costumes but he did use some clothing to represent the characters. He
portrayed Juliet in a bright red dress compared to all the other girls
who was very dark colours so that she stands out and he used to flaps
on Tybalt's hat to try and portray him as the prince of cats.

Some of the characters personalities were also different, as
Shakespeare's text did not include a lot of information about all the
characters. Lady Capulet was portrayed very differently in the two
movies. Zefferelli choose the stage direction to make Capulet a very
high and well respected woman as Shakespeare would but Baz Luhrmann
choose to make lady Capulet a more stuck up and spoiled woman who is
more of a joke. Also Luhrmann wanted to show a closer relationship
between lady Capulet and Tybalt by making them kiss. Kissing is a sign
of closeness in our time and so we would understand what it meant and
this may have influenced luhrmann to add the kiss in to represent
their closeness. Also Juliet is portrayed as a very young innocent
girl in Zefferelli's movie but luhrmann used a more mature girl to act
as Juliet. Luhrmann also males Romeo a very emotional person as he
carries his heart on his sleeve but if he is sad he will be deeply
depressed but if he is mad he will go on a rampage and regret his

Baz Lurmann opened his scene with bright fireworks trying to use the
affect of light, which ties in with the theme of star-crossed lovers.
Also this is one of the historical and social influences, which made
Baz Luhrmann uses fireworks to show light as he could of used fire or
something else but instead he choose something that now a days people
like to do when there is a party or holiday. At this point when we see
the fireworks Romeo has just taken the ecstasy pill. The ecstasy pill
is a social influence that made the movie more modern and made Baz
Luhrmann choose this drug to show that Romeo was leaving his fate to
the stars. Romeo heard of this party from a talk show. This is a very
modern approach and everyone watches television so the television
influenced Baz Luhrmann to show this and add it to his movie. When
then enter the party we see Tybalt and lady Capulet kissing showing
the closeness between them. Baz luhrmann portrayed their closeness
like this and this was one of his directorial decisions he had to make
because Shakespeare did not give them any direction, he just gave them
the text. We then are pulled to Mercutio's dance in his transvestite
costume to modern up beet music, which shows that the movie is moving
faster. The director wanted to show that the play was moving faster by
added this music which is another historical and. Romeo then becomes
dizzy as we see it through point of view and Baz Luhrmann then takes
line from the end of the play and moves it now. The line was 'drugs
are quick' Romeo then wakes up in water as he washes his face. Water
plays a very important role in this movie, as it is where he sees
Juliet and it is where the balcony scene is in water when Romeo goes
to see Juliet. Tybalt sees Romeo and goes to see Capulet. He tells
Capulet and keeps saying that he wants to fight but Capulet just wants
peace and said forget it. Then Capulet gives tybalt a big smack in the
mouth for his disobedience. Tybalt getting smacked was something that
Luhrmann added and was not in Shakespeare's text and so he wanted to
show that Capulet was a powerful figure by slapping tybalt. Romeo sees
Juliet through the fish tank with very bright colored fished zooming
around. We see Romeo looking at Juliet and Juliet looking at Romeo
through their point of view. This prop the Luhrmann used is very
important. He used the fish tank to shoe a barrier between them and
the barrier is the family's hate. Luhrmann could of used anything like
what Zefferelli used, which was a person, but he didn't, as he was
inspired to use the fish tank because of his culture. Then we see them
smiling and for the first time they are close together and there is no
barrier when Romeo is superimposed on to Juliet's side of the fish
tank. This is a more modern way to put Romeo and Juliet together
unlike Zeffirelli who chose to make Romeo and Juliet dance together.
As this is happening Luhrmann thought that he should put a song right
when this happens and so this makes a more romantic mood and slows
down the movie. He also dresses the singer in a bright pink outfit
symbolizing the love at first sight when Romeo and Juliet see each
other. Juliet is taken by her mother and introduced to Paris. Paris
and Juliet dance together but Romeo is watching and Romeo and Juliet
have a laugh together but Paris thinks Juliet is laughing with him
instead of at him. This comedy was added by Baz Luhrmann to try and
slow the movie down a bit. Romeo then hides behind a wall and recites
a sonnet to Juliet who picks up on the sonnet and joins in. this
hiding behind a wall is a very traditional perspective of this sonnet.
The wall is another prop Baz Luhrmann uses to show a barrier. Romeo
and Juliet then kiss and go into an elevator but when the door opens
the nurse is there. The nurse takes Juliet upstairs where lady Capulet
and Paris are waiting and at this point Romeo has found out that she
is a Capulet and dramatic music comes on. Juliet is higher then Romeo
and is like the balcony scene.

In the Franco Zefferelli version the opening shot of the party scene
immediately gives you medieval feeling as we are entering an old
castle which he uses to make the film more realist and towards his
culture at the time. Also as we enter we see bright torches which ties
into the theme of star crossed loves and also gives a more medieval
touch as there were no light bulbs to try make it as authentic as he
could. He could have used fireworks like luhrmann but he was going for
a medieval view at in 1968 old fashion or classic films as we say
today was very popular. The historical and social context may have
persuaded him to have the party in a castle with torches. When the
characters enter with their masks Romeo is looking for a girl and the
camera angle is through his point of view. We then see through his
point of view a girl twirling off the screen like a curtain for Juliet
to enter. As soon as we see Juliet the music changes so that the mood
is now more romantic and the pace of the movie slows down. This shows
that Juliet is very important. Also Juliet is very white and we have
camera shoots through Romeo's point of view Juliet being portrayed
against a dark background, which shows she stands out and is
important. Also her bright red dress stands out from the other dark
dresses. When she is dancing she has very swift movements to show that
she stands out from the other girls. As she is dancing she quickly
looks over to Romeo and we immediately know that Romeo likes Juliet as
he rushes off and tries to get close to her. At this point the camera
work also adjusts as Romeo and Juliet see each other and the shots get
lengthier and is more focused on Romeo and Juliet. We then see Romeo
trying to get close to Juliet but there is someone in the way. This is
a significant camera shot as it is the first time they are in the same
shot although they are very far apart and someone in the way, which
represents a barrier. This is a very simple barrier compared to
Zefferelli and the movies during 1968 were very simple in plain with
props and special affects, which probably inspired Zefferelli to use a
person instead of a prop. This was a very cleaver stage direction by
Zefferelli. Tybalt finally releases that Romeo is in the Capulet's
house and goes to seek Capulet he finds Capulet and tells him that
Romeo is here. Capulet responds by saying that he wants peace and just
go enjoy you and have fun and forget about Romeo. The conversation get
cut off and we see the medieval dance Zefferelli added to his stage.
Dancing was quite a popular culture during Zefferelli's life and so he
wanted Romeo and Juliet to be close for the first time during the
movie. Romeo and Juliet then start to dance and you can see in their
eyes that they are in love. As Juliet and Romeo are spinning there are
a lot of giddy shots which show Juliet is having a good time and that
she is taken in by love. After the dance is finished we jump back to
Tybalt and starts to complain to Capulet about Romeo. Capulet then
thrusts Tybalt to the wall and tells him off until lady Capulet comes
in. lady Capulet being very smart and honored comes to tybalt and asks
him to dance to keep him out of trouble and smiles so that everyone
around them does not notice that something went wrong or that there
was a fight. There is also quick editing to show the movie is moving
faster. Then Zefferelli added a very famous love song, which was not
in the script. At his point Romeo and Juliet are looking for each
other through the crowd trying to find each other. Juliet then tries
to get a better looks at where Romeo is when Rosalyn looks at her and
so Juliet looks back and they both give each other dirty looks. This
shows that Juliet is much different to Rosalyn. Romeo finds Juliet and
hides behind a wall and recites a sonnet. This I a very traditional
way to portray the sonnet and was used by Zefferelli to make it more
realistic and to was inspired by his own culture and similar movies
that he made. While Romeo and Juliet are reciting the sonnet Juliet is
laid on a dark background to make her stand out. Also Zefferelli is
using shots to show both faces. They kiss but then the nurse pulls her
away and Romeo asks who Juliet is. The nurse replies that she is a
Capulet and Romeo is heart broken. As Romeo is leaving Juliet also
finds out that Romeo is a Montague and she is terribly upset and the
music changes to show that she is sad. We then get a close up of
Tybalt and we see that he is angry by his facial expression as he
looks at the camera. Zefferelli adds this shot to give us some extra
information about the story and this tells us that tybalt knows about
Romeo and Juliet.
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