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Tommy asks Dick to direct the play, hoping that he will get cast as Romeo and August will be Juliet. Dick agrees but yells at Tommy, saying that R+J is "a classic tragedy. It's not about a horny teenager and his girlfriend!" (Actually, it is.)
Tommy doesn't get a part, but Dick lets him be in charge of props. Dick is a terrible director -- he acts completely pretentious and arrogant, and makes all the actors feel miserable. Eventually he is fired, and Coach Mafferty (Mike Ditka) takes over.
Tommy creates a sleeping potion as a prop. Mrs. Dubcek accidentally drinks it and is unconscious for several days.
Dick gets cast as Mercutio at the last minute, but he's awful -- completely histrionic and "over the top." The play is reviewed in Tommy's school newspaper. It says Dick's performance "gives new meaning to the word 'tragedy'." (Dick doesn't get it -- he thinks it's a compliment.)
"I think that it is very safe to say that "Romeo + Juliet" is the greatest story of any kind. Shakespeare marvelously intertwined love, hate, tragedy, joy, humor and irony. For those of you who have been living in a cave all your life and don't know the story, it is set in Verona Italy (a real city, mind you, and if you look at the last name of the actress who played Lady Capulet in the 1996 version, Venora, switch the r and n and you have Verona! but anyway) with two families, the Montagues and the Capulets, deeply embedded in an ancient feud. Their hatred for one another has become the birthright of their offspring and all other relatives. You might have noticed in the play and in former movie versions, Capulet servants ignite the first fight of the play, but in the '96 version the Montagues invoke it. The Prince is tired of the two families fighting in public and decrees that the next time a fight is started in public, the instigator will be sentenced to death. All goes well until the Capulets throw a party, mistakenly invite Mercutio because he is kindred to the Prince, but forgetting that he is also friends with Romeo Montague. Mercutio convinces Romeo to go with him despite a dream Romeo had that if he went to this party it would result in his death (there's some irony for ya). Masked, he enters the party unnoticed, and spies Juliet dancing with Paris, whom her family wants he to marry since he is also related to the Prince. Romeo falls in love with her instantly even though he hasn't a clue who she is. After she finishes dancing, he approaches her and speaks beautifully to her, referring to himself as a pilgrim and she is a saint. he convinces her to kiss him once, and again. Unfortunately Tybalt recognizes Romeo and tattles on him to Lord Capulet, but Capulet does nothing because he is fearful of the Prince's threat and knows that Romeo is really a decent and respected youth. Tybalt, however, with his fiery temper, seeks revenge, and ignites his own grudge with Romeo. As Romeo and Juliet talk, Juliet's nurse and confidante approaches, and lets Juliet know her mother seeks her, then tells Romeo how prized Juliet is. This is when he realizes she is a Capulet, but it is too late. Later Juliet also learns of Romeo's identity but she too has fallen in love. Late that night he sneaks into her backyard and listens to her confess her love of Romeo to the stars. He comes out of hiding and tells her to send her nurse out into town tomorrow at nine o clock in the morning and he will give her a message. The next morning he tells the nurse he wants to marry Juliet, and gives her a ring to give to Juliet. The next morning they are married in secret by Friar Laurence, who hopes the marriage will end the fatal feud. After the ceremony, Romeo meets Mercutio and Benvolio just sorta hanging out, when Tybalt approaches, still angry at Romeo. Tybaly tries to fight but Romeo backs down and tells him he loves him more the he knows (because they are now related). Nobody understands this, and Mercutio, thinking Romeo is being a coward, fights and winds up dying for him. Romeo is furious, and seeks out Tybalt, then kills him. Since Tybalt would have died anyway, Romeo is banished instead of killed but to him this is worse than death because he cannot see his wife. That night they arrange a secret meeting in Juliet's room and well, you know. The next morning Romeo flees for Mantua. While Juliet grieves Romeo's banishment, her family guesses she is grieving for Tybalt, so they arrange for her to marry Paris. She goes to Friar Laurence for help since she is already married. He gives her a sleeping potion that will make her appear dead for 48 hours. He writes a letter to Romeo telling him to come pick up Juliet and take her to Mantua when she awakens. But the letter does not go through, and when he hears of Juliet's "death", he buys a poison and breaks into Juliet's tomb just as Paris is leaving it. Another misunderstanding, and Paris lies dead. Romeo stands over Juliet and speaks of how colored she is even though she has been dead for two days (more irony, she is really awakening), and this is where the old an new stories differ. In the old story, Romeo drinks the poison, dies, and then Juliet wakes up, sees her dead husband, and stabs herself with his dagger. In the new story, while Romeo is speaking she awakens, and gazes at her lover. Stupid her, she says nothing when he puts the poison to his lips and stupid him he's not looking in the right places when she twitches and her eyes open. Anyway, she touches his cheek just as he swallows the poison and he looks down to find his wife was alive the whole time. Slowly he dies in her arms, then she takes his gun and blows her brain all over him. So romantic, huh? on a scale of 1-10, i give this *********(9) stars because there were parts where there was no emotion like in Juliet's famous speech about names, and several other places they had the wrong emotional connotation, but the heart-wrenching and creative end sorta made up for it.
I admit to having a fair interest in Leonardo DiCaprio. But regardless of any preconceptions I may have have about Romeo and Juliet, the play, and any of the actors in the film, William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is one of the best movies I have ever seen. In truth, where could you go wrong, with a brilliant director, talented actors and the words of Shakespeare, a literary genius?
This film combines a dizzying array of emotions - love at first sight, hatred, fear, joy - while remaining extremely faithful to the original play. The occasional moments of humour were well-placed, I felt, and did not take away from any emotional impact, particularly during the pool/balcony scene, and various others. The beginning sequence introduces the viewer to the violent world of Verona Beach, where death via gunplay is terrifying close (an apt modern interpretation of the swords brandished during more traditional performances), and against this fast-paced society which thrives on hatred, as portrayed by the feuding Capulets and Montagues, Romeo and Juliet's love is a rebellious act and seems impossible, and then if possible then doomed. The words which flash across the screen, "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life", form an ending for the tale before it has begun. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes rise to their respective roles as Romeo and Juliet brilliantly, and a strong supporting cast ensures the integrity of the play itself remains intact. In short, when you see this film, you'll laugh, you'll cry, then you'll leave the cinema wanting to go see it again! Prior to viewing it I was a dubious fan of Shakespeare, having studied plays at school. Actually I did study Romeo and Juliet, but struggled to understand why the lovers killed themselves. Now the play makes perfect sense. The visuals are fantastic, and the added twist in Juliet's tomb - with Juliet awakening as Romeo drinks his poison, may even outshine the original text. The greatest love story the world has ever known, so true! The greatest tragedy!
This traditional version of the classic play strives for authenticity and achieves it wonderfully, depicting the star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet as passionate youths in deep contrast to the rigidity of their feuding parents, respective families Montague and Capulet. Romeo is portrayed as the brooding romantic who thinks he is in love with Rosaline (who we actually see in this version) before meeting Juliet; a prominent feature of Juliet's character is her innocence: she is swept off her feet by the gallant Romeo, yet she suggest marriage, insists that if "thy bent of love be honourable" then he should prove it, and she willingly takes the drug that will feign her death. Olivia Hussey brings Juliet to life brilliantly, combining both childish naivety and unexpected maturity as she experiences her first and only taste of love. Leonard Whiting (***wait check that name, don't put this message in but check it, okay, thanks!) I found to be slightly less believable in his role, comparing his performance directly to 96's Leonardo DiCaprio, until I conceded that different facets of "Romeo" were emphasised in the two films - in Zeffirelli's, the romantic side of Romeo was immediately evident, and this image was carried throughout, effectively making his later actions (killing Tybalt, drinking the poison) a results of overwhelming passion gone wrong. In Luhrmann's film, however, Romeo's character did not depend on him simply being a romantic - rather, this Romeo seems an average teenager struck over the head by sudden love. He is shown to have passion, just not necessarily passion for love. Either way it's easy for the viewer to comprehend why Romeo would kill himself for Juliet.
The 1968 film version of " Romeo & Juliet" was the first time that a
director had cast young leads. In one past version, the roles were
played by actors who were 43 years of age!
Franco Zefferelli, the 1968 director, took a chance on 15 year old Olivia Hussey, and 17 year old Leonard Whiting to portray the doomed young lovers, and it paid off. It was the most popular depictions of Shakespeare's tragedy, until the 1996 version.
This take on the play, is very much traditional, the time frame, costumes, and the language match the play exactly. The story, itself, also has no significant changes to the original Shakespeare play. We all know the story, the Montagues & the Capulets are warring families and their children also take part in this. Romeo & Juliet fall in love, and are married. Then, he mistakenly thinks that she is dead, so he drinks a lethal poison. She awakens to find him, but just barely.
This is where the 1996 and 1968 versions are significantly different. In the 1996 version, Juliet awakens before he dies, but just after he has drank the poison. In the 1968 version, he is already dead. Friar Laurance tries to get her out of the vault before she sees Romeo, but its too late, she already sees him. Then she takes his dagger and stabs herself. Which is another contrast, in which the 1996 version depicts Juliet shooting herself in the head.
Many think that the 1996 version was more sad, because she awakens to see him still alive, and he dies knowing she's still alive. I don't know if I agree with this, considering I cried the same amount (alot!) at both films. The 1968 version is a must see for any TRUE R&J fan!!
The New book Romeo and Juliet is two book fro the price of one. The book, at the price of $4.99US/$6.99 Canada, first starts of with the screenplay of the last film version of ShakespeareΉs tragedy starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. The book then has the original story of the two star-crossed lovers.
I was enthusiastically interested in reading the screenplay, because I have forgotten much, from my first and only screening of the 1996 version, with the many camera shots that are documented in the text. For the first 20 pages, it is hard to understand the camera shots and the narration because you are not used to reading the story in the particular format. One does get used to it. Most of the dialogue is the same as the original version with some variances, and especially the 1968 film version of the play. My only complaint is that they do not break up the screenplay into Acts and Scenes.
Many of you who have passed through high school have already read the classic tragedy and I do not see why I should waste my site space.
In conclusion, if, for some reason, you have to buy the original Shakespeare version of the play for class, but the new screenplay book so that you will have two stories for the price of one. If you are just a Romeo and Juliet lover, read the book and picture all the scenes in your mind. It is first challenging to read, but when you get used to the format, you can see why it is the most popular love story of all time.
Review of the R&J Screenplay/Original Text book I found this book very interesting and informative in understanding Shakespeare's works. There is the screenplay (script) for the 1996 version of "Romeo and Juliet" alongside the Bard's text. Some might find it boring or hard to understand, but the special notes located in the back, help to solve these problems. The notes explain what is being said and the verse numbers for the confusing verses.The book also explains more about the depth of the characters.My only problem is that there should have been more pictures!!
Any other reviews of the books or of the movies is welcome to your submission. I would love to post your comments.
Last Updated April 6, 1997
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