The Last Picture Show

March 24, 2010 at 1:46 pm (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , )

I watched the Renato Castellani 1954 version of Romeo and Juliet last night. Thanks to blog reader Tue for recommending this one to me. It was a nice way for me to wrap up my R&J viewing. I liked it very much. My favorite remains the 1968 Zeffirelli version, but I enjoyed this one, as well. It is not currently available from Netflix, but Amazon offers a one-week instant rental for $2.99.

I started my blog by viewing the Zeffirelli version before I read the text of the play, so if I watched it again now, I might notice different things about characters or plot variations or scenes left out and that kind of thing that I’m attuned to now. I don’t plan to watch it again for now, but welcome any conversation about that if readers want to bring anything up.

So, let’s talk about the 1954 version. It’s lovely. It was filmed in Italy and the towns are a wonderful backdrop for the action. I enjoyed the scenery a lot. It’s filmed in Technicolor and the colors are vivid and striking. I love the costumes. It’s very visually appealing.

Laurence Harvey plays a slightly effeminate Romeo, but he grew on me. He has sort of a swashbuckling, old-fashioned style to his acting. It worked fine for me. I’d read criticisms of Susan Shentall’s Juliet (her one and only performance as a film actress), but I liked her. Yes, she over-emotes sometimes and under-emotes at others, but she’s girlish and naive and lovely. I titled this post The Last Picture Show partly because I saw a strong resemblance between Shentall and the young Cybill Shepherd in that film.

I really enjoyed several of the other characters in this film. Mervyn Johns’ Friar Laurence was the best I’d seen. He portrays the friar as slightly odd and dithering and in his own little dream world of flowers and herbs and potions. This seems very much to me what Shakespeare intended.

Similarly, I loved Flora Robson’s portrayal of Juliet’s Nurse. This nurse is loving and kind to Juliet and runs on at the mouth with hilarity. I enjoyed her.

And my favorite character is Sebastian Cabot’s Capulet. I felt like he really nailed Capulet’s corpulent, self-important, bad-tempered self. I know Cabot from his later years in A Family Affair and maybe celebrity appearances like on the Hollywood Squares, so it was interesting seeing him in a meaty role. His angry scenes with Tybalt at the Capulet feast and later with Juliet when she shows disinterest in Paris are really, really fun to watch.

Did I love everything about this film? No. It takes liberties with Shakespeare’s language and plot. Really, many liberties that seem unnecessary to me. Mercutio is basically a no-show, and hardly discernible from Benvolio. There’s no Queen Mab speech, there’s no marketplace scene with the nurse (a sail! a sail!) and there’s no swordplay. None! There are just sudden stabbings.

I think staying closer to Shakespeare would have improved this version for me, but it’s still a really nice one to watch as my last picture show of Romeo and Juliet. (Last, that is, unless someone brings another must-see version to my attention!)

On to A Midsummer Night’s Dream! The animated version arrives from Netflix today!

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Loose Ends

March 14, 2010 at 4:16 pm (Analysis and Discussion, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , )

I’m winding down on my thoughts about Romeo and Juliet (for now). I have a couple more film versions in my Netflix queue that I will watch soon, but I think I’ve covered what I want (for now). I think with this blog, as I read through more plays, I may feel the need to revisit plays as I see things in a new context. So, I reserve the right to return to Romeo and Juliet!

And I would love if any readers come back to Romeo and Juliet at any time! Please feel free to rifle through old posts and comment on anything at any time. I’ll be happy for the input and eager to return to this play for more discussion.

Today marks one month since I started posting about Romeo and Juliet on Valentine’s Day. I really have no plan regarding how long I will spend on each play or how many posts I’ll make about each one. It’s kind of random and I have no idea if I’ll spend a month on future plays or want to move on faster (or spend even more time on each!). Stick around with me to see!

Anyhow, as my thoughts wind down on Romeo and Juliet, there are a few things I want to put out there before I move on to A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

More on Mercutio
First, I want to thank blog reader Ted. When I commented early on that I thought new readers might want to “yada yada” through Mercutio… he pointed out that he could never ignore Mercutio, who he found a fascinating character. That comment made me re-think Mercutio, and you can see I found quite a few things to post about him the last week or so.

It’s this kind of input that I am so excited to get from this blog. Because if I were just reading on my own, I might really have done more yada-yadaing than I should have. I find reading Mercutio’s parts very challenging. The puns are constant and complex, but I do think he’s a fascinating character if you let him under your skin.

One thing about Mercutio that I find really interesting… he is related to the Prince (and possibly to Paris, who is also related to the Prince). This seems so unnecessary to the plot. Why give him this connection? When I started this blog by watching the Zeffirelli version, I actually thought Mercutio was a Montague—maybe a cousin of Romeo’s; I didn’t give the relationship much thought. But as I read the text, I realized he was the Prince’s kinsman.

Another thing—Mercutio was invited to the Capulet feast! That’s so interesting to me, because doesn’t it seem like he could have easily snuck his buddies in, since he was invited? Yet they’re all worried about how to get in, and he plays right along as if he’s one of the party crashers.

Further on that note, Count Paris seems like such a “catch” for Juliet because he’s an aristocrat. Yet I wonder if Mercutio isn’t just as high in rank and stature. He certainly doesn’t give off any royal airs, does he? He’s one of the guys. Not at all the feeling I get from Paris, although we never see Paris in a casual setting with his buds.

Rosaline was a Capulet!
Rosaline was also on the invitation list to the Capulet feast! See, it’s interesting to me, because Shakespeare never needed to share with us the actual invites to the party—that’s a level of detail that would never be missed in a play. Yet, there’s a whole scene set aside for Romeo to read through the entire list! So, it seems somehow important that we learn that Mercutio is invited and also Rosaline (of course, that gives Romeo the idea to crash the party, but we didn’t need to hear the whole list for that idea to get in his head).

Rosaline is Capulet’s niece, and therefore Juliet’s cousin. I find this detail interesting, because later when Romeo realizes that Juliet is a Capulet, it takes on such weighty meaning to him.

                          Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.
(I.5.118-119)

Why is it a big deal? He was already doting on a Capulet (Rosaline) before this and her family connections didn’t seem to concern him a bit!

The Nurse
Lastly, I want to mention a couple things about Juliet’s nurse. She is a really interesting character to me. As I’ve said in earlier posts, she is stupid/savvy. Capulet treats her with great disrespect when he is angry with Juliet.

Nurse 
God in heaven bless her!
You are to blame, my lord, to rate her so.

CAPULET 
And why, my lady wisdom? hold your tongue,
Good prudence; smatter with your gossips, go.

Nurse 
I speak no treason.

CAPULET 
O, God ye god-den.

Nurse 
May not one speak?

CAPULET 
Peace, you mumbling fool!
Utter your gravity o’er a gossip’s bowl;
For here we need it not.
(III.5.169-176)

Wow, what a nice guy! He has such a bad temper and is so rude to the Nurse here. She does not back down. She talks right back! (“May not one speak?”) She holds her own with the Lord and Lady of the manor. I never note subservience in her tone around them. Interesting!

And her love for Juliet is obvious. Juliet, to her ultimate ruin, loves and trusts the Nurse with her whole heart. I mentioned in an earlier post how the Nurse’s switcharoo from singing the praises of Romeo to singing the praises of Paris causes the tragic switcharoo in Juliet that sends her to the Friar and starts in motion the events that lead to the tragic ending.

The nurse is a pivotal character. It’s interesting, because it would be easy to dismiss her as a fool, as Capulet does. You could mistake her for a somewhat small character. She is not. She is central to the plot. She enables Juliet to pursue the relationship with Romeo. She serves as messenger to set up the wedding and doorguard so they can consummate their marriage. Then her switch to Paris pushes Juliet out the door toward her death. The plot revolves around the nurse!

Parallels: Nurse and Friar
So, in addition to holding her own as a character (in every sense of the word!) and being central to the plot, I find interesting parallels between the nurse and two other characters. She serves as friend and trusted confidant to Juliet in the same way the Friar does to Romeo. Both the nurse and the Friar are enablers of the Romeo/Juliet relationship and marriage. Both should know better! These kids are dumb and acting in a hormone-induced haze—if either the Friar or the nurse had put the kibosh on it at any step of the way, things might have ended differently.

Parallels: Nurse and Mercutio
I find parallels between the nurse and Mercutio, as well. Both are windy, tending to get carried away with themselves and run on at the mouth. Both are pretty hilarious and prone to dirty jokes and puns. And each serves as a best friend. We are aware of no friend other than the nurse in Juliet’s life. She appears to exist within the walls of the Capulet house and have little human contact other than her parents and the nurse. Romeo is out and about in the world and has friends, and Mercutio stands out as his closest friend, willing in the end to fight for and die for that friendship.

And that concludes my thoughts (for now) on reading Romeo and Juliet! Let me know what you think, and stay tuned for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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BBC = Boring, Banal, Choppy

March 13, 2010 at 11:26 am (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , )

I want to watch all the BBC productions, so I went ahead and watched Romeo and Juliet even though I’d heard it was not that good. It lived up to my expectations. 

On the plus side, the language is Shakespearean. I noticed a few places where they skipped lines, but it seemed essentially to follow the text. I liked this version’s Mercutio (played by Anthony Andrews, who you might recognize from The Scarlet Pimpernel with Jane Seymour). I also liked this Capulet (Michael Hordern) and the Nurse (Celia Johnson) grew on me.

I watched this movie on my computer with Netflix’s instant play feature, and I have to admit two things. One is that I was constantly watching the ticker click down those two hours and 47 minutes. The ticker moved v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

My other admission—watching this one on the computer was a mistake. There are about a million things on the Internet more interesting than watching this film. For example, I found out that Gnomeo and Juliet is due out next year! Set in the world of warring indoor and outdoor gnomes! Can you believe it?! Well, I found reading that more compelling than watching the BBC production.

A basic problem for me with this version is that I never connected with the title characters. The actors playing Romeo (Patrick Ryecart) and Juliet (Rebecca Saire) just didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t believe or care about their love affair. They looked way too May-December for me, and of course, I had ample opportunity to look that up on the Internet while I was watching. Indeed, she was 14 while filming and he was 25. Beyond that, I found her a bit stiff and boring (I guess always comparing her in my mind to Olivia Hussey from the 1968 version).

Patrick Ryecart’s Romeo is bland and blah and beige. He’s actually BEIGE! I was a little fascinated by the monotone effect—his poofy, permed hair, his skin, clothes and bizarrely, his eyes are all shades of tan. And I guess I focused on this because his acting was so banal. He’s totally blank-faced as Mercutio lies bleeding to death in his arms. Blank. Then he freaks out on Tybalt.

Ahh, Tybalt. A revelation there! Tybalt was a Slytherin! Alan Rickman, well-known now as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter movies, plays Tybalt. What great casting for that part!

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Fun in the Pun

March 8, 2010 at 2:15 pm (Analysis and Discussion, Romeo and Juliet) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Stop it!  Stop it!
That’s enough, sir.
I can’t say such silly stuff, sir.
    Mr. Knox, Fox in Socks, by Dr. Seuss
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sorry for all the Seuss references. He’s a big part of my life right now! Anyhow, as I read through all the puns in Romeo and Juliet I keep thinking of Fox in Socks and sometimes I feel like Mr. Knox. Stop it! Stop it! That’s enough, sir!

Romeo and Juliet is just filled with sexual puns. I’m sure they were obvious and right out there to the Renaissance audience. It’s all slang and double entendres and many/most go right over my head unless I stop to decipher them in the footnotes. It takes a lot of effort for me to get them, and after a while, I find them mind-numbing. I mentioned in an earlier post, I thought a new reader might want to “yada, yada” through much of Mercutio since he is so dense with puns.

I’m sure that the audience back then did not have to work to get the joke, and so the joke was funnier. That being the case, the “tragedy” of Romeo and Juliet was at many times a light-hearted comedy and witfest. I’m sure people were on the floor laughing at all the clever back and forth and anatomical references. I really think I lose out in needing to have the jokes excruciatingly explained to me, and then still not really getting them a lot of the time. It must have been really funny in an Animal House kind of way. Right?

So, let’s take it from the top, because that’s what Shakespeare did. He starts right out by laying it on thick. Act I, Scene 1, and the servants Sampson and Gregory are on a witty roll. Geez, as I look at it now, I don’t even know where to start. Whenever they use words like “stand,” “take the wall,” “thrust,” “heads,” “piece of flesh,” yada yada… sorry, I get glazed over right from the start. It’s just too much! Stop it, stop it, Mr. Fox, sir!

Seriously, I have trouble with that aspect of the play (not offended… it just bores me after a while!). “Draw thy tool,” “My naked weapon is out.” Hello? This is all in the first 32 lines of the play! I’m tired reading the footnotes already, and I haven’t even met Mercutio yet.

Alrighty then. So, I’m sure that whole thing set the tone for the rest of the play for the bawdy audience way back when. They’re into it. They’re getting it. They’re loving it. Enter Mercutio.

Here’s the (modern) meaning of the name Mercutio: “The name comes from Mercury, the Roman messenger god. It may also be related to the vocabulary word “mercurial,” originally designating someone with the characteristics of eloquence, shrewdness, swiftness, and thievishness attributed to the god Mercury, or more commonly with an unpredictable and fast-changing mood.” (Source: ParentsConnect)

As I mentioned in my last post, I find Mercutio one of the least mercurial of the characters in this play. But he sure has a swift wit and eloquence. Tybalt may be the King of Cats, but Mercutio is the King of Puns. Maybe Act II, Scene 4 shows him at his finest. Every word out of Mercutio’s mouth is perfectly-pointed. Jab! Jab! His death may come from swordplay, but wow, in life he is a master of wordplay.

It’s dizzying. Romeo is up to the task and keeps right up with Mercutio (boy, you’d have to watch yourself around these guys… I bet I set myself up there using the word “up” if they’d been around to pun off me!). They’re having a lot of fun. Romeo (playing on Mercutio’s last words) says:

Swits and spurs, swits and spurs! or I’ll cry a
match.
(II.4.68-69)

My edition’s note says that means “keep your horse (wit) running fast” or Romeo will claim victory (“cry a match”). Whew!

Benvolio always seems a bit left out of the back and forth and uncomfortable with it. He finally sees Mercutio going off too far (involving “bauble in a hole”) and says “Stop there, stop there!” (II.4.92). It makes me think of poor Mr. Knox again:

I can’t blab such blibber blubber!
My tongue isn’t made of rubber.

And just like Seuss’s fox, Mercutio is a man possessed and CANNOT BE STOPPED. He goes on punning off of poor Benvolio’s own innocent words (“whole depth of my tale”). Yee gods.

And then! And then… oh my, Juliet’s Nurse arrives on the scene! Seriously, I can hardly catch my breath from all the wordplay and dirty jokes and then she comes in and Mercutio is just merciless on her. She is dumb (like a fox?) and plays unknowingly (?) right into Mercutio’s jokes (II.4.100-142). Oh my, oh my. “Saucy merchant” and “scurvy knave,” indeed! Whew! (By the way, I find this scene in the Zeffirelli movie really funny.)

Oh. My. Oh. My. And the Nurse is no innocent herself when it comes to sexual puns. She has many bawdy lines, although the notes in my edition say these are often unintentional puns. I wonder about the Nurse. She plays an interesting stupid/savvy character. Anyhow, look at her go!

O, he is even in my mistress’ case,
Just in her case! O woeful sympathy!
Piteous predicament! Even so lies she,
Blubb’ring and weeping, weeping and blubb’ring.
Stand up, stand up! Stand, an you be a man.
For Juliet’s sake, for her sake, rise and stand!
Why should you fall into so deep an O?
(III.3.84-90)

The puns are on words like “O,” “case,” “rise and stand,” etc. Yep.

They sure are all having a lot of fun in the pun. I find them funny/tiresome. It’s just too much for me, in many ways. But again, I wonder if that’s mainly because it’s so much work for me to decipher them and I’m sure I still don’t appreciate the jokes the way they were intended back then. How do you all like the puns?

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What Should I Watch?

February 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm (Asides, Film Adaptations) (, , , , , )

I’m thinking ahead about which film versions of each play I should watch. Please give me your suggestions.

The Wikipedia article looks pretty good, so I’m using that as a starting place. I think I am going to focus on the more recent films, although I will consider going back further (like the 1960s and maybe even the 1950s) when there are films that are really must-sees (like West Side Story and Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet).

I plan to watch all the BBC productions. I’m looking forward to seeing Roger Daltrey in A Comedy of Errors!

I’ll watch Franco Zeffirelli’s films and anything Kenneth Branagh touched, as well.

So, I feel like I have a solid foundation on basic productions. Any other suggestions? What about the old ones directed by Laurence Olivier—are they good? What else? Help me.

I also want suggestions for good or interesting adaptations. Thanks to Renee who commented about loving adaptations like West Side Story and listed several others.

Here are a few I’m considering:

Henry IV: My Own Private Idaho

King Lear: A Thousand Acres, Ran

Macbeth: Scotland PA, Throne of Blood

Othello: O

The Comedy of Errors: The Boys from Syracuse

The Taming of the Shrew: Kiss Me Kate, Ten Things I Hate About You

The Tempest: Prospero’s Books

Twelfth Night: She’s the Man, Just One of the Guys

Renee and everyone—help me fill out my to-watch list and please warn me away from losers. 

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Just Play it Cool, Boy

February 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , , , , , , , )

West Side Story casts Romeo and Juliet’s star-crossed lovers into a rough mid-century Manhattan neighborhood. Instead of the warring Capulet and Montague families, there are the rival street gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. The Jets are white boys… children of European immigrants (polacks, wops, and micks) and the Sharks are Puerto Ricans (spics), recently moved to AMER-EE-CA! Leave behind your political-correctness when you watch this one… this is a world where the ethnic slurs are dropped freely and stereotypes run wild.

I love the aerial photos looking down on Manhattan that open the film. It’s so beautiful… until you get down to ground level! There you see the grit and grime of the city. I like the way the film ends up, too… painting the credits as graffiti on a wall. Very cool!

Of course, I love the movie in between, as well. It’s been a while since I’d seen it, and interesting seeing it right after Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. The first thing that struck me is how much more believable the love affair between Romeo and Juliet (Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey) is in that film compared to the Tony/Maria pairing (played by Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood). Zeffirelli cast unknown youngsters in the parts, and they wear their youth and innocence on their sweet, naive sleeves! There’s a lot of emotion there, and the love affair is really the focus of the film. In West Side Story, I find the love affair kind of tepid and tangential to the whole neighborhood war thing.

The hoodlums in West Side Story appear a bit quaint to my 21st century eyes with their Leave-it-to-Beaverish and Greaser looks. And they are hard for me to accept as high schoolers. Wood and Beymer were in their 20s, and Rita Moreno (Anita) was 30… and looked and acted it.

But I’m nit-picking. I love West Side Story. I just think the love story part of it is not quite as believable as in the Zeffirelli movie. Also, I’ve been reading a lot about Jungian psychology lately, and I just see anima projections pinging all over the place (in both films). It’s all love at first sight and pouring every ounce of trust into their feelings of the moment for someone glimpsed across the room! Yet of course, it doesn’t matter in these stories, since there is no future—literally no tomorrow, for these lovers.

So what’s to love about West Side Story? Hmmm, let me count the ways. First, there’s the music. You have Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim collaborating, and it’s a great score. Thanks to a reader who emailed me about the lyrical similarity between What is a Youth from the Zeffirelli film and Somewhere in West Side Story… I definitely see the connection, and both are beautiful songs.

Then there’s the dancing. Choreography by Jerome Robbins. It really doesn’t get better. So, sit back and enjoy the song and dance numbers… it’s pure entertainment. And I’m not belittling the acting — the film won 10 Oscars, including best picture and best supporting actor and actress (George Chakiris as Bernardo and Rita Moreno as Anita). It’s a great film!

Let’s talk about cinematography (another Oscar!). I watched Doctor Zhivago with my niece a few years ago and she said she wrote a college paper about the use of the color yellow to symbolize Lara throughout the movie. Once she mentioned it, it was so obvious! Bright yellow fields of daffodils, the bright yellow sun, Lara’s theme playing each time. Lara, Lara, dreamy, lovely Lara (more anima projection, ha ha!).

Anyhow, that got me thinking about color a bit when I watch movies, and West Side Story is chock-full of color. The Sharks wear red and the Jets wear blue and yellow, most of the time. That kind of color-coding also is evident in Zeffirelli’s film, where the Capulets tend to wear orangey and mustardy tones while the Montagues favor dusty blues and browns. It’s a handy way to tell the star-belly sneetches from the plain ones.

Colors get complicated in West Side Story, though. Can anyone help me understand the color code? The backgrounds are often cast in primary-colored shadows. There are big blocks of Crayola-bright reds, blues, and sometimes yellows and greens. Red clothes hanging on a line. Red highway underpass. Red ironwork balcony. A line up of all blue cars on one street. All green cars on another street. A red truck… but not just an ordinary red truck, but solid, bright red, including red fenders, bumpers and hubcaps. Yellow paint spilled on rivals.

I found myself always trying to decipher the meaning of the colors. What’s the meaning of the red belt on Maria’s white dress? The Technicolor twirling when she tries on that dress. The yellow jackets at the dance? The red walls at the dance? The blue walls at Maria’s apartment building? The purple skirt on Anita? Then the blue skirt on Anita. What’s it all mean? Just pretty colors?

Most everything is in bold, bright colors except a series of side-by-side doors that are muddy Easter egg shades. Why pastels? Why doors? And pastel dresses at the bridal shop where Anita and Maria work. As you can see, there are many questions about color floating around in my brain. I was very distracted by color while watching the whole film! Can anyone help me make sense of it?

One color mystery I did decode (I think): The doors to Maria’s bedroom are multi-colored glass panes. I figured her bedroom is the place where all the colors mix… Tony and Maria are color blind. They just see each other, not the personas (spic, polack, Shark, Jet) that everyone else sees.

Oh and another color (or lack thereof)  mystery solved… Doc’s store is noticeably devoid of color. I think that’s because it’s neutral territory—a place where both Jets and Sharks can go. I like Doc, whose role parallels that of Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (without quite the same awful responsibility for the fatal plot twist). Doc is the voice of reason and calm. He says to Tony, “Why do you kids live like there’s a war on?” And of course, that’s the big question. What is the point of all the conflict? Just play it cool, boy.

A little trivia… thanks to a reader who pointed out that a young Bernardo (George Chakiris) can be glimpsed as a back up dancer behind Rosemary Clooney in White Christmas. I’ll keep my eye peeled next time I watch that. And, I got a kick out of seeing Gomez from The Addams Family (John Astin) as the organizer at the dance. Pretty funny!

Next up, a blast from the past! I unearth some old school work.

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What is a Youth?

February 14, 2010 at 12:29 am (Film Adaptations, Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare's Plays) (, , , , )

Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorite movies, so it’s fitting that I begin my blog here. I love the song from the Capulet feast, What is a Youth?.


It’s so beautiful and haunting and captures for me the emotions of these young lovers. The song stays with me long after the movie is over.

The film is lush and romantic, the scenery gorgeous, the costumes lovely, the actors young and full of angst and vitality. The film won Oscars for Best Cinematography and Costume Design. I’m not surprised.

Olivia Hussey was so young (only 15!) and perfect as the innocent but headstrong Juliet. Leonard Whiting’s Romeo is my idea of a dreamy loverboy. I love watching these two together… so sweet, so romantic, so impetuous.

Mercutio (played by John McEnery) is very funny with all his punning. You can see his temper rising with the temperature until he gets to the boiling point with Tybalt (played by Michael York).

Tybalt is one of my least favorite characters in the film. I haven’t re-read the play yet, so I am eager to see how I feel about him when I do. In this film version, I find Tybalt whiny and uptight and annoying. He’s a tattletale at the Capulet feast and he’s a troublemaker when he’s out and about in Verona.

The other characters I love in the film are the Nurse (Pat Heywood) and Friar Laurence (Milo O’Shea). They are both such over-the-top characters. The Nurse is so ribald and hilarious. You get a strong sense of the fondness between her and Juliet and the complete trust Juliet places in her. Friar Laurence is a good and trusted friend to Romeo. You can imagine his world falls apart when he sees the results of his efforts to help the lovers. So sad.

On a lighter note, Friar Laurence reminds me of Keith Moon from The Who. I thought of this throughout the movie. Do you see it?

I would love to hear what others think of this film and if there are other film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet that I should put in my Netflix queue. West Side Story just came in the mail today, so I will blog about that soon.

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