Monday, January 28, 2013

Franco Zeffirelli's Production of Romeo and Juliet

I can say right now that I love Franco Zeffirelli's production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  I thought it was perfect.  The story unfolded at a lovely pace and I was never bored.  Again, here we have the element of inserting an intermission and I wish that more filmmakers would use this element when making movies that need time to properly tell the story.  

Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting are perfect in the lead roles.  

Olivia Hussey was 15 years old when she was filming Romeo and Juliet and easily looked even younger than that.  Olivia brought just the right amount of young girlishness to the role yet showing elements of maturity that was not over the top for one so young.

One of the best decisions made was casting Olivia Hussey as Juliet.

I think that Leonard Whiting was also the perfect choice for Romeo.

The chemistry between Olivia and Leonard is wonderful and works very well.  Both seem very comfortable working with one another.  

I loved it when they ran off to get married in secret.  It was so romantic.   

I had to keep in mind how normal it was at that time period to get married at such a young age.  We all cringe today (rightfully so) at two people so young engaging in such grown up actions.  Romeo and Juliet are both barely out of childhood.  

Of course we all know how it ends, but I cannot help but wish that Shakespeare wrote a different ending.

 I admit that I was not much interested in the other characters, but I do have to give an honorable mention to Juliet's nurse who was played by Pat Heywood.  The nurse was as batty as a barfly and Miss Heywood play the nurse as if she was on a constant sugar high.

The Music  
I LOVE the musical score in this film which was composed by Nino Rota.  
The song titled "What is a Youth" always moves me deeply.  I downloaded Henry Mancini's Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet HERE.   It is beautifully performed and only .99 cents.  You can download the movie soundtrack HERE for $7.99. 

Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet was released on October 8, 1968.  It costs $850,000 to make and earned $38,901,218. at the box office.  The movie was re-released in 1973.  

Leonard Whiting is 62 years old as of this blog post and pretty much ended his film career in the mid 1970's, preferring to concentrate on live theater productions.

 Olivia Hussey and Franco Zeffirelli

Olivia Hussey went on to appear in other period dramas.  As of this blog post Olivia Hussey is 61 years old.  She has been married three times and has two sons and one daughter who is an actress.  Darren Denison of Denison Entertainment is a huge fan of Olivia Hussey and is getting together with her to discuss working on a project. 

Olivia Hussey's daughter India Joy Eisley.  As of this blog post India is 19 years old.

I streamed Romeo and Juliet on Netflix.

Old-Fashioned Charm


Anonymous said...

We had to watch this film in high school and I remember loving it. Hussey was also great as Mary, Jesus' mother, in Jesus of Nazareth.

Hamlette said...

The nurse was as batty as a barfly and Miss Heywood play the nurse as if she was on a constant sugar high.

This made me laugh aloud! Lovely review :-)