Balcony Scene in Romeo & Juliet Films

348 Words2 Pages
The balcony scene in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film, Romeo and Juliet, is more successful than the balcony scene in Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film, Romeo + Juliet, in three main ways: the acting, the script, and the traditional setting. Zeffirelli was very clever with his casting of the innocent Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. These actors were naturally true to their characters, mainly because of their lack of experience. It's truly believable that they are legitimately in love and feel the pain and suffering that the two lovers went through. Their dialogue is delivered in a way that appears natural, in contrast to the forced efforts of Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1996 version. The placement of the scene is more true to the play in the 1968 film. The two teens are separated and may only converse with words; however Romeo eventually climbs up to get closer to Juliet. In Romeo + Juliet, the scene takes place in a pool, which was a risky move by Luhrmann, but in actuality, there is no balcony reference in the original text. Literature is a medium of words, and film is a medium of images, so, I can understand why the two characters show their love physically and don’t completely leave it up to the speech to show their feelings. Both scenes worked; however, Luhrmann’s received harsh criticism while Zeffirell’s was emotionally captivating. The Elizabethan 16th century England setting stays true to Shakespeare’s original play, and sets a classic tone and atmosphere. The magic of Zeffirelli’s film is it takes you into another world, the beautiful scenery of Verona with the, for the most part, comprehensible language of Shakespeare. Mixing a modern day world with this language, what Luhrmann did, does not work well. This takes the play out of context in areas and exploits art just for the sake of trendiness. Simply, the classic setting with original words works
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