In this episode, we discuss two modern film adaptations of Romeo and Juliet: Franco Zeffirelli’s 1968 film, starring Olivia Hussey as Juliet, and Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 modern dress film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the star-crossed lovers.
In part one, we discuss why we prefer Luhrmann’s film even though they don’t Speak The Speech I Pray You. Also in this episode: the greatest Mercurio ever on screen, the differences in the balcony scenes, how the filmmakers have translated the play to the language of cinema, modern dress vs period dress, and more.
In part two, we compare the final death scenes, contemplate the water imagery in Luhrmann’s film, and ask “What makes Shakespeare ‘Shakespeare'”? That is, at what point is Romeo & Juliet no longer Shakespeare? We discuss ballet, opera, translations, modernized language, and try to determine how we can evaluate at what point it’s merely an adaptation of the Bard and not the Bard’s own work.
Host: Alex Heeney (@bwestcineaste)
Guests: Laura Anne Harris, Caitlin Merriman (@CaitlinSnark), and Mary Angela Rowe (@lapsedvictorian)
Sound recordist and editor: Cam White (@JediDusk)
Further reading (as mentioned in the show)
Nicholas Hytner’s lecture on directing Shakespeare
Globe to Globe: Shakespeare productions in other languages (available online)
Cutting Shakespeare: The No Holds Bard Podcast tackles the balcony scene
Konstantin Tréplev fails at committing suicide by shooting himself in the head in Chekhov’s The Seagull.
Peter Hall talks to Nicholas Hytner at the National Theatre about directing, including his many attempts at As You Like It