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Romeo and Juliet (1968)




Reviewed by Doug Boilesen

I've always enjoyed Shakespeare and this is one of my favorite plays.

My conclusion after rewatching this movie 50 years after I first saw it is that this 1968 film was well done at the time and it has held up enough to remain in my top 10 favorite movies.

Clearly much of the credit has to go to Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. They are the perfect choices to play their parts in their doomed love story and they do it with entertaining innocence from their first meeting at the dance to their final scene in the crypt. The delight and passion they display has just the right mixture of intensity, naivete and joy that seems a real possibility for first love. This is a play where some of the lines are so well known that it would be easy to be disappointed in hearing them again if they weren't just right. But that doesn't happen and those recognized scenes and lines are anticipated and enjoyed. There is also nothing overdone in this production and the simplicity in the sets and pace and dialogue seem faithful to Shakespeare and to the spirit of the play.

For music, the singer's performance of the theme song "A Time for Us" at the dance seemed more contrived than I remembered it but of course that gathering around the singer to listen to his song had its dramatic purpose and let Romeo and Juliet hunt for each other without others noticing. That search, their touching of hands, their first kiss and of course Shakespeare's dialogue in that scene have joy and poignancy, and I found it very memorable. The timing and memory of that tune also makes me think that if couples in Shakespeare's day designated songs as an "Our Song" that this one would surely have been Romeo and Juliet's "Our Song."

If you like Shakespeare, I recommend this movie version of Romeo and Juliet.







Copyright (C) 1968 Paramount Pictures