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
If you like Shakespeare, I recommend this movie
version of Romeo and Juliet.
Copyright (C) 1968 Paramount Pictures