Romeo and Juliet (1954)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama, Period Film, Tragedy  |   Release Date - Sep 1, 1954 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 138 min.  |   Countries - Italy, UK  |  
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Generally forgotten today, Romeo and Juliet is a satisfactory, if perfunctory, adaptation of Shakespeare's immortal tragedy. Cast as the "star cross'd lovers" this time out are Laurence Harvey, who's quite good, and Susan Shentall, who isn't. Whether or not Shentall would have improved with experience is a moot point, since she retired from the screen to get married soon afterward. Director Renato Castellani was showered with praise for his decision to lens the story on location in Italy. Less popular was his decision to delete several of Shakespeare's more famous passages, arguing that they held up the progress of the story (sometimes whole scenes, including the one with the apothecary, were chopped out). The supporting cast includes Dame Flora Robson as Nurse, Mervyn Johns as Friar Laurence, Bill Travers as Benvolio, Norman Wooland as Paris, John Gielgud as the (unseen) Chorus, and Sebastian Cabot as Capulet; the rest of the major roles were filled by Italian actors. Though overshadowed by later film versions, this Romeo and Juliet was impressive enough in 1954 to win the Grand Prix at the Venice Film Festival.

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Keywords

family-disapproval, family-feud, forbidden-love, friendship, star-crossed-lovers