September 12, 2008
Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.
Recently I watched (again, for the millionth time) my favorite movie of all times: Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet from 1968. He was the first director to be true to the classical tale by casting actors that were close to the age described in the epic Shakespeare story. Juliet was played by fifteen year old Olivia Hussey and Romeo by Leonard Whiting, who was seventeen years old. I saw it as a teenager for the first time, as it was part of our English curriculum. I was captivated from the start. To this day it remains an incredible masterpiece and to me the best adaptation of this tragic story, depicting love and foremost the bittersweet time of falling in love. It is superior in the casting, in directing, in regards to the visual effects, the costumes and the language. The director took a risk by casting two unexperienced, very young actors in the main roles, but it worked out wonderfully, giving the movie a sense of authenticity. Olivia Hussey, who is one of my favorite actresses, later enjoyed success on the big screen and TV screen. Among my favorites are "Ivanhoe" (1982) and the miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977).