Romeo And Juliet

  • 1954
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Historical, Romance

A British production shot entirely on location in Italy, this version of Shakespeare's play is particularly distinguished by the visual beauty brought to it by director-screenwriter Renato Castellani. Castellani gives the film a painterly look, composed and costumed (by surrealist painter Leonor Fini) after the model of various Italian painters of the early...read more

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A British production shot entirely on location in Italy, this version of Shakespeare's play is particularly distinguished by the visual beauty brought to it by director-screenwriter Renato Castellani. Castellani gives the film a painterly look, composed and costumed (by surrealist painter

Leonor Fini) after the model of various Italian painters of the early Renaissance. The 26-year-old Laurence Harvey, still early in his career, stars as Romeo; Juliet is played by 20-year-old Susan Shentall in her only film appearance. (Discovered in a restaurant by Castellani, she soon gave up

acting to get married.) Castellani's desire to convey an accurate medieval Italian setting led him to film in various locations, but his unerring eye for detail allowed him to intercut his footage seamlessly, so that it's impossible to tell what was shot in Venice, Siena, or elsewhere; all blends

convincingly into the film's 15th-century Verona. Further enhancing the authenticity is the casting of nonprofessionals and unfamiliar faces, including a crew member in the role of Friar John, a Veronese architect as Mercutio, a Venetian canal worker as Montague, and more than 200 extras culled

from the local population. Castellani's adaptation of Shakespeare is necessarily somewhat abridged, and the sequence of some scenes is altered, but the film is generally a sensitive treatment of the play, and the gorgeous images do much to compensate for its literary shortcomings. Although it was

not a popular success, it won the Venice Film Festival's Grand Prix Award, nosing out such films as LA STRADA and ON THE WATERFRONT.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A British production shot entirely on location in Italy, this version of Shakespeare's play is particularly distinguished by the visual beauty brought to it by director-screenwriter Renato Castellani. Castellani gives the film a painterly look, composed an… (more)

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