Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: November ::
Re: New *Romeo and Juliet* Film
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, SHK 7.0884.  Tuesday, 26 November 1996.

(1)     From:   Amy Ulen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 25 Nov 1996 14:21:15 -0800
        Subj:   Teaching R&J

(2)     From:   Amy Ulen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
        Date:   Monday, 25 Nov 1996 14:32:49 -0800
        Subj:   R&J Movie Review


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy Ulen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 25 Nov 1996 14:21:15 -0800
Subject:        Teaching R&J

Tunis Romein wrote:

> I sympathize with the teenage point of view concerning the new "Romeo and
> Juliet," namely that the film is wonderful except for the Shakespearean
> language. The language is distracting at best, confusing at worst.

As a high school English teacher, I have found the opposite to be true. I have
seen the film twice, and both times I heard kids reciting lines along with the
film.  When talking to students at school, they express their enjoyment of the
language of the film.  Oddly enough, the kids I have talked with have the same
complaints about the film that I do (filming techniques, etc.).

> If nothing else, this would have discouraged the next couple of generations of
> high school teachers from using this film to "teach" R&J to millions of ninth
> graders. If students are going to watch a movie rather than reading the play,
> it might as well be Zeffirelli.

I find this a frightening statement.  I have NEVER used a film to teach a play
or novel, and I don't think that any good teacher would either! Films should be
used for comparisons, but not as a substitute for reading the text.

Amy Ulen
Spokane, WA

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Amy Ulen <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:           Monday, 25 Nov 1996 14:32:49 -0800
Subject:        R&J Movie Review

SHAKSPERians,

My friend, Vince Kimball, sent the following movie review to several of us that
attended the 1996 Teaching Shakespeare Institute at the Folger Shakespeare
Library last summer.  Vince gave me permission to pass the review on to you.

 Vince Kimball <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 > wrote:

And then, speaking of R&J, the movie -- you all still have not gotten the real
dirt and gritty insides of it yet, have you?  Notice the ever-present statue
that is photographed over and over and over again throughout the whole thing?
Look familiar?  Not if you don't know what "Christ of the Andes" is.  Research
what it is and why it was erected. "The monument to eternal peace was cast from
the melted bronze of an old cannon which the Spanish left at the time of
Argentine independence.  The statue lies on the borderline between the
countries of Argentina and Chile, who were at war.  The statue bears this
inscription, 'Sooner shall these mountains crumble into dust than Chileans and
Argentines shall break the peace which, at the feet of Christ, the Redeemer,
they have sworn to maintain.'"   Notice the fact that Montague's final
soliloquy about erecting the statue honoring Juliet is cut.  Notice the fact
that instead of ending on a positive note that the whole tragedy concept is
exploded because nothing really changes-- Capulet and Montague are not seen
shaking hands.  The party is like an out of control version of Carnival?  The
obvious South American setting?  The peasants in the background who are on the
outside  and are caught up in the whole thing but are not seen or thought of?
The whole issue of prostitution as a way of life?  Lady Capulet is the only
blonde in the Capulet family?  When she dresses in that high speed beginning
sequence, notice the music playing in the background (Mozart's Germanic
symphony?)  Notice the playing of the Liebestod (love-death theme) from Tristan
and Isolde (Wagner -- very Aryan!) as Romeo and Juliet lay tangled in death at
the end?  The ultimate final crashing symbol (cymbal? sic) as to what's written
on the gun Juliet kills herself with (PRE DE - TERMINATOR -- Arnold Schwartz...
would be so proud!  talk about the ultimate German bashing!?)  Check out the
history of Argentina after W W II.  The cross that is tattooed on Friar
Laurence's back is a Teutonic Runic cross that he covers with his Catholic
robes!  He even has to show his catamytes away (the young boys who serve him
in, I bet, more ways than one.) This director is laying it on thick!  But it
has so many other levels that I couldn't begin to address them all!

[Some deleted] This is the stuff that dissertations are made of!  And no one
has gotten it? Am I the only one?  The party scene costumes were all from
famous operas.  Romeo was wearing the armor of the "fortune's fool" of all
time, Parsifal (another Wagner steal from Norse and Celtic legend); his home
boys were dressed as Valkyries; Mercutio in drag was dressed as the infamous
Lulu (Wedekind's version) complete with the exact wig and outfit and even did a
"number" on a staircase...

And on it goes....

This director, whoever he is, is one of the most well-read, creative, and
literate people to come out of Hollywood in ages.  Most likely [he] is not
American.

Sorry, little dig there.

Let me get off my soap box.

Vince
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.