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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: May ::
Re: Movies and Luhrmann
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1283  Friday, 10 May 2002

[1]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 May 2002 16:39:01 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1271 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

[2]     From:   Bill Arnold <
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        Date:   Thursday, 9 May 2002 12:49:27 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1252 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

[3]     From:   Drew Whitehead <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 May 2002 10:50:20 +1000
        Subj:   Re: Movies and Luhrmann


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 May 2002 16:39:01 +0100
Subject: 13.1271 Re: Movies and Luhrmann
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1271 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

Of the alteration which allows Romeo and Juliet a moment of conscious
togetherness before they die, Janet Costa writes:

> The ending is not so much Luhrmann as it is
> David Garrick, who 'bastardised' the text by
> inserting a poem to be recited to Juliet
> before Romeo dies.

In Thomas Otway's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, called the History and
Fall of Caius Marius (published 1680), Lavinia awakens before Marius
dies. This also happens in the sources. See Shakespeare _Romeo and
Juliet_ ed. Jill L. Levenson, The Oxford Shakespeare (Oxford: Oxford UP,
2000) pp. 72-4.

Gabriel Egan

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Bill Arnold <
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Date:           Thursday, 9 May 2002 12:49:27 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 13.1252 Re: Movies and Luhrmann
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1252 Re: Movies and Luhrmann

Sam Small writes, "He does, however, challenge us with 'Can anyone
criticise the film [R+J] and explain how it distorts the play or the
text?'  Well, the one glaring, wince-making, head-scratching moment was
the final death scene where Juliet opens her eyes and smiles a loving
goodbye to a tearful Leo.  This is not in the play.  This play is a
tragedy.  Tragedy means that all ends ill.  Above all the lovers do not
get a chance to say goodbye. Shakespeare's version is that the lovers do
not say goodbye.  That is the whole point about the ending - it is
tragic.  Poor Luhrmann failed to understand this basic tenet of drama
like the rest of his irritating film."

Now, wait just one minute, perhaps two :)

Luhrmann is not poor, nor was the film irritating.  As to your
definition of tragedy, I'll let Shakespearean scholars argue with it.
But your application of the definition by your example of the way the
film ended seems more irritating to me than Luhrmann's film.  They died,
and that IS tragic.  If the real life actor and actress had actually
acted out their actual deaths, then there would be no Luhrmann's R&J
II.  I can't wait for the $equel to $hakespeare's R& J II, Luhrmann'$
way.

Bill Arnold

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Drew Whitehead <
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Date:           Friday, 10 May 2002 10:50:20 +1000
Subject:        Re: Movies and Luhrmann

R. A. Cantrell wrote:

>Not so fast. The texts we possess are, in the main, transcriptions after
>the fact of production. They may be the result of the playwright's draft
>and the production company's augmenting implementation.

I could not agree more.  All modern printed texts of Shakespeare's plays
are in fact part of an ongoing process of collaboration between the
editor, virtually all previous editors, and those involved in the
original production of the texts behind the folios and the quartos (who
ever "they" might be).  There is no such thing as a true Shakespearean
text in the sense that Shakespeare himself was the sole author of that
text.  The same is true for the theatre.  I see the construction of any
version of a play (whether that be textual, film, audio, or live) as a
collaborative process between the producers of the text and its intended
audience.  If you don't like a version of a particular play maybe it is
because it is not very good, but it might also be that you are not part
of the intended audience.  Clearly whatever anyone thinks of Lurhman's
R&J the production did reach its intended audience quite successfully.

Drew Whitehead.

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