Shakespeare’s play was written to entertain the people of 1600, Franco Zeffirelli’s film was set at the same time as Shakespeare play, and set in Verona, where as Baz Luhrmann’s was set slightly into the future, Baz Luhrmann’s film was set at Verona Beech, in America, this is aimed to interest the younger generations of today who might not want to watch a film which is based on a play written 400 years ago by Shakespeare.
Both Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann have made the connection with the idea courtly love written about in Shakespeare’s play, which wasn’t traditional when the films were made. Courtly love is where a young man would fall in love with a woman of higher social class, or married, either way unattainable to the young man. The whole point of Rosline in the play was to illustrate/demonstrate courtly love to the audience, but then Romeo falls in love with Juliet, a true love. Courtly love was a middle age and Elizabethan, European tradition.
Even though Baz Luhrmann’s is set in America, it still carries the tradition. Both plays miss out parts which was in Shakespeare’s play, Franco Zeffirelli misses out the apothecary, this is to show his focus on getting to Juliet’s tomb. In Baz Luhrmann’s he overlooks the fight between Romeo and Paris this is because if he killed Paris and dragged him into the church to lie next to Juliet it would take the focus of Romeo and Juliet when they are dead and lying next to each other.
Act five, scene one, in Shakespeare’s play is set in a street in Mantua, and its Thursday, in Franco Zeffirelli’s sets this scene similar to how you would imagine it, its set in a big house, its dull, and sets the mood of sadness. But in Baz Luhrmann’s film sets the scene one, in a squatters camp in the desert, and its sunny. Shakespeare’s play has an apothecary in, where Romeo gets the poison Baz Luhrmann’s film also has this in, but Franco Zeffirelli’s film has no apothecary in, Romeo just produces the poison when it is needed.
Scene two in Shakespeare’s play was set in Friar Lawrence’s cell, its approximately dusk on Thursday. In Franco Zeffirelli’s film scene two is missed out, the two Friars do not have a conversation, Franco Zeffirelli shows this scene by Romeo and Balthasar passing Friar John on his donkey. In Baz Luhrmann’s film the post office replaces Friar John. Baz Luhrmann also uses juxtaposition of scenes to show it is all starting to go wrong. It quickly switches from scene to scene to show the Friar panicking that Romeo hasn’t got the letter, then the scene switches to Romeo and Balthasar being chased by the police.
This creates urgency and chaos, it gives you the feeling the plan is going to go wrong. Scene three in Shakespeare play is set in a churchyard, outside the tomb of the Capuletts, its Thursday evening. Both Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann didn’t include the fight between Romeo and Paris in their films, Baz Luhrmann’s ending to the film is totally different to how you would imagine it to be. In Baz Luhrmann’s film, the police are chasing Romeo as soon as he enters Verona, In neither Shakespeare’s play or Franco Zeffirelli’s film is Romeo known to be in Verona, until the end, when he is found dead.
In Baz Luhrmann’s film there is no fight with Paris, but when he is going into the church he has a hostage, who he threatens with a gun and says the famous quote ‘tempt not a desperate man’ Once he gets to the door of the church he lets the hostage go, the hostage is a random person which was coming out of the church. Once Romeo gets into the church the police seem to fade away, this is because Baz Luhrmann used the idea of sanctuary to connect the film with Shakespeare’s play, and beliefs of the time.
Sanctuary was where if someone stepped foot inside church, even criminals people in authority couldn’t harm them in there or take them out if they was unwilling. Once the helicopters have faded away the church goes completely silent, and then slowly you hear classical music becoming louder. The classical music sets the scene and seriousness, the church is totally dark except where Juliet lay, which was brightly lit this is so your attention is dawn to Juliet.
Juliet has candles and lights, she is placed in the centre of the church, and not to one side this is because she is from an important mafia type family. The tomb in Franco Zeffirelli’s film, is dimly lit by a flame touch, Juliet is surrounded by other bodies, Juliet is covered with a white cloth. In Baz Luhrmann’s film, Tybalt is not in the church, and Romeo doesn’t speak of him, this is so you are able to concentrate on just Romeo and Juliet, in Baz Luhrmann’s film the speech just before he kills himself is shorter.
He still say the famous lines ‘eyes look your lastâ€¦. ‘ Then he starts to drink the poison, as this is happening Juliet starts to open her eyes and move her hand out to reach for Romeo, but by the time she touches him, he has already drank the poison, he’s shocked and upset when he sees her eyes open. He lies down with Juliet, both of them still alive and awake at the same time, I think this is excellent because you get the feeling it could have worked, which makes the ending much more dramatic and gloomy. In Franco Zeffirelli’s film Romeo dies then Juliet wakes up.
The line by Juliet ‘o churl, drunk all, and left no friendly drop to help me after? I will kiss thy lips,â€¦’ makes the ending make much more sense because he’s only just drank the poison, so he might still have some on his lips. In Franco Zeffirelli’s film, Romeo dramatically falls to the ground when he dies and this is quite soon after he drank the poison, but in Baz Luhrmann he dies slowly as he looks into Juliet’s eyes, the moment lasts longer, then he dies, in Juliet’s arms. In both films there is silence after Romeo dies.
When Juliet finds Romeo, in Franco Zeffirelli’s she cries, loudly and there is soft music in the background, but in Baz Luhrmann’s there is no music, just Juliet crying, but this echoes though the church, so the crying is extremely loud, and because it echoes it gives you the sensation of loneliness. All the way though Baz Luhrmann’s film is speedy, unlike Franco Zeffirelli’s film and you imagine Shakespeare’s play to be as fast moving as Baz Luhrmann’s film because the whole play is only three days long. Although Baz Luhrmann’s film is fast moving the end is a lot slower than Franco Zeffirelli’s.
Baz Luhrmann makes a big thing of Romeo and Juliet’s death in comparison with the rest of the film where everything is fast moving. I think the reason Baz Luhrmann makes such a big thing about the ending is because he rightly sees it as the climax of the film. In Baz Luhrmann’s film he misses out the part where the friar gives his side of the story and Romeos letter is read. This is because the audience won’t have lost interest as they did in Shakespeare’s time, so there is no need to recap on what has happened in the plan.
The music plays an import part in Baz Luhrmann’s film, it makes moments more intense and serious, it sets the mood, I think the music in Baz Luhrmann’s film is extremely effective when Juliet is about to kill herself, the cameras start to cook at her from lots of different angles, unlike Franco Zeffirelli’s where there is very limited camera angles, this may be because that in the seventies the technology wasn’t as advanced as technology today. In Baz Luhrmann’s film, when Juliet is about to kill herself, and reaches for the gun, it is in slow motion. This makes the killing of herself last much longer.
In Franco Zeffirelli’s film she cries about Romeo killing himself then she talks to the dead body after that she kill herself, the actor doesn’t seem to fully take on the role of Juliet and seems to some extent lack emotion. She seems to have just followed the directors said to do and not acted to her full ability. This is also the same for Romeo, his character comes across as fake, the actor doesn’t act as you would expect Romeo to behave. In Baz Luhrmann’s film there are gaps in-between when she cries, talks, and kills herself, giving you time to think about what is happening, so you get the full impact of what is happening.
Romeos character is acted well, he behaves as you imagine Romeo to behave, sincere and full of emotions. This is shown in his childish love for Rosline and his true love for Juliet. Another difference is that in Shakespeare’s play you would have probably seen Juliet kill herself, in Franco Zeffirelli’s you see her kill herself, but in Baz Luhrmann’s you don’t see her kill herself, it jumps to a different scene, outside the church, where you hear the gun shot.
The scene of the church is from the sky, where the church looks big and daunting, its dark outside, then you realise just how important the church is to the rest of the town. After you hear the gun shot the scene jumps from outside the church to inside the church, were you see Juliet and Romeo are dead, the alter where they lie is in the shape of a cross, with candles around them, so you could say that they were sacrificed for the peace of the families. And it goes to flashbacks of when they was happy and together Shakespeare backs of when they was together and happy.
They are taken out of the of the church on stretchers, covered by a white cloth, as this is happening, captain prince makes a speech, to the families, people standing by and the cameras this is the speech the prince makes in the tomb in Shakespeare’s play, and in Franco Zeffirelli’s is, again, made by the prince, standing on some stairs at the end of the death march, where the death bell is rang, but in Baz Luhrmann’s film it is made by the prince first then subsequently by a news reader.
As the newsreader is reading the speech the television starts to shrink. The language in Baz Luhrmann’s film was similar to the language used in Shakespeare’s play, and was easy to understand because of the way it was acted out more clearly. Baz Luhrmann’s film had much more Shakespearean in than Franco Zeffirelli’s, Franco Zeffirelli’s film was a bit harder to understand because you was trying to work out what the actors were doing.