Romeo and Juliet (1954 film)

Infobox Film
name = Romeo and Juliet

image_size =
caption =
director = Renato Castellani
producer = Sandro Ghenzi Joseph Janni Earl St. John
writer = Renato Castellani
narrator =
starring = Laurence Harvey Susan Shentall
music = Roman Vlad
cinematography = Robert Krasker
editing = Sidney Hayers
distributor = Rank Organisation (UK)
United Artists (US)
released = 1 September 1954 (UK)
21 December 1954 (US)
runtime = 138 min
country = Italy/UK
language = English
budget =
gross =
preceded_by =
followed_by =
website =
amg_id =
imdb_id = 0047029

"Romeo and Juliet" is a 1954 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same title. It was directed by Renato Castellani and stars Laurence Harvey as Romeo, Susan Shentall as Juliet, Flora Robson as the Nurse, Mervyn Johns as Friar Laurence, Bill Travers as Benvolio, Sebastian Cabot as Lord Capulet, Ubaldo Zollo as Mercutio, Enzo Fiermonte as Tybalt and John Gielgud as the Chorus.

The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was named the best foreign film by the National Board of Review, which also named Castellani as best director.

Critical attention

Renato Castellani won the "Grand Prix" at the Venice Film Festival for his 1954 film of "Romeo and Juliet". [Tatspaugh, p.138] His film contains interpolated scenes intended to establish the class system and Catholicism of Renaissance Verona, and the nature of the feud. Some of Castellani's changes have been criticised as ineffective: interpolated dialogue is often banal, and the Prince's appearances are reimagined as formal hearings: undermining the spontaneity of Benvolio's defence of Romeo's behaviour in the duel scene. [Tatspaugh, p.139] The major supporting roles are vastly reduced, including that of the nurse; Mercutio becomes (in the words of Daniel Rosenthal) "the tiniest of cameos" and Friar Laurence "an irritating ditherer". [Rosenthal, pp.213-4] Castellani's most prominent changes related to Romeo's character, cutting back or removing scenes involving his parents, Benvolio and Mercutio in order to highlight Romeo's isolation, and inserting a parting scene in which Montague coldly pulls his banished son out of Lady Montague's farewell embrace. [Tatspaugh, p.139] Another criticism made by film scholar Patricia Tatspaugh is that the realism of the settings, so carefully established throughout the film, "goes seriously off the rails when it come to the Capulets' vault". [Tatspaugh, p.139] Castellani uses competing visual images in relation to the central characters: ominous grilles (and their shadows) contrasted with frequent optimistic shots of blue sky. [Tatspaugh, p.140] A well-known stage Romeo, John Gielgud, played Castellani's chorus (and would reprise the role in the 1978 BBC Shakespeare version). Laurence Harvey, as Romeo, was already an experienced screen actor, who would shortly take over roles intended for the late James Dean in "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Summer and Smoke". [Brode, pp.48-9] By contrast, Susan Shentall, as Juliet, was a secretarial student who was discovered by the director in a London pub, and was cast for her "pale sweet skin and honey-blonde hair". [Brode, p.51, quoting Renato Castellani.] She failed to rise to the demands of the role, and would marry shortly after the shoot, never returning to screen acting. [Brode, p.51, Rosenthal, p.213] Other parts were played by inexperienced actors, also: Mercutio was played by an architect, Montague by a gondolier from Venice, and the Prince by a novelist. [Rosenthal, p.214] Critics responded to the film as a piece of cinema (its visuals were especially admired in Italy, where it was filmed) but not as a performance of Shakespeare's play: Robert Hatch in The Nation said "We had come to see a play... perhaps we should not complain that we were shown a sumptuous travelogue", and Time's reviewer added that "Castellani's "Romeo and Juliet" is a fine film poem... Unfortunately it is not Shakespeare's poem!" [Brode, pp.50-1]


External links


###@@@KEY@@@###succession box
title=Golden Lion winner
before="Forbidden Games" (1952)
(no award in 1953)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Romeo and Juliet (disambiguation) — Romeo and Juliet may refer to: * Romeo and Juliet , a tragedy by William Shakespeare ** Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, the characters in Shakespeare s playIn film:* Romeo and Juliet (1900 film) * Romeo and Juliet (1908 film) * Romeo and… …   Wikipedia

  • Romeo and Juliet — is a tragedy written early in the career of William Shakespeare about two teenage star cross d lovers Romeo and Juliet , I.0.6] whose untimely deaths ultimately unite their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare s most popular plays during… …   Wikipedia

  • Romeo and Juliet — Romeo und Julia auf einem Gemälde von Ford Madox Brown Romeo und Julia (engl. Kurztitel Romeo and Juliet) ist eine 1597 veröffentlichte Tragödie von William Shakespeare, welche die Geschichte zweier junger Liebender schildert, die verfeindeten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Romeo and Juliet on screen — See also: Shakespeare on screen. William Shakespeare s Romeo and Juliet may be the most screened play of all time. The most notable theatrical releases were George Cukor s multi Oscar nominated 1936 production, Franco Zeffirelli s 1968 version,… …   Wikipedia

  • Nurse (Romeo and Juliet) — Nurse Creator William Shakespeare Play Romeo and Juliet Other name(s) Angelica (possible real name) Family Unnamed (husband) Susan (daughter) Associates Juliet …   Wikipedia

  • Juliet — This article is about the Shakesperean character. For other uses, see Juliet (disambiguation). Juliet The balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet as depicted by Ford Madox Brown in an 1870 painting. Creator William Shakespeare …   Wikipedia

  • Romeo Montague — is a fictional character in William Shakespeare s Romeo and Juliet . Name Origins Arthur Brooke s poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet calls Romeo Romeules in all but one line. In line 253 his name changes to Romeo in order to rhyme… …   Wikipedia

  • Romeo et Juliette (film, 1954) — Roméo et Juliette (film, 1954)  Pour l’article homonyme, voir Roméo et Juliette (homonymie).  Roméo et Juliette …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Roméo et Juliette (film) — Roméo et Juliette Pour les articles homonymes, voir Roméo et Juliette (homonymie). Roméo et Juliette Le balcon de Juliette à …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Romeo y Julieta (desambiguación) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Romeo y Julieta se puede referir a: Romeo y Julieta, famosa obra del dramaturgo William Shakespeare. A partir de dicha obra se han realizado muchas adaptaciones. Contenido 1 Películas 2 Música …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.