Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was unique in its day for casting kids in the play's pivotal roles of, well, kids. Seventeen-year-old Leonard Whiting and 15-year-old Olivia Hussey play the titular pair, the Bard's star-crossed lovers who defy a running feud between their families in order to be together in love. Typically played on stage and in previous film productions by adult actors, the innocent look and rawness of Whiting and Hussey resonated at the time with a burgeoning youth movement from San Francisco to Prague. The tragic romance at the center of the story also clicked with anti-authority sentiments, but even without that, Zeffirelli scores points by validating the ideals and passions of strong-willed adolescents. Less successful are scenes requiring the actors to have a fuller grasp of the text, though the best thing going remains the unambiguous duel between Romeo and Tybalt (Michael York). Lavishly photographed by Pasquale de Santis on location in Italy, this Romeo and Juliet brought a different tone and dimension to a story that had become tiresome in reverential presentations. --Tom Keogh
Shakespeare's classic play of tragic love between members of opposing families. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: PG Release Date: 12-DEC-2003 Media Type: DVD
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