Zefferelli vs. Luhrmann


William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet leaves a lot of room for creative elaboration. From this has come countless versions of the play. The two that I compared are Zefferelli's and Luhrmann's variations. Both spawned from the original and brought new concepts to the stage. They were both distinct and profound in their own execution of the play.

The aforementioned Zefferelli's adaptation of the play is not for the uneducated American audience. Rather, one must be able to comprehend the quick banter of English accents that constantly flow through the film. Furthermore, unlike Luhrmann's variation, there are no clues in the setting to help understand meaning or tone. On the other hand, Zefferelli's production presents a more concise version of the play to the viewer, accurately portraying setting, characters, and atmosphere. It brought me new understanding and significance to the play and aided me in comprehending the intricate world of William Shakespeare.

Lurhmann's 1996 edition of Romeo and Juliet provided a brilliant contrast to Zefferelli's adaptation. His portrayal delivered more contemporary aspects to the stage. The setting was modern, yet maintained a hint of architecture from Shakespearean times. An example of this classical architecture was the Capulets' magnificent staircase. Another benefit from this edition was the cleverly added foreshadowing and numerous additional connotations that were enclosed in the background of the film, providing new treasures to be found with each viewing.

Although I found Zefferelli's version of the play accurate and enjoyable, I preferred the modern connotations of Lurhmann's later adaptation. It was a refreshing renewal of Romeo and Juliet and shed new light on the literary masterpiece.