A Comparison of the Two Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet

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A Comparison of the Two Film Versions of Romeo and Juliet I have been studying the prologue to 'Romeo and Juliet' written by the magnificent playwright, William Shakespeare sometime between 1594 and 1596. Still globally acknowledged, it has been restyled by many directors for both stage and screen. Shakespeare starts his play with a prologue: an introduction to a play or other piece of writing. The prologue sets the tone of the theatrical production; it…show more content…
Sir Lawrence Olivier reads Zeffirelli's narration. The tone of the narrator sounds calm, masculine and very traditional. It sounds like a bedtime story trying to soothe the audience. Zeffirelli focuses on familiarising his audience with the setting of the film. In stark contrast, an African American female reads Luhrmann's narration. The TV changes channel to a news report, immediately recognised as the prologue of the play. The verbal style of the film is set as the female anchorwoman reads the prologue's original text in the tone of a journalistic contemporary reportage in which we are accustomed to hearing the news of tragedies in modern life. From the onset, Luhrmann makes his spectators aware of his modern setting and the fact that he is making a clear-cut modern movie. The prologue is read slowly, giving Luhrmann's spectators enough time to chew on what is said. The way it is read and directed draws the audience slowly as the camera zooms in on the reporter, wearing red to symbolise the blood shed during the feud between the 'two households'. There is a contrast in her background, the Shakespearean language and her American accent. The prologue is marked as news broadcast on television, a unique way of narrating. It sets the scene of the play by illustrating the violence between the
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