Comparing and analyzing the two films directed by Franco Zeffirelli: “The Taming of the Shrew” (1967) and “Romeo and Juliet” (1968), one may point that both of them are based on William Shakespeare’s same name works and are devoted to the motives of the history. Both films were released successfully and were appreciated by the audience. Although the films are spoken in the original Old English language, the special use of music, the actors, and the staff contributed greatly to a better understanding of them by the viewers.
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It might be suggested to discuss the comedy released in 1967 – “The Taming of the Shrew”. This film got various Academy Awards and BAFTA Awards nominations for the Best Art Direction, the Best Costume Design, the Best British Actor and Actress (Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor).
As has been already mentioned, it is a feature film based on Shakespeare’s play. It tells the story of a courtship between two people that both have a strong will. The stars of the film are Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who perform the roles of Kate and Petruchio from William Shakespeare’s play.
The actor Michael Hordern brilliantly performed the role of Baptista Minola. He is a desperate father, who is trying to get his two daughters married. He succeeds only in marrying his youngest daughter Bianca. The role of this obedient and committed to the traditions daughter played Natasha Pyne; she outstandingly showed the prototype of that time common and considered as perfect, woman, helping the viewer to better undertake the Shakespeare’s idea.
Elisabeth Taylor brilliantly performed the role of the stubborn eldest sister considered a rare phenomenon in Old England. The viewer sees a woman with a hard temper, whose heart can not be conquered and disposition not tamed even by the persistent young nobleman Petruchio. This role was performed perfectly by Richard Burton, whose expressive acting manner enabled viewers better understand the course and the mood of the film.
Contrasting the above-described film, “Romeo and Juliet” is a tragedy, which tells the story of the unhappy love and death of two young people from the enmity families Montagues and Capulets. The film got the Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Costume Design. Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey performed the roles of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
The film depicts two ruling-class households in Verona city. It shows the long-standing blood feud of those households against each other (a very common phenomenon at the given period depicted in the film). Such an enmity caused the death of the numerous representatives of both houses. The story reveals the absurdness of this long-standing blood feud; the film actors masterly show that nobody remembers the reason for the enmity attitude toward one another.
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Suddenly, the two young people from those families, Romeo and Juliet, fell in love. Being afraid of their parents, they see each other secretly. The actors skillfully expressed the feelings of Romeo and Juliet, who believed that, despite the difficult relationship between their families, peace and happiness were possible. Juliet has a plan how to reconcile the enmity sides with one another; she simulates her death with the help of the potion which brings her into the heave sleep. But Romeo considers her dead and, being disconsolate, kills himself. When Juliet wakes up and finds out that her loved one is dead, she also kills herself. When their parents find the two young people dead, they undertake that the only reason for their children’s death was the enmity of the two families to each other.
Zeffirelli, Franco. The Taming of the Shrew. Columbia Pictures, 1967.
Zeffirelli, Franco. Romeo and Juliet. Paramount Pictures, 1968.