Almost thirty years after the awful MGM adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, we get a beautiful telling of the story by director Franco Zeffirelli with Olivia Hussey as Juliet and Leonard Whiting as Romeo. This adaptation is by far my favorite and it really sets the bar for all other adaptations for Romeo and Juliet.
The first correction that Franco Zeffirelli did in this classic film was to cast a young Juliet and a young Romeo even more so that when the film debuted Olivia Hussey could not even go the premiere of the movie. The other standard that is in this film is not only the costuming one of the best but the music.
Aw, the music was gorgeous and it is used quite often when pairs skaters skate the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet. This soundtrack does not even come close to the other soundtracks for the other adaptations for Romeo and Juliet.
Above all this adaptation came out during a crucial time in American Culture for it during the rise of the youth. The youth during 1968 was front and center of pop culture, political upheaval and of course can we forget that this was during the sexual revolution that was taking place as well.
Most times when an adaptation comes out the question needs to be asked, why now? Well back then the answer would have been that basically while Romeo and Juliet as a tragic love story it is also about the young. The young in the conflict of their parents’ quarrels and the conflict of trying to appease of them while wanting to strike out on their own. These things that make this adaptation stand the test of time.
Furthermore, during this time in pop-culture, we get another great Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story, which I will save for tomorrow.