Movie Mirrors Index

Romeo and Juliet

(1954 c 135')

En: 6 Ed: 6

Adapted from Shakespeare’s tragedy, two lovers from enemy families fall in love and are secretly married. The violent feud causes their marriage to be short, but their passionate love helps to end the feud.

         In a Verona market a servant of the Capulets insults the Montagues, inciting a brawl. Capulets run home, chased by Montagues. Abraham is killed, and fighting breaks out again. The Prince of Verona reproaches both sides and warns them they will be punished with death for another disturbance.

         In the country Romeo Montague (Laurence Harvey) talks with Benvolio (Bill Travers) about love. In a house Lady Capulet (Lydia Sherwood) lets the nurse (Flora Robson) hear her counsel to young Juliet Capulet (Susan Shentall) that she must marry Paris. Capulet (Sebastian Cabot) tells Paris (Norman Wooland) that he must woo Juliet to gain her consent.

         Outside Capulet’s feast Romeo praises Rosalind. Romeo sneaks into the party, and Tybalt (Enzo Fiermonte) tells Capulet, who tries to calm him. Romeo is given a mask and admires Juliet as she dances. Romeo and Juliet dance with masks, and he asks for a kiss. Nurse tells him that she is a Capulet and Juliet that he is her enemy Montague.

         Outside Mercutio (Ubaldo Zollo) and his friends look for Romeo, who avoids them and goes to Juliet’s room, overhearing her. She laments she loves a Montague. He answers that he will love her. She says not to swear. They have exchanged vows. She tells him to wait for her to return and then asks if he wants to marry her. She calls him back and says goodnight.

         Friar Laurence (Mervyn Johns) picks herbs in the morning and contemplates their uses. Romeo says he and Juliet want to marry. Laurence hopes their love will end the rancor.

         Juliet asks the nurse for her news, and Juliet says she can go to church tomorrow. Romeo and Juliet meet Friar Laurence in church and are wed. At the market Tybalt challenges Romeo, who refuses to fight a Capulet. Mercutio arrives and fights Tybalt. When Romeo tries to stop them, Mercutio is wounded and dies. Romeo goes after Tybalt and kills him. Benvolio urges Romeo to flee. Lady Capulet says that Romeo must not live. Juliet is upset that Romeo killed her cousin.

         Laurence tells Romeo that the Prince banished him from Verona. The nurse asks Laurence where Romeo is, and Romeo asks about Juliet. Laurence suggests he go to Mantua. Romeo says goodbye to his parents and leaves on a horse. At night he climbs over the wall and joins Juliet in her room. At dawn he is reluctant to leave her. Nurse warns them, and he kisses Juliet and leaves.

         Capulet tells Paris that he can marry Juliet on Thursday. Lady Capulet tells Juliet when she will wed Paris. Juliet says she will not marry Paris. Capulet threatens to drag her to the church and shouts angrily. Juliet turns to her nurse, who advises her to marry Paris. Juliet tells her father that she will comply, but she goes to see Friar Laurence. She is willing to kill herself, and he gives her a potion that will imitate death. Then he will take her to Romeo. Laurence writes a letter to Romeo.

         Juliet tells her father that she went to church to repent. Friar John carries the letter to Mantua. He treats a sick man and says it is plague, and he is locked in quarantine. Juliet asks her nurse and mother to leave her alone. Juliet drinks the potion. The next day the nurse reports that Juliet is dead.

         Romeo wakes and remembers his dream of Juliet. A messenger tells Romeo that Juliet died. Romeo rides to Verona and asks for Friar Laurence, who is at the funeral. Romeo finds the door closed, but he uses a large metal candleholder to pry open the tomb. Friar John returns and shows Laurence the letter he could not deliver. Romeo hits Paris with the metal, and he dies. Romeo enters the tomb and sees Juliet laid out. He laments and kisses her. Then he stabs himself. Friar Laurence comes in and finds Romeo dead as Juliet wakes up. She asks for Romeo and sees he is dead. She kisses him and stabs herself also.

         In the cathedral the Prince comes in and speaks to those mourning. Capulet and Montague are reconciled.

         In this version of the famous tragedy the dialog is shortened for pauses and action. The scenes are realistic in depicting medieval Italy. The timeless play shows how violence can ruin people’s lives, but love can heal the hatred.

Copyright © 2009 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index