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Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet / Nureyev, Fonteyn, Royal Ballet (1966)

Margot Fonteyn , Rudolf Nureyev , Paul Czinner  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet / Nureyev, Fonteyn, Royal Ballet + Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake + The Nutcracker / Baryshnikov, Kirkland, Charmoli
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Product Details

  • Actors: Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, David Blair, Desmond Doyle, Julia Farron
  • Directors: Paul Czinner
  • Writers: William Shakespeare
  • Producers: Paul Czinner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 1999
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003M5GE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,914 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Prokofiev - Romeo and Juliet / Nureyev, Fonteyn, Royal Ballet" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Ballet synopsis
  • History of Prokofiev's music
  • Biographies of Rudolf Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn, and Sergei Prokofiev

Editorial Reviews

It's not a stretch to call Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn the most sublime of all dance partners and Sergei Prokofiev the most gifted 20th-century ballet composer. And so it goes without saying that the 1966 film version of the Royal Ballet production of Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet featuring Nureyev and Fonteyn as the star-crossed lovers is an absolute must-have for anyone who cares a whit about the art. Director Paul Czinner has made all the right moves, alternating between full shots of the performers with long shots that accentuate how Kenneth MacMillan's fastidious choreography is inexorably linked to the characters, their story, the elaborate sets, and the viewer. Nicholas Georgiadis's costumes are sumptuous without being overdone, the supporting dancers and ensemble are as exquisite as the leads, and John Lanchbery conducts the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House with just the right mixture of joviality and tragedy that Prokofiev's classic score needs but doesn't always receive. --Kevin Filipski

Product Description

This film is the famed Royal Ballet production of Romeo and Juliet. This historical performance stars Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev as the quintessential stage lovers. It captures the greatest dance partnership of our century at the peak of their careers.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ballet That Spoiled All Other Ballets For Me April 29, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Tonight I watched Romeo and Juliet again, this time with two of my granddaughters. I have seen it with my parents, with my wife and three children, and now with my grandchildren. I attended the movie in Washington, in Boston, and in Albany, NY many years ago. This version has become part of my life, as have its stars, Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Why I have not reviewed it before, I do not know.

This Royal Ballet version of Romeo and Juliet is so fine, so spectacular, so moving, and so incrediblly beautiful that in my opinion there is no other ballet that can compare with it. First there is the poignantly tragic love story of Shakespeare. Add to it the hauntingly expressive, classic-yet-modern music of Prokofiev. Stir in Kenneth MacMillan's sensitive and exuberant choreography. And as the supreme touch, have it danced by the most exhilarating male dancer who every performed, in partnership with the most delicate and vulnerable ballernina of the past century. Here you have the masterpiece of all masterpieces. A ballet that puts other ballets to shame with their weak plots and lack of emotional substance.

My two favorite scenes are the balcony scene, and the scene where Romeo dances with a lifeless Juliet. The first exudes love and passion, as Nureyev and Fonteyn are transported by their new-found love to a height beyond all measure. In the second, your heart freezes and you strain to hold back tears as Romeo tries to coax the life back into Juliet by dancing with her limp but still graceful form. There are no touchingly valid moments such as these in any other ballet I have seen.

The superb costumes are worthy of a Zefferelli production, although this is not one, of course. The scenery is adequate but not impressive.
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55 of 58 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes magical, but often frustrating March 14, 2001
First, it should be said that every time Fonteyn and Nureyev danced together, there was a chemistry that transcended the choreography. Even with Fonteyn at the close of her amazing career in this production, those qualities of interpretation and connection shine through. Nureyev's dancing is solid, but as with many MacMillan ballets, he spends much time as a display pedestal for his partner. However, when Fonteyn, especially, is on screen, it is impossible to tear your eyes away: she truly was one of the most charismatic dancers of the last century.
That said, I must confess to a great deal of frustration with this DVD. There was no effort made to re-master, as far as I can see. Also, as becomes obvious from the intro titles (with the edges chopped off), the coversion from PAL to NTSC was done haphazardly at best. In some scenes, dancers are partially cut-off from view, in others the frame speeds result in an almost jerky quality.
Czinner, like many others in the past, tried very hard to turn the ballet production into a movie production, and fails miserably at times. Close-ups are filmed when MacMillan's spectacular corps choreography is occurring, so you miss some wonderful dancing. Often, the effort to capture "drama" for the movie screen ends up detracting terribly. One day, somebody will figure out that the best way to film ballet is to simply plop your camera in the best seat in the house with a wide angle lens and let it run.
Would I purchase this again? Certainly. As a bit of history it has great value. However, I see no reason to spend the extra money on the DVD version -- it's no better than film, and the "extras" are nothing that you couldn't find elsewhere, and in a better format ("I am a Dancer", the VHS with Nureyev, comes to mind.) So save your DVD dollars and go for tape on this one.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but we need a new transfer March 5, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
According to the screen credits, this was made for film. Thankfully it does not go off on some filmitization experiment. Actually they might have been too conservative for everyone's liking since it looks exactly like a stage production, only with film like camera work. A greater number of people can comment on the ballet itself since it has been on VHS for some time. I will confine my comments mostly to issues with its reproduction.
I agree with the Chicago person's comment that the quality of the transfer is not the best, and will go much further. Despite my criticisms, I hope everyone will keep in mind that I would recommend this as a great DVD to own.
Unfortunately this DVD was not transferred from the film, but from a video of the film. This means that you will see scan lines and other video artefacts. Either because of this or poor DVD compression, the picture sharpness is muddy, and trails of movement are visible as on the Swan Lake DVD. Other problems that would be easy to restore are inconsistencies between exposures on the frames and frame shake (revealed by static objects appearing to vibrate). Hopefully, the next release will be digitally remastered directly from film with better quality compression, and digital remastering of the audio track to DTS. A plus would be if they restored the film print by removing the dust and scratches.
DVD features were not entirely ignored, but could be significantly improved:
"Chapter" Indexing: 18 points in the ballet can be accessed. This is much too few. Not just the scenes, but each particular dance should be indexed as with Kultur's Swan Lake DVD.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
This was a present. So I did not view the video.
Published 2 months ago by christa Fahmi
4.0 out of 5 stars worth watching, and hearing.
Margot makes you believe she is 14, Juliet's age. Prokofiev's music beautifully represents the young men striding into a party not their own. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Laura
4.0 out of 5 stars A classic!
This is an older tape with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev but worth having as it is a famous version. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ann McNally
4.0 out of 5 stars Fonteyn and Nureyev
Nureyev's talent is so evident and Fonteyn's elegance is obvious. They are such a well-paired partnership and in sync one with the other. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Watermoon
5.0 out of 5 stars A historic performance
Nureyev changed the perception of the male role in the ballet world and raised the bar for every leading male dancer ever since. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Laura-NY
5.0 out of 5 stars Fonteyn and Nureyev: Romeo and Juliet
Superb dancing and acting. Technical excellence, with breathtaking brilliance. Lavish production with lush costumes and settings. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rosemary Vernon Wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gift. Art at its best.
Refreshed my memory of seeing Fonteyn and Nureyev performing this production in Barcelona in 1965. A joy! And I can see it when ever I want.
Published 13 months ago by solotar
5.0 out of 5 stars Something to cherish forever! This partership was just memorable and...
Something to cherish forever! This partnership was memorable and unforgettable.MacMillan' s 'Romeo and Juliet' Is
breathtaking.a ballet to be seen over and over again.
Published 14 months ago by Cissie
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic duo
The two, Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, were fantastic dancing together. She was unbelievable all on her own. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Rotaka
4.0 out of 5 stars Romeo and Juliet
The ballett is wonderful. The DVD has the same problem as the Sleeping Beauty DVD, Sudden stops before it continues.
Published 19 months ago by Catheline Nemeth
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