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Romeo And Juliet (1954)

Laurence Harvey , Susan Shentall , Renato Castellani  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Laurence Harvey, Susan Shentall, Flora Robson, Norman Wooland, Mervyn Johns
  • Directors: Renato Castellani
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • 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: VCI Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004P3ENQK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,605 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A wonderful film translation of the magic of Shakespeare's verse into the language of cinema. Shot on location in Italy, the film stars Laurence Harvey, beautiful newcomer' Susan Shantell and features the voice of John Gielgud as the chorus . In the renaissance city of Verona, the Montagues and the Capulets are two rival families carrying on a decades long feud. Love blossoms between Romeo and Juliet, each from one of the rival families sworn to hatred. With the help of Franciscan friar Laurence, an elaborate plan to repatriate the families through the secret marriage of their children turns the circumstances of Romeo and Juliet from unbridled love to tragedy. Bonus Features: Photo Gallery Product Specs: DVD9; Dolby Digital 2.0; RT - 138 minutes; Technicolor; Aspect Ratio - 1.37:1 - 4x3; Year - 1954; SRP - $19.99

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally On DVD In A Beautiful Transfer. May 2, 2011
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Of the several different cinematic adaptations of ROMEO & JULIET that are out there, this version has always been my personal favorite since I first saw it in the early 1970s. Not the best, mind you, hence 4 stars instead of 5. The Franco Zefferelli production has that distinction but if you've never seen this one, then you should definitely give it a try now that VCI has given us such a gorgeous looking anamorphic transfer. For years I have had the old MGM VHS tape which I will now gladly donate to the local thrift store where there are still customers who use VHS. There's no need to go into the story since everyone knows that, so I'll focus on what it is about this particular adaptation that I enjoy so much.

First are the locations. The film was shot on location in Verona and other Italian cities in such a way as to resemble Renaissance paintings thanks to the skill of legendary cinematographer Robert Krasker (THE THIRD MAN) who shows here that he can use color the way he used black and white in that classic film. Second is the score by Roman Vlad which is written in the style of music of the period. A galliard which serves as a motif throughout the movie is memorable and effective. Last but not least are the performances. Laurence Harvey, 25 at the time, gives the best line readings of any screen Romeo I have ever heard. Some find his Romeo too effiminate but that will always be a matter of personal opinion. Susan Shentall is not the ideal Juliet but she is more than adequate and her death scene manages to be quite moving. Add character players Flora Robson, Bill Travers, Mervyn Johns and Sebastian Cabot to the mix and their characters spring to life.

Italian director Renato Castellani creates an ideal balance in his movie with a theatrical staging that flows cinematically.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray: a failure. DVD: excellent August 2, 2012
The Blu-Ray version of the Castellani "Romeo and Juliet": this is one of the greatest movies of all time. Castellani was surely not a Visconti nor a Rosselini, but his "Romeo and Juliet" is absolute perfection. However, this Blu-Ray incarnation is a disaster. The glorious cinematography (Robert Krasker) is disgraced by a white-washed remastering. The ball scene is completely distorted. The colours that were once a magnificent succession of Renaissance paintings now appear irritatingly blurred. And - alas ! - there is more: subtitles are frequently a gross distortion of the original text - e.g.: in the DVD version the master of ceremonies at the Capulet's ball announces that "... the musicians of Saint Jerome will now play..." In the Blu-ray captions read ..."the musicians of CENTER ROME will now play...". Ghastly. Also, many dialogues are not transcribed, and one frequently bumps into an "a" or a "the" in capital letters in the middle of a sentence. The whole transcription is absolutely amateurish. Therefore, keep your precious DVD of this masterwork and forget this third-rate Blu-Ray.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best film version of Shakespeare's play by far! March 22, 2012
By olympio
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
This is a review of the Renato Castellani film, "Romeo and Juliet" (1954).
I must admit that I purchased this blu-ray with misgivings. Laurence Harvey
as Romeo? I remembered him as Colonel Travis in John Wayne's "The Alamo"--not a
good omen that he would be able to pull off the role, which is light years removed
from that of the worthy Texan. But surprise, surprise! He does just fine. He is over
fifteen years younger in "Romeo," really hardly resembling the Laurence Harvey
I remembered, and most importantly, he is young enough to be credible as Juliet's
lover (sorry, Leslie Howard). But what about the two Leonards, you say. As to Whiting,
he certainly looks the part, and I have fond memories of Zefferelli's version. As
to DiCaprio's "Romeo," I refuse to watch it, mired as it is in the current trend
to update the story to so-called "modern" times, where the audience is presumably deemed
too moronic to apprehend universal truths in a historical setting different from
our own day.

As to Juliet, Castellani's Susan Shentall does fine also. She is suitably attractive, as is
Olivia Hussey in Zefferelli's version. I cannot really say I prefer one over the
other, though it has been a while since I have seen the Zefferelli film. Hopefully,
a blu-ray treatment is in the offing. Norma Shearer we can summarily dispatch as a
competitor, for the same reason--age--that we dismissed Leslie Howard: this is a work
that cries out for really young lovers. The Juliet of Leonard Di, is, of course, not
in the running for the same reason I have disqualified her colleague--the abiding idiocy
of filming the play as a contemporary drama.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not Too Bad March 25, 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It was filmed in Verona but not at the locations that are famed for the Romeo and Juliet story. Still, its not a bad version and its an acceptable watch for the average viewer. With some knowledge of the play, most people can muddle their way through the storyline.

It won't stun you but its a good presentation.
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