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Understanding Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet [VHS]

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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(Dec 31, 2002)
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Product Details

  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Goldhill Home Media
  • VHS Release Date: December 31, 2002
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304947542
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #509,580 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

This tutorial about the great love tragedy opens with an actor who portrays Shakespeare providing some of the bard's autobiographical facts that set the tone for this video. Other actors in costume provide factual background about the play, speaking directly to the camera, and scenes from the play are performed and framed by an academic discussion. The specialists on Shakespeare, who sit in director's chairs on a talk-show set, elaborate on the play, scene by scene. There is nothing flashy about the production, but the discussion, while serious, is energetic enough to hold the interest of a student. Before each scene is performed, the three professors (and a moderator) make note of the motivations of specific characters and call attention to specific portions of dialogue. The entire play is not performed in this production, but the most noteworthy scenes are acted by the young cast (who seem to be collegiate performers). The scenes that are not shown on the video are briefly summarized by the academic experts. This tutorial is not intended to be a substitute for reading the play or for seeing a complete performance, but the academic discussion does cover the major points, and those studying the play, or Shakespeare in general, would benefit from viewing it. --Robert J. McNamara

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Students of English literature and those who understand the language used by Shakespeare cringe when people interpret "Wherefore are thou, Romeo?" to mean "Where are you, Romeo?" In Shakespeare's time the word wherefore meant why. Juliet was asking why must it be that you are a Montague and I am a Capulet, families who hate each other. This is one of the tidbits of information contained in this two-hour video. The main through-plot scenes of the play are presented and intertwined with commentary from a panel of Shakespearean scholars from U.C.L.A. and California State University, Northridge. It's not a Kenneth Branaugh extravaganza. The budget obviously wasn't $30 million, but the acting is good (watch the fine performances of Ben Slack as the good friar and Lillian Byrd as Nurse)and the commentary provides insight into motivations and meanings.
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By A Customer on May 19, 2000
What a find! This video is a great benefit to students studying Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet is required reading in most schools and this video lays it all out and explains everything clearly. It's also good entertainment. The actors who portray Romeo and Juliet are very good and the supporting actors, especially Friar Laurence, are excellent. The panel of experts explain everything that's happening and give valuable insight into meanings of words and background information that enhances the appreciation of the play. I recommend it for students and for ordinary viewers who would like to get more enjoyment out of a Shakespeare play.
Comment 7 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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