A Comparison of the Fight Scene in Act 3 of Shakespeare's Play ‘Romeo and Juliet' in the Film Version

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A Comparison of the Fight Scene in Act 3 of Shakespeare's Play ‘Romeo and Juliet' in the Film Version by Zeffirelli (1968) and Lurhmann (1997)

The play ‘Romeo and Juliet' is about two families who have been fighting for years. When Romeo falls in love with Juliet and Juliet falls in love with Romeo, there are many consequences, including the deaths of a member of each family – Mercutio and Tybalt.

I will be studying the fight scene where Mercutio and Tybalt die, and comparing, the two film versions of the play, I will find differences and similarities as well as describing how each director / producer interprets and makes their version of the film. I will describe how eight different factors are present in each version of the film: Genre/Film, Institution, Audience, Representation, Mediation, Film Language and Ideology.

The characters in the play that appear in the fight scene are: Romeo from Montague, Benvolio from Montague, Juliet from Capulet, Tybalt from Capulet and Mercutio who is not from either house.

Each of the film produces has made a different type of film in a different type of genre. Genre is the type of film that it is, based on the camera angles and movements, the content, the adaptations and the interpretations as well as other general features that help to determine the genre.

Lurhmann has made a film that is like a modern drama in the way that strange camera angles and movements are used, also there are numerous small adaptations and changes to the script. Both films are a tragedy type film because people die, there is fighting and despair, and two of the main characters die during the fight scene and two more die at the end of the play. Both of the films are also romances, which is obvious, and the main theme of the play/film, but the romance is brought into the fight scene in Lurhmann's version so as to make it feel more important and noticeable. I think that these adaptations of the script by Lurhmann make the film more like a modern drama and very different to the Zeffirelli version.

In the film production team (the institution), there are a lot of different people who want the film to be different. The people have different ideas of how to make the film and what to put in it. The shareholders want it to make money, the experts want it to be an Oscar winning film, the actors want to win awards and the public wants a good film to watch.

The film crew had to employ exactly the right actors for the job, as they are the most important part of the film. They are the only part of the film other than the scenery and props that everyone sees so if you have the wrong actor, the whole film is wrong. In the Zeffirelli version, not very widely known actors played Romeo and Juliet, they were chosen for their ability to play the part, although Michael York who played Tybalt was well known and played a large part in the publicity because of this. If there had been no well-known actors in the film, it would probably be much less successful as there would be less hype about the film and anticipation towards it before it was released. Lurhmann employed Claire Danes who was very well known at the time as well as Pete Postlethwaite who was quite well known. Lurhmann also made Leonardo Di Caprio the actor for Romeo. Leonardo Di Caprio was not well known at all at the time, but after the film, he became widely famous, which I think shows how good a choice Lurhmann made.

Different films are aimed at different audiences (the Audience is Who is the film aimed at, what group of people are expected to enjoy it the most and will want to go and see the film.). The Zeffirelli version is very faithful to the text and only does what Shakespeare has told them to with no fancy bits. It is aimed at people who want that – a film that is just like a play but with better scenery and cuts, although the nature of the play and the script means that different people can enjoy it, because of funny bits, like when...
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