Films Featuring Performances, or Composition
Another way in which film-makers and authors use Shakespearean texts is to feature characters who are actors performing those texts, within a wider non-Shakespearean story. Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet are the two plays which have most often been used in this way. Usually, Shakespeare's story has some parallel or resonance with the main plot. Films featuring characters performing scenes from Romeo and Juliet include the 1912 and 1982 film versions of Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, Cured Hams (1927), Drama De Luxe (1927), Broadway Fever (1928), Les Amants de Vérone (1949), Marjorie Morningstar (1958), Carry on Teacher (1959) Shakespeare Wallah (1965) and, significantly, Shakespeare in Love (1998).
The 1941 film Playmates features bandleader Kay Kyser and Shakespearean actor John Barrymore playing themselves in a plot which involves Kyser producing an adaptation featuring "swing musician Romeo Smith and opera singer Juliet Jones, with Juliet's father, a devotee of classical music, as obstacle to their romance."
André Cayatte's Les Amants de Vérone (France, 1949) features Georgia (Anouk Aimée), the daughter of the declining Maglia family (roughly the equivalent of Shakespeare's Capulets) who meets her Romeo in working-class Angelo (Serge Reggiani) while working as stand-ins for the actors playing Romeo and Juliet in a film of the play. The film is a melodramatic reworking of the Romeo and Juliet story, centering on the beauty and passion of the protagonists, and ending with their tragic deaths.
The conceit of dramatising Shakespeare writing Romeo and Juliet has been used several times. The oddball 1944 B-movie Time Flies features the comedy duo Susie and Bill Barton, who, time travelling, encounter a Shakespeare struggling for words for his balcony scene, which Susie (Evelyn Dall) supplies from memory, while Bill interrupts with quips. John Madden's 1998 Shakespeare in Love depicts Shakespeare's process in composing Romeo and Juliet against the backdrop of his own doomed love affair. Writers Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard exploited another commonplace of Shakespeare-related films, which scholar Tony Howard describes as the "playing Shakespeare is a gateway to self-fulfilment" plot. As he explains it, "an ill-matched crew of Elizabethan theatre people are transformed and united by the process of creating Romeo and Juliet". The film's climax includes Judi Dench's Elizabeth I declaring that Shakespeare's play "can show us the very truth and nature of love."
Read more about this topic: Romeo And Juliet On Screen
Other articles related to "film":
... Butterfly Lovers, a Chinese legend, was made into a cartoon film in 2004, that follows the storyline of Romeo and Juliet ... The zombie-romantic comedy film Warm Bodies (2013) and Isaac Marion's eponymous 2010 novel on which it is based draw numerous parallels to Romeo and Juliette, from the characters' names ... (See Warm Bodies (film)#Reception) ...
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