Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #136: Shakespeare Adaptation

Hello there and welcome to Thursday Movie Picks a weekly series where you share movie picks each Thursday. The rules are simple simple: based on the theme of the week pick three to five movies and tell us why you picked them. For further details and the schedule visit the series main page here.


This week's Thursday Movie Picks is Shakespeare Adaptation


I think I've picked all of them before, but since I decided to do a theme within a theme I'm picking them again.

West Side Story (1961)
I could not watch this the first time I saw it. The dancing turned me off. Gave it another try a few years a later, and I like it much better. Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet was about feuding rich powerful families, West Side Story took it to the city and made it about rival New York City gangs. The urban landscape and race relations made an old story feel a lot more relevant. I appreciate the dancing now too, the choreography was really good.
Romeo and Juliet (1968)
I love this one. Shot in Italy, it feels the most authentic. The leads were also actual teenagers and as Romeo and Juliet, they were as young, playful, flirty and naive as they were written.

Romeo + Juliet (1996)
One of my favorites. I would never have thought that Shakepeare's style of speech would work in contemporary setting, but here it soo does. I think Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes have always been good actors and they're really good in this as well.

Romeo & Juliet (2013) 
Sorry to end with a bummer, this is probably one of the worst R&J ever. They kept the original setting and even shot in Italy, it's probably trying to be better than the Zeffirelli version but just fails. Not sure how much was changed from the original play but a lot of it feels lacking; like it's not fun and flirty (at least in the beginning it was supposed to be) and totally lack any passion. The delivery too by the actors too was just so meh. Everything was just not working here.


If you are participating be sure to add your blog post to the linky widget below (Enter your Blog Post URL, your Blog Name and your email {which will remain hidden}). Please also visit the other participating blogs, spread the word about this meme, and also link back to my blog on your own Thursday Movie Picks post :)


Participating Blogs/Bloggers


  1. We match with West Side Story but I bet it'll repeat with others, too. Thanks for hosting the fun!

  2. I haven't seen any of these but the 1968 Romeo and Juliet is in my immediate watch list; I hope to get to it before the month ends.

  3. I forgot Hailee Steinfeld did a Romeo and Juliet movie lol. We did match up on the 1968 version though.

  4. I love West Side Story but always giggle at the opening number since these real tough guys know how to point their toes:) I also love the 1968 Romeo & Juliet. I found the leads did a great job and so did Michael York. I haven't seen the other 2 and will miss the last one. I just don't see liking the one with Leo

  5. I can't believe I still haven't seen West Side Story.

  6. I've picked 2 of these films in the 1968 and 1996 film version. West Side Story is a film I didn't like at first but I've appreciated it more though I still think the leads were the weak link in the film as the supporting cast are just incredible. I haven't seen the most recent Romeo & Juliet as I don't think I want to.

  7. I love Romeo+Juliet, an amazing film. Shakespeare can work in a modern setting if its the right one. There was a BBC series, Shakespeare Re-told which was so good, their Mabeth version set in a restaurant was inspired. I do like West Side Story, some great songs and yes the dancing is amazing too. Not seen Zeffirelli's version. I have seen 2013 version which was nothing special and it annoyed me that things were changed. Fun fact, I actually worked for the producers of the film back in 2013 for a few months, it was not the hit they had hoped for.

  8. Love the theme within a theme. I've seen all but the latest version you have there. All good movies.

  9. Like the idea of tackling a quartet of films based on the same source. The Zeffirelli version probably gets closest to Shakespeare's original intent sans the nudity of course and it's a lovely film.

    The Luhrmann film is an interesting stylization and he and the cast do make the original text work in that greatly altered environment.

    Love West Side Story and the way it manages to transmute the play's intent into a cultural conflict. The dancing is a marvel and Natalie Wood and especially Rita Moreno are fantastic, Richard Beymer much less so as Tony.

    Haven't seen the newest take, the negative comments I've heard from pretty much every quarter has kept me away.

    This was a fun theme since it provided a wealth of choices, I went with three favorites.

    Hamlet (1996)-Kenneth Branagh adapted, directed and stars as the tortured Dane supported by a cast that is drawn from the cream of the British acting world with a few choice American stars pulled in for good measure. What makes this version stand out from the myriad others is Branagh’s decision to pull the play out of the dingy and poorly lit 14th century to the lush baroque 19th, resulting in deserved nominations for Art & Costume design, making it a far more vivid experience. That’s a great help since he has also chosen to present the entirety of the play’s nearly four hour run time. In a cast that includes Derek Jacobi, Julie Christie, Robin Williams, Gerard Depardieu and Judi Dench among so many others it’s difficult to choose any MVP’s aside from Branagh but Kate Winslet as Ophelia and Rufus Sewell as Fortinbras, the crown prince of Norway are memorable. It’s a challenging view but worthwhile.

    Joe MacBeth (1955)-Updating the Scottish play to the criminal underworld of 1930’s America this violent take on the tale (it begins with the title character blowing away a crime boss then going directly to his own wedding) is an inventive twist on the material. Excellent work by Paul Douglas and Ruth Roman as the murderous mobster and his rapacious Lady M hold you rapt as the homicidal pair climb the ladder of success over an ever increasing pile of bodies.

    Kiss Me Kate (1953)-The Taming of the Shrew moved into the world of the modern theatre and musicalized by Cole Porter. Famous stage star Fred Graham (Howard Keel) tries to dissuade his equally famous ex-wife Lilli Vanessi (Kathryn Grayson) to postpone her upcoming marriage so she can co-star with him in a musical updating of The Taming of the Shrew. She agrees reluctantly since their relationship post-divorce is as combative as their married life so it’s not smooth going. Add in several flies in the ointment including second lead Lois Lane(!) (Ann Miller) and some mobsters who are mistakenly putting the squeeze on Frank for a debt Lois’s boyfriend owes and it’s a wacky time backstage. Onstage though there are some amazing dance numbers performed by four of the best dancers of the 50’s (Miller, Carol Haney, Bob Fosse and Bobby Van) and great music sung by all including “It’s Too Darn Hot!” and “From This Moment On”. One of the great musicals, originally shown in 3-D.

  10. I hhave only seen the 1960s R&J an the 90s. Didn't bother with the 2013...doesn't seem like I am missing much


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...