HB, Will

I believe Franco Zeffirelli’s ” Romeo and Juliet” is the most exciting film of Shakespeare ever made. Not because it is greater drama than Olivier’s “Henry V,” because it is not. Nor is it greater cinema than Welles’ “Falstaff.” But it is greater Shakespeare than either because it has the passion, the sweat, the violence, the poetry, the love and the tragedy in the most immediate terms I can imagine. It is a deeply moving piece of entertainment, and that is possibly what Shakespeare would have preferred.

Roger Ebert, 1968

los balcones 002Shakespeare was born (1564) on this date and also died (1616) on it.

The song What Is A Youth? was composed by Nino Rota and Eugene Walter, sung by Glen Weston. Leonardo was played by Bruno Filippini.

Transcript (from the screenplay by Franco Brusati, Masolino D’Amico & Franco Zefferelli)

The Capulet’s. A party takes place. Juliet searches for the young man with whom she earlier danced briefly.

Leonardo, sing, pray you, come play and sing!

LEONARDO (sings)
What is a youth?
Impetuous fire
What is a maid?
Ice and desire
The world wags on

A rose will bloom
It then will fade
So does a youth,
So does the fairest maid

Comes a time when one sweet smile
Has its seasons for a while
Then Love’s in love with me
Some may think only to marry
Others will tease and tarry
Mine is the very best parry
Cupid he rules us all

Caper the caper sing me the song
Death will come soon to hush us along
Sweeter than honey and bitter as gall
Love is a past-time that never will pall
Sweeter than honey and bitter as gall
Cupid he rules us all

A rose will bloom
It then will fade
So does a youth
So does the fairest maid

To one side of the Hall.

ROMEO (to Juliet)
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth the rough touch with a gentle kiss.

Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.

Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?

Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.

O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.

Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.

Then move not, while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purged.

Then have my lips the sin that they have took.

Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urged!
Give me my sin again.

LEONARDO (sings)
a rose will bloom then will fade
so does a youth so does the fairest maid

Juliet, Lady Juliet.


Your mother craves a word with you.
Make haste! Make haste!

Exeunt Juliet. Romeo approaches Nurse.

ROMEO (to Nurse)
What is her mother?

Marry, bachelor,
Her mother is the lady of the house,
And a good lady, and a wise and virtuous
I nursed her daughter, that you talk’d withal;
I tell you, he that shall lay hold of her
Shall have the chinks.

(to himself)
Is she a Capulet?
O dear account! my life is my foe’s debt.

The Hall

O, what ho, my mistresses
What, will you be gone?
If it seem so, by god it be so very late, then we shall call it early by and by!

(to Juliet)
Goodnight, sweet Lady Juliet.

Exeunt all but Juliet and Nurse

Come hither, nurse. What is yon gentleman?

Count Paris.

No, what’s he that  follows there?

Oh, I know not.

Go, ask his name.

Nurse approaches Tybalt.

(to Nurse)
Hmm, Romeo, of the House of Montague.


Nurse returns to Juliet.

His name is Romeo, and a Montague;
The only son of your great enemy.

(to herself)
My only love sprung from my only hate!
Too early seen unknown, and known too late!
Prodigious birth of love it is to me,
That I must love a loathed enemy.

Juliet on the patio.
A woman’s voice calls within ‘Juliet.’
In the distance a man’s voice calls ‘Romeo.’
A woman’s voice calls within ‘Juliet.’
In the distance a man’s voice calls ‘Romeo.’
One calls within ‘Lady Juliet. Juliet!’
In the distance a man’s voice calls ‘Romeee-o-o.’


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