As an entry to grade 10, we will be expected to write a comparative essay between three different versions of Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene, from the three different film versions. In Franco Zeffirellis version of Romeo and Juliette, the balcony scene is set in a medieval environment. The old looking costumes and buildings indicate this. Different from all the other scenes, the director of this film has chosen to build up the tense feeling between the two amorous young adults by first making Romeo unseen and unheard to his loving Juliette who is positioned high up on the balcony.
In the West side story the balcony scene is completely different from both of the other film. It is in this version set in a modern time. Surrounded by staircases and brick walls the two loving ones meet sing. Unlike the two other scenes, this version does not reflect that the two “sides” have a wealthy past, due to that they meet not in a castle or in a mansion but in a alley. This gives a good understanding to their love. In the way that money doesn’t matter, and that they will meet anywhere at any time in order to see each other.
My understanding in why they were singing is simple enough to show their feeling for each other in a better way. West side story is also a musical, causing music and singing to be a part of their way of telling each other about their feeling. Music is in this content very successful due to that music can very easily set a mode. Intense music creates a tense feeling and soft music creates a happy feeling. This gives the director of the film the opportunity to more widely express the feelings of the characters.
The balcony scene from the last Romeo and Juliette comes from the movie “Romeo and Juliette (1996)” is very confusing due to a number of different reasons. One reason being, that even though it is a modern setting, medieval costumes such as chain mails are used. Another reason to why the setting is unclear is due to the location of the scene. The scene takes place in a modern day world but in a medieval castle with outfits that would suit the medieval era.
We can easily see that by looking at Juliette‘ s hair in Franco Zeffirellis version (which has been let out) and also by looking at the golden fabric dress that she is wearing (she is casually dressed) that maybe she is ready to go to bed. A golden fabric dress would today be something that would be worn for a ball, but her use of it shows us that she comes from a wealthy family with more than enough money.
Her atmosphere and beauty clearly reflects the feminine role that she has in this important scene. Her clothes melt in with the environment surrounding them. It is first now that Romeo’s costume is properly seen; long sleeved with padded shoulders and dark colours show us his masculine role in the scene. He doesn’t quite belong in this setting and this is clearly shown when the two are standing next to each other. Her costume melts in with the warm colours, that make up the surroundings and his cold coloured clothes gives the obvious feeling of him being an intruder and that he is trespassing.
In the Westside story on the other hand, Juliette is shown to us as a young independent woman who wants nothing else than to be able to do whatever she wants. Her feminine role is extremely well shown to us as an audience by her fine beauty, her white dress which gives us the feeling of her being an angel and also her voice which when she sings gives us the feeling that she really is an angle. Her outfit clearly shows us that unlike Juliette in Franco Zeffirellis version, she is not wealthy and does not wear a golden dress to bed. Romeo is in this version a tall brown- haired guy. He has a deep and steady voice, which almost sounds mechanical. His voice along with his body structure reflects the masculine role that he is playing. In the dark environment that this scene is set in, Romeo is a bright light in the dark night sky as he trespasses onto enemies ground in his bright yellow jacket. I think the director has chosen this outfit for him to clearly show that he doesn’t belong there and simply to show contrast between the two loved ones.
In the last Romeo and Juliette made year 1996, Juliette is well ornate with a long white dress. In almost all the versions white dresses have been an ordinary way of looking at Juliette. In this scene Juliette is shown to us as a young woman who is determined to get and do what she wants. In her soliloquy in the beginning of the scene she explains how her name is the only thing that keeps her and Romeo apart, and that if she only could she would drop that name in order to be with him. As this scene is played out in a modern day era, the physicality between Romeo and Juliette is much more intense then in both the other plays. This is something that isn’t built as the play goes on. Already from the start they are very keen about touching each other’s bodies. This adds to the feeling of love and as a part of the audience I must say that it was much more exciting watching this scene due to all the above mentioned.
In the first scene that we watched the few rays of light that reaches Juliette in the dark night, reflects on her eyes giving them each a small white spot. It brings a look to her face of an abandon puppy that wants a family or a friend. She is lonely. In other words an unhappy look and it is clearly known to us, as an audience, that the only thing she wants at that moment, is to be with her soul mate Romeo. In all the versions, this happens in each and every one. The use of light in characters eyes is a common way of expressing a certain mood and is a widely used method throughout movie- makers.
In the first scene the close space between the two creates a feeling of helplessness as Romeo can see and hear his dear Juliette but he dares not speak to her. The tense feeling continues to build as Romeo comes closer and closer to his dear Juliette. This moment is very ironic in all the versions, the beautiful loving feeling combined with the fact that this girl who Romeo loves, the one he is about to speak to, will later become the reason for both of their deaths. The couple is drawn closer and closer to each other as the scene and the intense feeling builds rapidly.
In Franco Zeffirellis version and Romeo and Juliette made year 1996, when he finally does open his mouth to speak, Juliette is awfully surprised and appears scared as she realizes that he has been listening to her love speech to him. Romeo quickly lets her know that he shares all the same feeling of love for her as well. In the version made 1996 it is at this moment when Romeo starts speaking that they both fall into the water (pool). The light that the pool creates