Romeo and Juliet 1954 – Susan Shentall again

This film has only just come to my notice, and seems to have grabbed my interest mainly because of the fact that the film Director Renato Castellani chose a young British girl, Susan Shentall to play Juliet mainly because her looks were such that she fitted the character PERFECTLY.

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A big film with  Laurence Harvey and filmed mainly in Italy – and beautifully filmed at that in  glorious Technicolor.

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This version has Laurence Harvey as Romeo opposite  Susan Shentall’s Juliet. They seem to generate a soft glow between them that gradually picks up heat.  Juliet’s death scene is rather stark and complete as it should be and Susan Shentall’s acting was so good  that she gave Juliet’s death a type of dignity rarely seen on screen.

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Some of the location filming in Italy comes beautifully to the screen – again in  glorious Technicolor.

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Below: This is one particular comment from someone who loved this film – some of the words slightly changed though.

Never have the personalities of the two lovers been so intensely portrayed in the screen. Susan Shentall conveys all the fire of  first love and the impending tragedy that will follow it. Laurence Harvey, manages to convey Romeo’s brash, passionate  nature. The great Robert Krasker’s photography is the work of a  master: each picture frame reflects a Renaisssance painting, as well as the sets (all original ones in Venice, Padova, Verona and Siena), costumes and the décor. The best names then available in those fields in Europe were recruited to recreate what Romeo and Juliet’s Verona should have been.

The result is a joy to watch.  The ball scene alone could receive all the prizes this film was awarded in the 1954 Venice Film Festival. Roman Vlad’s  musical comment is a lesson in itself. When compared to Castellani’s masterpiece, all other versions seem like pale, unfocused, poor readings of Shakespeare’s immortal tragedy.
Castellani “Romeo and Juliet” is one of the greatest films of all time. Castellani was surely not a Visconti nor a Rosselini, but his “Romeo and Juliet” is absolute perfection.

After Reading this, the Trailer to the film ABOVE – will really whet your appetite and show the scale and beauty of this classic film – PLEASE just take a few minutes to watch it.

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