I'm 22, and I knew the story long before I first read the play (in 8th
grade English G/T), mostly from TV shows _Diff'rent Strokes_, _The
FLintstones_, _The Jetsons_, I even saw Clive A. Smith's _Romy-O and
Julie-8_. Of course, I didn't think as much of it then as I do now, but I
still think Shakespeare wrote many plays that were better.
On Tue, 31 Mar 1998, Susan Vaill wrote:
> (Save Romeo & Juliet before someone let's them live!)
> On the R & J note, I think even a selective comparison of Franco
> Zefferelli's film with Bas Luhrmann's (?) recent 'modernized' version
> would be very useful for kids. When I was in 6th grade, a group of us put
> on a condensed version of the play, so the story was always familar to
> me--I couldn't imagine not knowing it.
> However, around the time the recent Romeo & Juliet came out, I met an 11
> year-old girl who she was really excited about going to see the movie.
> She had seen the trailer and asked me about the part where Romeo is
> climbing up a wall to Juliet in the window--she thought Juliet had been
> kidnapped and he was coming to rescue her. I was shocked--she said she
> had never read the play--then her 14 year old brother chimed in that he
> had never read it either. I said, well, you must know the plot, its been
> retold in movies time and time again--the boy and girl from thw opposite
> side of the tracks, from rival groups--star-crossed lovers?... They
> looked at me blankly. Not even West Side Story? They'd never heard of it.
> Essentially, it occurred to me what a tragedy (no pun intended) it would
> be for these kids' first and perhaps only familiarity with Romeo & Juliet
> to come from the music video version. I myself enjoyed it a great deal
> for its *differences*, but I can't imagine not having something to
> compare that to--especially Claire Danes vs. Olivia Hussy (I think that's
> the name of Zefferelli's Juliet).
> I even remember a Wonder Years episode about Zefferelli's R & J being the
> fad movie for all of those kids to go see.
> Just some thoughts,
> Susan Vaill
> MFA Film Production Program
> University of Southern California
> School of Cinema-Television
> (213) 650-6199
> Online resources for film/TV studies may be found at ScreenSite
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