ROMEO AND JULIET (1968)
1968, Paramount, 138 min, UK/Italy, Dir: Franco Zeffirelli

One of the most beloved of all Shakespeare films stars young actors Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey as the Bard’s star-crossed lovers, caught between their feuding families in Renaissance Italy. Shot on location, this ravishing adaptation earned well-deserved Oscars for cinematography and costumes, and features one of composer Nino Rota’s most memorable scores. Narration by Laurence Olivier.


RICHARD II (2012)
2012, BBC, 140 min, UK, Dir: Rupert Goold

Produced for the BBC as part of its series of Shakespeare’s history plays dubbed “The Hollow Crown,” this engrossing drama stars Ben Whishaw in a BAFTA Award-winning turn as the 14th century British monarch, whose reign ended at the hands of Henry Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear) - who then became King Henry IV. Patrick Stewart costars as Henry’s father, John of Gaunt.


TAMING OF THE SHREW
1929, United Artists, 63 min, USA, Dir: Sam Taylor

“America’s Sweetheart” may have seemed an unusual choice to play a fiery female, but the Mary Pickford-Douglas Fairbanks team proves unbeatable in this adaptation of the classic Shakespearean comedy - the first and last film the married couple starred in together. In 16th century Italy, the bold Petruchio (Fairbanks) rises to the challenge of wooing Katherine (Pickford), a woman whose headstrong ways have driven off all other suitors. The first sound version of the play on film, this version was originally shot as a silent film, with all the dialogue and sound effects added at a later stage.


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