R. S. White
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‘Star-crossed lovers’
Romeo and Juliet and romantic tragedy
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Romeo and Juliet is the most obvious example of a single play by Shakespeare influencing a myriad of movies, to the extent that we can recognize a ‘romeo-and-juliet’ genre film even when Shakespeare is not referenced. Although the tales of romantic tragedy go much further back than Shakespeare, it is his version which has proved the most durable in its specific conventions and the kind of love represented in it. There have been a series of watershed film adaptations of the play itself, such as those by Cukor, Zeffirelli, and Luhrman, but this chapter takes the occasion to trace the play’s more subtle and indirect influence into films made in a range of countries, the United States, the Czech Republic, Wales, and India.

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Shakespeare’s cinema of love

A study in genre and influence


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