The two film adaptations of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet have their own way of portraying the classic balcony scene. This blog post will discuss the similarities and differences between the 1968 film, and the 1996 film occurring in the balcony scene of each film. Three main points of interest for the comparison in these two scenes are how Romeo acts during the scene, the setting of the scene, and the position of Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo in the 1963 film and the 1996 film act differently in the same situation. Romeo in the 1968 adaptation is very passionate about his feelings for Juliet. He desires to witness the beauty of Juliet from a distance and was not afraid of approaching her when she spoke of Romeo. He was not afraid of the risk of being with Juliet, especially at the Capulet House and this really shows Romeos personality to the audience and lets them better understand the feelings that Romeo has towards Juliet.
However, Romeo in the 1996 adaptation acted very differently than the Romeo from the 1963 adaptation and this can be seen in how Romeo acts in the sight of Juliet and the guards of the Capulet House. When Romeo witnessed Juliet, instead of approaching her and showing his true love for her he hides behind her attempting to be silent and unnoticed. This is completely different than the 1963 Romeo who would not hide from his love when given the chance to be with her. He also hides when the guards are approaching Juliet, which makes sense since being noticed by the Capulets would be bad as he would be punished by them. This shows a huge difference between Romeo in these separate films.
The setting in these two film is also incredibly different. The setting in the 1963 film is made up of a very high balcony that expands along the walls of the Capulet House, along with vines, bushes, and trees. The scene is in the backyard of the Capulet House with a lot of open space. This is most likely how many people pictured this scene, such as me when reading the book and it makes sense with the lines of Romeo and Juliet.
The setting in the 1996 adaptation is completely different than the 1996 adaptation. There is actually no balcony at all, which makes no sense. Instead, there is a set of stairs from Juliet’s room leading to the back of the house where there is a pool. There are many sculptures in the setting placed along the sides of the pool. There are plants and flowers near the sides of the pool as well. One main difference from the 1963 film is the security cameras that the guards of the Capulet House watch, which add a new character that is usually not included in the scene.
The position of the characters is also different between the two films. In the 1968 film, Juliet stays on top of the balcony for the entire scene. While Romeo hides in the bushes climbs the vines and stands near the edge of the balcony with Juliet on the other side. Romeo in this film goes to Juliet.
Whereas, in the 1996 film, there is no actual balcony, as said before, so Juliet climbs down the set of stairs as she ponders about Romeo. Juliet in this film is the one that approaches Romeo. While Juliet thinks about Romeo, Romeo is hiding from Juliet until he surprises her. They both fall into the pool together which is supposed to resemble the balcony from the 1968 film.
Through the examination of Romeo’s attitude, the setting of the scene, and the positions of Romeo and Juliet. I believe that the 1968 adaptions are the better one of the two by comparison. The 1968 resembled the graphic novel better than the 1996 film because it had the correct setting, the positions were proper, and the way that Romeo acted was also better. Romeo, in the 1968 film, acted as if his love was worth the risk of intruding the Capulet House, which is how it should be in a Romeo and Juliet film. To conclude, I believe that the 1968 film is the greater adaptation.
I agree with Ms.Wloszcyna that the balcony scene of the 2013 film was a bit of a tumble. The acting was pretty bad, the music was too loud for the scene and also didn’t fit the atmosphere, and many camera angles looked awkward. I don’t agree with “if you can’t do the balcony scene right, then why even do Romeo and Juliet.” since their are other scenes that are just as important in the play such as Romeo and Juliet meeting for the first time. To Ms.Wloszcyna, yes I agree with most things you said about this scene and there are some things that could have been done better, but there are still some things that the scene did well at, such as the positioning of the Romeo and Juliet, and the setting, at least they have a balcony. Overall, the scene was not that good, it did some things right but most of it was a disapointment.