Italian director Franco Zeffirelli started out as an actor in the stage productions of Luchino Visconti, then worked as an assistant on several Visconti-directed films. After World War II, Zeffirelli launched a career designing, costuming, and directing operas, a field of entertainment to which he’d return periodically throughout his life and which led to his first directorial credit, the Swiss-produced filmization La Boheme (1965). Zeffirelli’s reputation in the 1960s rested on his boisterous, non-traditional movie versions of Shakespeare. He directed Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in a lusty adaptation of Taming of the Shrew (1967), then became an icon for the Youth Movement by casting 17-year-old Leonard Whiting and 15-year-old Olivia Hussey in Romeo and Juliet (1968). Zeffirelli’s eye for visual richness served him well in the opulent Brother Sun/Sister Moon (1973), a romanticized account of Francis of Assisi. Some of Zeffirelli’s later American films were unworthy of his talents… read more
Mel, who is known for acting crazy, tries to be "Shakespearean." All the other actors act crazy! Why can't he act crazy? ...seeing he IS playing a crazy character!! But after trying, and failing to make it through Branaugh's Hamlet, I have to admit this adaptation is really good! But Mel should have just been his usual crazy self. IMHO Great camera work, locations, acting, lighting... just not what was expected
A pretty lifeless adaptation of an otherwise fine play - indeed, Shakespeare’s manuscript provides the opportune foundations for a magnificent film, yet that’s all but squandered entirely here; with the butchering of some of the text’s finest passages, poor performances from virtually everyone (Gibson and Close being especially disappointing) and Zeffirelli’s uninspiring direction all culminating in a work to simply avoid, rather.