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Friday, February 09, 2007

Romeo+Juliet Soundtrack: 10 Year re-release & new contest

It's been ten years since the luminous Claire Danes (who forever holds a special place in my heart as a seemingly parallel representation of me in high school with the dyed red hair --"Crimson Glow"-- and the crush on the unattainable Jordan Catalano figure) portrayed Juliet to her Leo DiCaprio Romeo in the controversial Baz Luhrmann remake of the Shakespearean classic.

The soundtrack to the film was fab, full of modern scene-setting tunes like Radiohead, Garbage, Everclear and The Cardigans (sing it with me, "Love me, love me . . ."), as well as that self-improvement / inspirational / quirky Baz Luhrmann spoken word piece about wearing sunscreen and dancing.

They're doing a ten year re-release of the official soundtrack with 4 bonus tracks and an updated remake of the sunscreen bit, and I have one to give away (oh, and congrats to Peter who just won the last Graham Coxon vinyl contest!).

To enter to win, let's talk in the comments about different cinematic versions of Shakespearean classics. Favorites? Abominations? Thoughts either way? I mostly just remember giggling over a naked butt scene in my high school English class when we watched the Zeffirelli version of R&J. Yeah, mature, I know.



ROMEO+JULIET soundtrack on MySpace
R+J 2007: http://www.freetowearsunscreen.com

Tunes from the 1996 version:
Talk Show Host - Radiohead

#1 Crush - Garbage

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24 Comments:

At February 09, 2007 10:05 AM, Blogger Honey said...

My favorite Shakespearean film is "Much Ado About Nothing" by Kenneth Branagh. The pure wit hurled between his Benedick and Emma Thompson's Beatrice is so sharp and cunning, that you're left feeling dizzy from all the sarcasm. I can overlook Keanu Reeves' awful part in the film, because Denzel Washington makes up for it and absolutely shines as the great Prince. Washington's command of the language and nuance of the comedic scenes as well as the dramatic ones, are skilled and honest. The story is built on a foundation of misunderstandings, but Branagh leads us down a steady path to follow all the action. And, of course Branagh is the true star-you'd think that his Henry V role would have cemented his place in history as a stately and impassioned King, but "Much Ado" shows us that his ability to capture the personality of a lowly, fumbling, but ultimately passionate soldier truly wins our hearts in the end.

 
At February 09, 2007 10:24 AM, Blogger Stephen K. said...

I too enjoy Kenneth Branagh's 'Much Ado' (and completely agree with 'honey'), but his 'Henry V' is by far my favorite, his then wife was in it for only the scene or so in french, which has always struck me as out of place in that film. His 'St. Crispin's day' speach moves me every time, and at the end when they kill Christian Bale (*sniff*). Anyway, it's sort of a man's shakespeare what with the killing and all, not much of a love story there. For purely fun reasons I enjoy Kevin Kline in "Midsummer Night's Dream', that play within the play is great as it should be.
As for atrocities, I won't mention Mel's Hamlet, because there were noble efforts and redeeming qualities, but the 1971 Roman Polanski/Hugh Hefner work of 'MacBeth', yeah alot more laughing from the High Schoolers (the Withces has to be naked??), but it's just atrocious. I guess alot of people like it, 7.5 stars on IMDb, but I think it just sucks.
-my 2 cents.

 
At February 09, 2007 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olivia is the best Juliet.
The rest is trash.

 
At February 09, 2007 12:30 PM, Anonymous Lubenow said...

Ah Zeffirelli. Thanks for dropping 15 year old cleavage in the middle of my highschool life! One of the highlights of four years of all boy Catholic school hell. Got her the Golden Globe that year... But my fave? So many. For dazzling cinema I'd have to go with Kurosawa's interpretation of King Lear (Ran, 1985). Though I'm no fan of the musical West Side Story's gotta figure in there somewhere along with anything with Richard Burton in it. Then there's also the Bard inspired stuff like My Own Private Idaho or Shakespeare in Love. This contest's hard! I'm going to make more popcorn now...

 
At February 09, 2007 12:30 PM, Blogger JJ Courtright said...

The scene that's always stuck with me is Mercutio's "A plague o' both your houses." in Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet.

The wife and I can't watch "Lost" without saying "A plague..." every time that Michael is on screen.

 
At February 09, 2007 2:06 PM, Anonymous Kristy said...

I know I can't win this contest because I am your sister, but I had to chime in on this one. There have been so many remakes of classic Shakespeare plays (Hamlet, Twelfth Night, etc.), but my favorite for pure creative genius was "Shakespeare in Love" with Joseph Fiennes as Will Shakespeare and Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola De Lesseps, the inspiration for Juliet. I loved how the movie gave me a secret look into Shakespeare's life; I felt like an insider, privy to the story of how he became such a romantic in the first place and how Romeo and Juliet came to be. I know it's fiction, but I thought Gwyneth did such a fabulous job (didn't she win an Oscar for that?) and Joseph was an incredible Shakespeare (ink on the fingers, writing feverishly until dawn, running around town with pages stuffed in his pockets). And who could not be captivated during the scene where Will and Viola are performing the play of Romeo and Juliet, and Gwyneth's Juliet kills herself just as Romeo wakes up? I think I was just as rapt as the pretend audience at that point and it made me wish there were a special DVD feature that showed the whole "play." So, that is my vote - complete creativity, beautiful cinema (Will "unwrapping" Viola from the long, white sheet she wore to hide her breasts while acting in the play), and a very moving storyline.

 
At February 09, 2007 3:03 PM, Blogger paco said...

I am currently a special ed teacher at your high school and it is the lark that sings. I am currently teaching R+J. I show the Zeffirelli version to start play and end it with Lurhmann. I love both versions. One of my fave filmed shakespeare plays is Twelfth Night with Imogen Stubbs. But c'mon, the best has to be the scifi take of The Tempest: Forbidden Planet. The best way to get a kid into Shakespeare. I remember many Sundays watching this movie in the afternoon with my father. Leslie Nielsen young and doing "serious" film. Anne Francis and of course Robbie, the robot. It is Shakespeare and an actually nice childhood memory of my father. Can't go wrong there. Basically, I am such a Shakespeare fan that if something is based on his work; I watch it but Forbidden Planet is the movie I go back to the well.

 
At February 09, 2007 4:08 PM, Blogger Brookdale Boy said...

I actually think that the Clair Danes verison is an incredible creative, and very underrated, Shakespeare film. Sure, it's pretty over the top at times. But it's beautifully shot, the colors and costumes and the music are great. Doing a modern setting with the classic language is the way to go.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:10 PM, Blogger clint said...

Soulmates, unfortunately. I don't want to get married. I swear!!!

 
At February 10, 2007 2:17 AM, Anonymous steve j said...

my favorite is "Othello" with Laurence Fishburne as othello and kenneth branagh as a PERFECT Iago... Branagh is amazing in this film, as an extremely belivable villian and manipulator. His scene where he talks about "pouring pestilence into thine ears" gives me the shivers, yet he's an intriguing and magnetic character.
anyways, amazing acting, amazing story... the first shakespeare play with a black actor cast, and extremely well shot.. very dark, very emotional. i highly suggest it if you haven't seen it.

 
At February 10, 2007 6:46 AM, Blogger Jim Ford said...

I agree with Stephen K about Henry V, it's a great movie. My favorite Branagh Shakespeare though is his Hamlet. I know, it's 4 & 1/2 hours, but if you love Shakespeare films that just makes it better (like your favorite album reissued with bonus tracks, it's got everything). But I also love the modern Hamlet with Ethan Hawke, and Kyle MacLachlan that came out a few years ago. Okay, nevermind, I love them all. Great topic, though, for people who can make up their minds.

 
At February 10, 2007 6:51 AM, Anonymous Sybil said...

Clearly, the best filmed version of any Shakespeare work is "West Side Story". Natalie Wood and Leonard Bernstein! Jets! Sharks!

Sublime...

 
At February 10, 2007 12:42 PM, Anonymous maggie said...

The Shakespeare purist in me loves Kenneth Branagh's version of Hamlet, since it follows the exact script, but sadly it's never been released on DVD, and at four hours, I'm guessing it would scare most people away. My students loved the ten-minute Simpsons version of it, though!
Mystery Science Theater also makes fun of a really horrible German version of Hamlet (during a long shot at the beginning of the movie, one of the robots says, "Look, it's Hamlet's cousin--Riblet!").

I think the most interesting Shakespeare film adaptation is probably one of the more lesser-known ones, though, a version of MacBeth called "Scotland, PA." It's MacBeth set in a 1970s fast food chain in a little middle-of-nowhere town in Pennsylvania. It's darkly funny and features Christopher Walken--what more could you ask for?

 
At February 10, 2007 2:18 PM, Anonymous Stephen said...

I remember the time we watched Zeffirelli's R&J version in English. Our teacher enjoyed the nude scene of 17 year-old Juliet far more than someone teaching 17 year-olds should do.

As for my favourite: The Lion King is so loosely based on Hamlet most people never notice, but it's The Lion King. It wins any competition it qualifies for.

 
At February 11, 2007 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually Olivia was 15 when she did Juliet.
Yeah I know, but then I was like 13 when I first saw it.

 
At February 11, 2007 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a Music Video from 1968 on it.
http://youtube.com/watch?v=6k-HoQzcTGg

May have to paste the link.

 
At February 11, 2007 5:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The link to the Garbage song doesn't seem to be working.

 
At February 11, 2007 7:55 PM, Anonymous Shane said...

Baz hit the nail on the head with his modernization of Shakespeare. This was also exquisitely done in 10 Things I Hate About You which is an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew. Full of witty dialogue and hot young actors like Julia Stiles, Larisa Oleynik, Heath Ledger, and Susan May Pratt, this film was underrated and mis-marketed as some abc after-school special. You feel me?

 
At February 11, 2007 8:16 PM, Blogger heather said...

Thanks, anon. The Garbage link is fixed now.

 
At February 12, 2007 12:48 AM, Anonymous erica said...

I love Laurence Olivier’s turn as Othello in his 1965 version of Othello. Done in full body makeup, Olivier cleverly delivers a performance that makes the Othello character believable. Olivier captures Othello’s tendency to enlarge himself even when threatened by others in his opening appearance at court. In this scene, Olivier’s deeper than usual voice and sonorous chuckles demonstrate Othello’s initial self-importance. Othello is one of Shakespeare’s operatic characters, and Olivier's use of intonation and physical action mirror his demise. The movie is actually a taped version of the play, but performances by Olivier, Frank Finlay, and Maggie Smith capture the downfall of the Moor of Venice in a way that, I believe, has not yet been surpassed by later productions.

 
At February 12, 2007 3:39 AM, Anonymous russell said...

Luhrmann's R & j is the most cinematic:the news report at the beginning is genius;the wild editing at the gas station brings alive the feud;the prosecenium arch for Mercutio's death is unforgettable and genuinely risky;the wild masqued ball,costumes,fish tank,knights in shining armour,angels;Di caprio and the statue of Christ and the genuine teenage grief of 'O I am fortunes fool' plus rain;Danes waking to find Di Caprio dying;candles,choirs and doves.There are so many memorable images and then there are the looks on the faces of the pupils at school when you show it and how it makes them love Romeo and Juliet with a burning singularity that makes you want to shake Baz's( What on eart happened with Moulin Rouge - such a disappointment after the double whammy of Strictly and R&j) hand.
Also commendations for Danes and Cruddup in 'Stage Beauty '- their Othello and Desdemona scenes are awesome - the horror of her death and the audiences open mouthed shock are superbly conveyed and I too love 'Shakespeare in Love' for its sheer elan and the final scene with its wonderful echoes of the Great Gatsby - ( best, best, most wonderful writing ever in the history of prose (unlike mine!) - ' which was actually filmed at Holkham beach in Norfolk here in the uk and is a truly great, wild beach to visit.
However, like the truly inimitable last pages of Gatsby, Lurhmann's movie leaves an indelible impression and it was truly new.

 
At February 13, 2007 11:31 PM, Anonymous Steve said...

I am a sucker for the various versions of "Hamlet". The Mel Gibson one is pretty good, but I prefer the 2000 version directed by Michael Almereyda. This modern day Hamlet has an amazing cast with Ethan Hawke as the lead, supported by Bill Murray, Kyle MacLachlan, Liev Schreiber, Sam Shepard, and a surprisingly terrific Julia Stiles as Ophelia.

Even better are some of the interpretations of Hamlet. Tom Stoppard's wonderful film version of his play "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead", takes a hilarious look at Hamlet through the eyes of these lesser characters. Gary Oldman & Tim Roth are fantastic as Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, or is it Guildenstern & Rosencrantz?

Of course my all time favorite interpretation of Hamlet, although it is very loosely based on the original Shakespeare, has to be that classic Mackenzie brothers epic, "Strange Brew." A couple "hosers", a lot of beer, and a little bit of Hamlet. Beauty, Eh?

 
At February 15, 2007 9:26 AM, Blogger the other amy said...

"Looking for Richard" by Al Pacino {i.e. Richard III). Perhaps I was just a stupid high school student in love with Pacino; but I remember watching this movie in my Shakespeare class at prep school and absolutely loving it. It's interesting because Pacino is so passionate about exploring the characters and then you watch him act it all out: fantabulous and I am rather surprised no one else has yet mentioned it.

 
At February 16, 2007 4:41 AM, Anonymous russell said...

Late entry on the Shakespeare film theme - saw "Hot Fuzz' last night and it features an amateur dramatic version of Lurhmann's 'Romeo and Juliet' that has to be seen to be believed, including an elongated snog between the dying lovers that is clearly not for the audience's benefit.......and a full cast finale musical sing along, so grotesque that the laughter involved is abdominally painful.A very clever movie ,too,satirising and blending both US and UK crime film genres whilst also paying 'we're not worthy' homage to 'Point Break' ......Shakesperian in its scope!

 

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