Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Norma Shearer in "Romeo and Juliet"

Norma Shearer received her fifth Oscar nomination for playing Shakespeare's Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet.

This version of Romeo and Juliet is very lavish. For a 75 year old movie, it's impressive for it's well made sets. But, its just your standard adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. I personally, love the 1968 version.

Oh, boy...where to start with Norma Shearer. Let's start with a horrible mistake on the part of everyone...age. Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard are incredibly too old to be playing teenagers Romeo and Juliet. Now, I've seen performances before where the performer was miscast because of their age, but if works because of how they approached the character. Here, Norma's age is so in your face, it's hard to even concentrate on her acting.

Which brings me to another point. So, with any Shakespeare adaptation, the actors have to engage in ancient dialogue, and Norma Shearer, bless her, doesn't do it well. It literally sounds like she is mumbling her lines espeically in the "where for art thou" scene, you can barely understand what she is saying. And if she didn't have enough problems, her performance certainly tries to be subtle. But, Juliet is supposed to be played with naivety, and with Shearer, you don't get that. You get a whiny woman who wants what her parents won't give her.

She has one good scene, the ending. But, honestly, couldn't anyone do this death scene and be better or worse? Seriously, I've seen high school Juliets and all of them were better then Oscar winning Norma Shearer. So, I really don't know how to approach rating Norma Shearer's bad interpretation of Juliet. She fails in almost every area, including being interesting, yet in a way, her last scene sort of redeems her performance from being awful.

11 comments:

Fritz said...

I saw her a while ago and was surprised how much I enjoyed her performance. Sure, not great but much better than I expected.
But I can easily understand why someone would dislike her.

joe burns said...

She'll be fifth. It sounds like this performance hasn't aged well at all. How old was she when she did this film?

Sage Slowdive said...

What did you enjoy about it, Fritz?

I believe she was 34.

joe burns said...

Is it on DVD?

Fritz said...

I don't know,, I just think she played the part pretty well. She was very natural with the difficult dialogue and the age problem never bothered me (it did bother me with Howard, though). And her big monologue before she takes the medicine was chilling.

Sage Slowdive said...

I guess we'll be disagreeing on this too :]

I'm pretty sure it is.

joe burns said...

Has Hedda been released on VHS yet?

Sage Slowdive said...

Not that I know of...

Louis Morgan said...

I have not seen this yet, but Shearer just does not seem the right person for the role.

joe burns said...

What did you think of the 97 version of Romeo And Juliet? I haven't seen it yet, but my family really likes it.

Sage Slowdive said...

I'd take it any day over this version :)