British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Romeo and Juliet

Synopsis
Feature film. A lavish and reverential adaptation of Shakespeare’s play with Leslie Howard and Norma Shearer in the title roles.
Language
English
Country
United States
Medium
Film
Technical information
Black-and-white / Sound
Year of release
1936
Duration
123 mins; 11.102 feet

Credits

Art Direction
Cedric Gibbons
Cast
Henry KolkerFriar Laurence
Edna May OliverNurse
Andy DevinePeter
Anthony Kemble-CooperGregory
Anthony MarchPage
Basil RathboneTybalt
C Aubrey SmithCapulet
Conway TearleEscalus, Prince of Verona
Ian WolfeApothecary
John BryanFriar John
Katherine De MilleRosaline
Maurice MurphyBalthasar
Ralph ForbesParis
Reginald DennyBenvolio
Robert WarwickMontague
Vernon DowningSampson
Violet KembleLady Capulet
Wallis ClarkChief Watchman

Additional Details

Production type
Fiction Films
Historical period
Renaissance Italy
Plays
Romeo and Juliet
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)
Related items
Entertainment Parade [19/10/1936]
Hollywood Hotel [04/09/1936]
Jack Benny Program, The [01/11/1936]
Master Will Shakespeare
Romeo y Julieta
Understanding Movies

Notes

Notes
The film cost over $2,000,000 to produce and lost money heavily. Although eventually grossing almost £2m, the large print and advertising costs left MGM with a loss. MGM published the scenario together with the full text of the play so the version could be studied critically in schools.

The Birmingham Shakespeare Library holds a typescript.
General
The following year, in the comedy IT’S LOVE I’M AFTER, Howard plays a celebrated stage actor who is seen playing the tomb scene with Bette Davis as his Juliet. Norma Shearer had already played Juliet in the Romeo and Juliet skit in THE HOLLYWOOD REVUE OF 1929.

It is said that the balcony scene in Walt Disney’s SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARVES (1937) is a borrowing from Cukor’s film, along with other scenes.

Production Company

Name

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Archive

Name

BFI National Archive

Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections/research-viewing-services External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7436 0165
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN

Online Retailer

Name

amazon.com

Web
http://www.amazon.com External site opens in new window

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