Compare and contrast two film adaptations of Act 1 Scene 5 of “Romeo and Juliet”

The two film adaptations I am going to analyse in this essay are the film productions by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli.The two film productions have a many contrasts but few similarities. To begin with the length of each of the scenes differs, the Luhrmann is 9minutes and 30 seconds long, but the Zeffirelli is nearly twice as long as this its approximately 15minutes and 19 seconds. The Luhrmann is obviously very fast paced and explains why the scene is considerably shorter than the Zeffirelli. Some of the script from the original has also been cut from the Luhrmann which is another reason for why it is shorter than the Zeffirelli.In the Luhrmann the setting for the party scene starts off with very bright and lurid colours. Romeo enters the party with his friends and has taken drugs. We know that Romeo is under the influence of drugs because he says: “thy drugs are quick”. The room is spinning and faces are leering at him. There is intercutting between Romeo and Mercutio, may possibly have been done to build up the tension .Myself as a viewer is on tenterhooks as they wait and watch the scene escalate to a climax. The method of tension build up used here may have been introduced as a means to demonstrate how one action in one place can affect another in a different place. When Romeo takes the drugs you feel a sense of moral corruption. The drugs factor adds to the modernism of this adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. When Romeo takes the drugs Mercutio growls and this just adds to the atmosphere of chaos and everything be so wild.The beginning of the party when Romeo takes the drugs is very fast paced and frenetic, it has an element of craze. Luhrmann needs to calm the scene down as it is too hyped up. The scene reaches its climax when Mercutio starts singing “young hearts run free”. The mood, tone and pace instantly change from one extreme to another. All these changes occur when Romeo is in the bathroom and submerges his head into water.It muffles out all the sounds from outside but not completely, you can still hear the song “young hearts run free” being sung but only very faintly. When he takes his head out of the water the song is a much calmer one. When this scene first starts the colours are lurid and bright this is a contrast compared to when the woman dressed in white is singing. There is soft red lighting shining on her and all of the party guests are concentrating on her. She is the centre of attention. Everyone in the crowd is listening intently to her.In the Zeffirelli the mood is not frenetic or fast paced. There is a sense of innocence in these peoples intentions. Just like the Luhrmann though, there is a singer entertaining the crowds. Although its main purpose is to entertain the crowds Romeo and Juliet seize this rare opportunity to talk to each other face to face. While the crowds have stopped to listen to the singers it gives us as an audience a silent moment and stillness to let us concentrate on Romeo and Juliet when they get together.The fact that Romeo takes drugs signifies poorly defined moral boundaries.However in this adaptation Romeo is not the only one with poorly defined moral boundaries. Lady and Lord Capulet are also another example. Lady and Lord Capulet have authority in the society they live in as they have a high and royal status, they are at the top of societies hierarchy. However they like every one else live in a chaotic world.Lord and Lady Capulet may have authority in their society but their behaviour does not reflect this. At the beginning of the party scene you see Lady Capulet kissing her nephew Tybalt which indicates moral confusion. Mercutio cross dressing is another aspect adding to the moral confusion. The society they live in is a hedonistic one they only live for the pleasures of life. What really gets their adrenalin going is doing things on the spur of the moment they live for these things. Mercutio like everyone else is only out to have a good time, with not a care for anyone else.A major difference is the costume in the Luhrmann it is modern so it does not contradict the setting, but in the Franco Zeffirelli the costume is more traditional more appropriate for the time it was originally intended to be set in, Zeffirelli has not challenged the setting. In the Luhrmann everyone at the party is wearing fancy dress, in the Zeffirelli everyone is wearing clothes that would are suitable for the period of time the scene has been set in. Similarly both Romeo’s are wearing mask so this aspect of the original play has not been changed. In my opinion I think that if Romeo did not have mask the play would not work in the same way as it heightens Juliet’s curiosity to find out who this masked stranger is. It is ironic that in the Luhrmann adaptation Lady and Lord Capulet party costumes are those of past historical royals. This may have been done to emphasize their royal status.At the party Juliet is wearing angel wings which suggests she is the innocence in a corrupt world. It is a contrast between good and bad. Romeo is wearing armour suggesting that he is Juliet’s knight in shining armour come to take her away from the corrupt world in which she lives in. Tybalt is wearing devils horns and smoking a cigar. When you see the smoke being emitted from the cigar it looks like Tybalt has just emerged from Hell.It seems more fitting to call the beginning of the scene in Zeffirelli a ball and Luhrmann’s a wild party. In the Zeffirelli the dancing is very measured and precise, however in the Luhrmann there is a degree of chaos. People are standing every where in the Luhrmann dancing where as in the Zeffirelli everyone has a set place to stand while dancing. In the Zeffirelli adaptation when Lady Capulet shouts out “The maruesqa” we are mislead into thinking that maybe this dance is going to be not so measured and precise but a little bit more relaxed however it turns out to be quite pathetic but considering the time setting it seems as it would have been in Shakespeare’s day.