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With my apologies to Will Shakespeare

biopic
I just watched the 1936 version of Romeo and Juliet with a 33 year old Juliet (Norma Shearer) and a 42(!) year old Romeo (Leslie Howard). Here’s an idea for an alternate ending. Romeo, in the tomb kneeling beside his beloved Juliette, holds up the vial of poison preparing to join her in death. Just as he raises it to his lips, she murmurs, “Romeo.” He winces and says, “My sweet Juliet, it’s as though I could still hear thy tender voice.”  A little louder, she says, “Romeo? Wherefore art thou?” (good lines are worth repeating) He looks down, sees her stirring, drops the vial and it shatters on the tomb floor. He flings himself upon her and smothers her with kisses. “How be this miracle possible?” he asks. The friar enters and warns them that the watch is approaching and they must make haste and escape. They quietly slip out as the friar heads off the watch. After all, this is a Romance, right? A happy ending is REQUIRED! Have I just committed sacrilege on Shakespeare?

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( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
mylodon
Feb. 22nd, 2012 10:59 am (UTC)
No sacrilege at all - anyway there's good precedent, including this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romeo_und_Julie.

Funnily enough, I was recently chatting with anteros_lmc about a 'Live Hamlet universe' with Hamlet and Horatio ("I will wear thee in my heart of hearts") as a couple.

BTW Have you seen the RSC's version of Nicholas Nickleby, which features a play within a play of R&J with a happy ending?

Edited at 2012-02-22 01:20 pm (UTC)
markprobst
Feb. 22nd, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
Are you talking about this?: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082660/
I've not seen that. I'll have to watch for it on TV.
mylodon
Feb. 22nd, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Yep. The very same. It's a filmed version fo the mammoth stage production (done over two nights). we saw it at Stratford with Michael Siberry in the lead but the TV version is great, too. Lead actor is gay, BTW.
kcwarwick
Feb. 22nd, 2012 11:28 am (UTC)
Nope, it's a tragedy!I think I'm right in saying that it was based on 'The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet' written by - um - someone else. (No such thing as plagiarism in those days!) It's one of those plays where you keep wanting to scream at the characters 'Wait! Don't be so stupid!'
markprobst
Feb. 22nd, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
And then there's this new movie speculating that all of Shakespeare's plays were written by somebody else!
blake_fraina
Feb. 22nd, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
You just made my day!

A while back I wrote an entire journal entry bemoaning the fact that so many readers become so angry with writers who don't serve them the requisite HEA. I specifically called out one small press (who shall remain nameless, here) because, in the submissions section of their website, they condescendingly intimate that it's only losers and/or fools who would even think of writing anything other than a happily-ever-after. In my rebuttal I invoked the names of several such assholes - Shakespeare, of course, being chief among them.


Oh and both of those actors look piteously long in the tooth to be potraying two young puppets caught up in their parents' feud. You'd think, at the ripe old age of 42, Romeo might be allowed to make his own decisions, eh?
markprobst
Feb. 22nd, 2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've seen some of those arguments from die-hard Romance fans who go so far as to accuse a publisher of fraud if they dare to market a book as a Romance without a happy ending.
lee_rowan
Feb. 22nd, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
It makes as much sense as the original ending. I mean, honestly, Julie had been dead how long and she's still fresh as a daisy -- no maggots, no sunken eyes, no general decrepitude... and Romey didn't bother finding Friar L and asking WTF before barging into the crypt? The tragedy wasn't that they died, it was that Romeo was so stupid and precipitate.

Those two actors look more like the parents of Romeo & Juliet. Mr. Montague, meet Mrs Capulet.
markprobst
Feb. 22nd, 2012 11:16 pm (UTC)
Juliet wasn't dead! Don't you know it was a magic potion of some sort that simulates death!
lee_rowan
Feb. 23rd, 2012 01:11 am (UTC)
I KNOW! That's what I mean -- you can't "simulate" being dead for a week. Romeo had seen dead people before. If she had any body temp, if she was close enough to consciousness to wake up ten minutes after her hubby offed himself, she should have had a pulse.

Sorry, I do medical research when I nearly kill somebody.... this play has irritated me since I was about twelve. They weren't romantic, they were idiots.
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