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ROMEO AND JULIET – Nino Rota

February 15, 2021 Leave a comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Director Franco Zeffirelli’s first film was The Taming of the Shrew in 1967, which was adapted from the original Shakespearean play. It was a commercial success, and for his next project he conceived a new adaptation of another of Shakespeare’s famous plays, “Romeo and Juliet”. A lack of funding however drove him to pursue a television production. Yet his fortunes changed when Paramount Pictures agreed to join in partnership with BHE Films, Verona Produzione and Dino de Laurentis Cinematografia to finance a big screen release. A budget of $850,000 was provided and the British team of Anthony Havelock-Allan and John Brabourne would produce the film. For the screen play Zeffirelli collaborated with Masolino d’Amico and Franco Brusati. In an audacious casting move Zeffirelli decided to cast the lead roles as minors, assuring fidelity to Shakespeare’s original conception. Leonard Whiting, a 17-year-old, was cast as Romeo, and Olivia Hussey, a 15 year old, as Juliet. Joining them would be Milo O’Shea as Friar Laurence, Michael York as Tybalt, John McEnery as Mercutio, Natasha Parry as Lady Capulet, and Robert Stephens as the Prince of Verona. Read more…

IL GATTOPARDO – Nino Rota

January 25, 2021 1 comment

GREATEST SCORES OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Original Review by Craig Lysy

Studio executives of the Italian production company Titanus decided to bring to the big screen the popular 1958 best-selling novel Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Collaboration with 20th Century Fox brought the necessary financing for a budget of $2 million. Titanus producer Goffredo Lombardo was tasked with the project, and Luchino Visconti brought in to direct. Controversy arose over casting the key role of Prince Don Fabrizio Corbera of Salina as Visconti desired Marlon Brando or Laurence Olivier but the 20th Century Fox leveraged their financing of $2 million to force Burt Lancaster into the role over Visconti’s objections. Joining him would be Claudia Cardinale as Angelica Sedera, Alain Delon as Prince Tancredi Falconeri, and Rina Morelli as Princess Maria Stella of Salina. Read more…

THE GODFATHER, PART II – Nino Rota

March 19, 2018 Leave a comment

godfather2100 GREATEST SCORES OF ALL TIME

Original Review by Craig Lysy

The Godfather proved to be a sensational critical success and cash cow for Paramount Studio. That there would be a sequel was a foregone conclusion, and studio executives planned to capitalize quickly. Francis Ford Coppola desired to produce, not direct the film, however he returned grudgingly to the franchise as director after the studio rejected his selection of Martin Scorsese to replace him as director. Regretfully Marlon Brando, who felt mistreated by the studio, refused to reprise his role, but six of his fellow stars did including Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, Talia Shire as Connie Corleone, Diane Keaton as Kay-Adams Corleone, Abe Vigoda as Salvatore Tessio, and Joe Spinelli as Willi Cicci. Joining the cast for the first time were Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone, and John Cazale as Fredo Corleone. Read more…