Romeo and Juliet appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasing presentation.
Sharpness consistently seemed positive throughout the movie. Next to no softness crept into the image, so it looked tight and well-defined – well, within stylistic choices, as the movie opted for a slightly gauzy/romantic vibe at times.
I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. No issues with digital noise reduction occurred, as the movie presented a natural layer of grain. Print flaws also failed to cause concerns, as no specks, marks or debris manifested through the film.
Romeo went with a mostly natural palette, albeit one that favored earthy hues. The colors felt warm and full.
Black levels looked deep and rich throughout the movie. Shadow detail also appeared clear and appropriately opaque. Overall, this was a highly appealing transfer.
The movie’s LPCM monaural soundtrack wasn’t quite as pleasing, but it seemed to be good for its era. Dialogue remained easily intelligible, though the lines tended to sound a bit tinny, and looping added an artificial air to speech.
Effects came across as acceptably clean and realistic, while the score showed reasonable pep. While the music lacked much range, those elements seemed concise and smooth enough. This was a more than acceptable mix for its age.
As we shift to extras, we open with an excerpt from 2018’s Directing from Life documentary. This segment lasts five minutes, 28 seconds and offers some comments from co-writer/director Franco Zeffirelli, his son Peppo Zeffirelli, producer Dyson Lovell, and personal secretary Sheila Pickles.
Life gives us a brief view of the Romeo production. Though we get a few good notes, the clip seems too short to tell us much.
In addition to the film’s trailer, we find two separate programs that feature actors Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. A 1967 chat runs 17 minutes, while a 2016 Q&A panel lasts 32 minutes, 40 seconds.
In the 1967 segment, the actors chat about their young careers and aspects of their time on the film. Via the 2016 piece, the actors reflect on their experiences from nearly 50 years earlier and get into various memories of the production.
The 1967 chat becomes surprisingly engaging, as the interviewer doesn’t just focus on fluff, and it seems fun to watch the young actors together so soon after the shoot.
As for the newer piece, it gets into some added details. It can feel a little fluffy and heavy on praise, but I like the chance to see Hussey and Whiting together again after so long, and they bring some engaging insights.
Finally, a booklet presents art, credits and an essay from critic Ramona Wray. It concludes the set on a positive note.
Often regarded as the best cinematic adaptation of the tale, the 1968 Romeo and Juliet indeed provides a satisfying rendition of the classic story. It makes the piece accessible while it also remains faithful to the source. The Blu-ray brings excellent picture, appropriate audio and a decent roster of bonus materials. While I don’t expect I’ll ever find a version of the tale I love, I do think this one works well.