In most cases, the written text of a play has variations from any movie adaptation.
The written texts of any play contain stage directions that serve as a guide for the reader.
In the text of the play, Romeo purchases the deadly poison from an apothecary, and proceeds to insert it in his pockets.
In the film, the scene where Romeo acquires the poison is entirely missing.
This film adaptation, unlike most of the others which were produced in later years, depicts the families, lifestyle, practices, and acts as portrayed in the play, and does not adopt a ‘modern’ version of events as many of the subsequent films want to do (Rothwell 326).
The director makes every effort to depict an era similar to that intended by Shakespeare.The series of actions preceding Juliet’s swallowing of the sleeping potion has also been altered in the film.In the play, Juliet delivers a long monologue prior to taking the sleeping potion, communicating her fears, her hopes, and her love for Romeo to the audience.The deletion of the scene that shows Romeo purchasing the poison thus enhances the suspense in the film version of the play to the very end.Additionally, in the text of the play, Romeo’s friend Mercutio dies away from Romeo’s presence, but in the film he dies in the presence of Romeo.Film adaptations of plays, as is the case of this particular film adaptation by Franco Zeffirelli, eliminate the part of stage directions, and the viewer is able to enjoy an uninterrupted revelation of the plot of the play.In this film version of Romeo and Juliet by Franco Zeffirelli, the director has altered, removed, or re-created several scenes.However, in the film, Juliet simply swallows the sleeping potion without much ado, simply asking for strength in love before taking the portion.The film version reduces Juliet’s monologue because of several purposes.There have been several film adaptations of the play but the film adaptation referred to here was produced in 1968, under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli.The film, going by the name “Romeo and Juliet” just like the play, starred Leonard Whiting as Romeo Montague, and Olivia Hussey as Juliet Capulet.