Franco Zeffirelli was a master charmer - no wonder we all fell for his Romeo and Juliet

His take on Shakespeare’s tragedy tapped the zeitgeist, but Zeffirelli’s whole body of work pulsated with an irresistible camp and romanticism

Franco Zeffirelli was the mainstream maestro of high culture on screens big and small who dashingly made his international movie reputation with an exuberant and accessible adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 1968; this had some pretty trad doublet-and-hose stuff and featured the syrupy “Love” theme composed for the film by Nino Rota which was to become notorious as the music for Simon Bates’s regular tearjerking Our Tune feature on Radio One.

But there were also muscular and athletic performances from a bright-eyed young cast, vigorous and enjoyable playing all round and bold location work. The year before, Zeffirelli had directed Richard Burton and Liz Taylor in another Shakespeare adaptation: The Taming of the Shrew: clever casting of course, but it was the honeyglow-sunlit romanticism of

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