Internet Shakespeare Editions

Shakespeare in Performance: Film

Romeo and Juliet (1908, William V. Ranous)

TitleRomeo and Juliet
Release LocationsUSA
DirectorWilliam V. Ranous
MediumBlack & white video
Length11 mins
Play ConnectionsRomeo and Juliet (abridgment)


Another of the early Vitagraph films hastily made and sold to Nickelodeon owners for a few pennies a foot. They were likely to share the bill with an odd assortment of other films to include weight lifters and acrobats, all in the spirit of vaudeville. The film's major distinction may be the presence in the cast of Florence Lawrence, who subsequently became famous under Carl Laemmle's grooming as the first movie actress to be identified to audiences by name. That precedent paved the way for the star system that was ultimately to revolutionize the economics of the film industry by giving actors greater leverage than anyone else in negotiating salaries. An interesting historical touch is the presence of the Vitagraph "V" trademark hidden away in many of the sets (as over the bed in Juliet's bedchamber) as a way of warding off film pirates. Then as now the pirating of material was an obsession in the film industry, which doesn't so much sell films as give limited "rights" to them

Description from Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer. ©1990 Kenneth S. Rothwell. Cited by permission. — Added 2008-11-14

Cast Overview

RomeoPaul Panzer
JulietFlorence Lawrence
MontagueCharles Chapman
CapuletCharles Kent
NurseLouise Carver
TybaltJohn G. Adolfi
PeterWilliam Shea

Production Team and Crew Overview

DirectorWilliam V. Ranous
ProducerJ. Stuart Blackton

Production information courtesy of: Kenneth Rothwell