August 14, 2019

The 1968 movie in my "imaginary movie project" — "Romeo and Juliet."

I saw Franco Zeffirelli's version of the Shakespeare play when I was 17. Olivia Hussey (Juliet) was born in 1951, like me. She was 16 when the movie was made. Leonard Whiting (Romeo) was only one year older. We're told quite clearly in the text of the play that Juliet is 13. These are young kids indeed. They fall madly in love one night, get married the very next day, everything suddenly goes to hell, and on the fourth day, they're both dead.

The sense of of teenagers in love is incredibly strong and real...



Oh! How I cried when Romeo kills himself and Juliet immediately awakens from her fake death and finds him freshly dead...



So emotional! But what was it like watching it again half a century later? Beautifully fresh and alive. The story is so fast moving and the teenagers get so overheated — with lots of love and crazy streetfighting — but that's the story and I got caught up in the wildness and the extremely painful sadness in the end — in 1968 and in 2019.

Look, here are Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting talking about the movie in 2018. They are old, and I am just as old:



So lovely and sweet!

97 comments:

Ann Althouse said...

"Imaginary movie project" = For each year, beginning in 1960, I rewatch a movie that I saw as a first-run movie in the theater.

Phidippus said...

They are old, as I am old, but Shakespeare is ever young.

So that's nice, anyway.

cassandra lite said...

I see or hear her or read the name Olivia Hussey, and I automatically think not of this but of Dino Martin.

rcocean said...

Its a good movie. Like the lead actress said, the Shakespeare buffs criticize it but its a FILM. And I see the lead actor has learned what many men know, let the woman talk.

Fernandistein said...

Human mating rituals - they go out to dinner and Romy owed because Julie et.

Phidippus said...

BTW, for some strange reason, the first time I came to the top of the blog just after this was posted, there was the clip of "The Godfather II Michael talks with Fredo" in the video panel labeled "The sense of of teenagers in love is incredibly strong and real..." Did a double-take on that one.

I figured Althouse was funnin' us again.

I refreshed the screen and then the intended video popped up.

I blame evil sendings.

rcocean said...

“What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”

rcocean said...

In Shakespeare's day Juliet was played by a Boy. Imagine playing Romeo in that situation. Talk about acting!

Heartless Aztec said...

When Shakespeare wrote this life expectancy was 45-ish. Less for women. People married early, had kids early and if you got to 60 you were an ancient. Our generation Ann was the first to live without fear of early death. We had mass produced antibiotics compliments of WWII..

Bay Area Guy said...

Romeo and Juliet
Samson and Delilah
Baby you can bet
Their love they didn't deny

Your words say split
But your words they lie
'Cause when we kiss
Mmmmmm, Fire


Bruce Springsteen, "Fire" (1977)

Ficta said...

It's been a long time since I saw the Zeffirelli version. I remember thinking it was overwrought, but I may just have let Pauline Kael's review talk me into that view.

I love the Baz Luhrman version. I thought that was somewhat unusual, but I see it has a high 70s rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

I watched the 1978 BBC version recently and was pleasantly surprised to see good old Severus Snape show up as Tybalt! He stole every scene, but then Tybalt usually does.

TJM said...

Ann,

Fess up. You got excited over seeing Romeo's derriere

Sheridan said...

rcocean - why would you think they were acting? What we see in people today has always existed. Back then, they couldn't twitter about it.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Romeo and Juliet" works better if you don't focus on how much it rips off from "West Side Story."

Which brings me in a roundabout way to:

Which character from Shakespeare's works is most like Fredo?

(the actor John Cazale DID perform Shakespeare, but not a 'Fredo-esque' role. From Wiki, regarding his performance in "Measure for Measure":

His leading lady was the recent Yale School of Drama graduate Meryl Streep. Mel Gussow of The New York Times wrote: "Mr. Cazale, often cast as a quirky, weak outsider, as in The Godfather, here demonstrates sterner mettle as a quietly imperious Angelo who sweeps down, vulturelike, to deposit virtue...")

I am Laslo.

Earnest Prole said...

Why must I be a teenager in love?

Fernandistein said...

if you got to 60 you were an ancient.

In 1600 or so, the average age of death for people who had reached age 15 was over 60, close to 70.

And, interesting,
"Once infant mortality is stripped out, life expectancy [in the Victorian period, ~1800s] at 5 years was 75 for men and 73 for women." About the same as it is now.

madAsHell said...

finds him freshly dead...

It's not even October, Morticia!!

Phidippus said...

Earnest Prole asks the musical question: "Why must I be a teenager in love?"

I dunno, man. I dunno.

And while we're on the subject-- Who, who, who wrote the Book of Love?

(Not the Kama Sutra. The other Book of Love, that the song was about. Filthy minded people on this blog....)

eddie willers said...

Cicero's manumitted slave, Tiro, lived to age 99.

mccullough said...

Bummed you didn’t choose Bullitt. That car chase holds up really well

eddie willers said...

My favorite Romeo & Juliet (the Nextel 30 second commercial)

ROMEO and JULIET commercial

Ann Althouse said...

"Our generation Ann was the first to live without fear of early death. We had mass produced antibiotics compliments of WWII."

We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII. I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over, and I believed I would be lucky to have any adulthood at all. I remember wishing that the world could at least last until I was 25, so I'd have a taste of something like a full life.

Ann Althouse said...

"Bummed you didn’t choose Bullitt. That car chase holds up really well."

Didn't fit my standard for the project. I've never even seen it.

MadisonMan said...

How it was made.

You'll roll your eyes.

eddie willers said...

I saw it at the Drive-in, but my girlfriend got interested in the story!

Joe said...

"People married early, had kids early "

Not true. Going back thousands of years, the average age of marriage was over 19 for women and 21 for men.

Char Char Binks said...

"She hath not seen the change of fourteen years, Let two more summers wither in their pride, Ere we may think her ripe to be a bride"

That doesn't mean she's 13. It just means she's not yet 14.

MadisonMan said...

btw -- I'm distracted in the balcony scene at the start by how still all the leaves are. That just doesn't happen in reality.

Heartless Aztec said...

@Ann - My father was a naval aviator. A Cold War warrior. We never as children gave it a second thought. Lt Daddy patrolled the skies. Now about those antibiotics - no infected finger cut deaths for us.

tcrosse said...

If I don't find work tomorrow
It's gonna be heartaches and sorrow,
Our love's gonna be destroyed by a tragedy
Just like Romeo and Juliet
Talk about love and romance,
Just wait till I get myself straight.
I'm gonna put Romeo's fame right smack dab outta date.
Finding a job tomorrow morning,
Got a little something I want to do.
Gonna buy something I can ride in
Take my girl dating at the drive-in,
Our love's gonna be written down in history
Just like Romeo and Juliet

rcocean said...

I remember when Reagan was President. He was going to blow up the world. Death gurgled from every doorway. But somehow, we put that aside and watched Cheers -hoping the world would last long enough for Diane and Sam to get together.

But we were the tough ones. Leslie Stahl was traumatized for life.

Unknown said...

Read an article some time back about how teens today are totally shocked that R & J die (in any movie or stage version). I probably didn't read the play until high school, but everybody in my cohort knew how it ended -- it was part of the culture then.

buwaya said...

"We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII."

Its funny that we didn't. And we had two huge US bases within 50 miles.
We were a nuclear target and it seems nobody cared.

rcocean said...

BTW, the massive increase in Life expectancy over the last 1,000 years is primarily due to discovery of the causes and massive reduction in communicable disease. Cholera, Smallpox, Typhus, typhoid, dysentery, etc. Once we knew about germs and that mosquitoes caused Yellow Fever and Malaria, we could wipe them out in North America and the Caribbean.

Life expectancy from 1920-1970 was kept down by smoking tobacco, sedentary living, and people scarfing down large quantities of animal fat.

Joe said...

I read and then saw Zeffereli's Romeo and Juliet in ninth grade. I though both were horribly daft.

Then I saw Romeo+Juliet (the DiCaprio/Danes version) and loved it. Turns out the play isn't a romantic tragedy, but a very over-the-top, cynical view of teenage romance and the idiocy of the preening classes. It not only says teenagers are dumb shits, but mocks the ruling class.

("Much Ado About Nothing" is clearly a follow on to Romeo & Juliet. It's like Shakespeare figured that people didn't understand the romance part of Romeo & Juliet, so made a comedy to make the mockery even more clear.)

Unknown said...

Its funny that we didn't.

I think even in the US it was more of a blue state thing. (Yes, I know the states weren't classified that way then). Urban thing maybe. We never gave it a thought in SC, and didn't know anyone who did.

rcocean said...

2 Million men served in the Union Army. Almost 100,000 died of dysentery and diarrhea.

rcocean said...

Reading the comments, I'm getting the feeling that R&J isn't really a guy thing.

rcocean said...

Shakespeare's comedies are actually funny - but you have to understand all the words and old timey meanings to get all the puns and verbal gymnastics.

Joe said...

"Life expectancy over the last 1,000 years is primarily due to discovery of the causes and massive reduction in communicable disease"

Yes, and public sanitation has arguably increased life expectancy more than any other factor.

A second huge, connected, factor is chlorinating water.

Joe said...

"Shakespeare's comedies are actually funny"

They are also wonderfully filthy. My eleventh grade English teacher taught us "Twelfth Night" and told us almost all the dirty parts. Even the class pothead was completely engaged.

(Almost all since she skipped many of the oral sex jokes.)

J. Farmer said...

The most I remember from Romeo & Juliet in high school was that wherefore meant “why.”

Sally said...

Watching it on TV sometime in the 80's when our 11 year old (or so) son wandered in. After a minute, he said he couldn't understand anything. I told him to give it a few minutes, in which time he got absolutely engrossed and got choked up at the end. That Shakespeare sure could write.

Sebastian said...

"I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over, and I believed I would be lucky to have any adulthood at all."

Wow. If true, that's odd. Explains a lot about Althouse's occasionally baffling reactions to events.

Rory said...

"My favorite Romeo & Juliet"

Andy Griffith

eddie willers said...

Yes, and public sanitation has arguably increased life expectancy more than any other factor.

I've always believed that that was the secret to Rome's rise. As a Greek lamented, "We were conquered by a race of plumbers".

madAsHell said...

That car chase holds up really well.

I don't think she was the targeted demographic.

Skeptical Voter said...

Ah Zefferelli, the patron saint of the school of "Way more than enough is not enough" theatre.

I saw a Zefferelli production of "Pagliacci" at the LA Opera years ago. It's supposedly set in a Naples slum. Placido Domingo (yes that Placido Domingo who is now alleged to be in sexual hot water) sang the title role--and yes he killed his wife in a fit of jealousy. I mean you have to follow the script.

But the staging and sets were waaaay over the top. You're in a Naples slum--lots of activity going on. Pagliacci and his wife and traveling troupe arrive in a horse drawn wagon to stage their punch and judy show. The time line for the production was immediate post WW II Naples. But then why were some of the neighborhood men pushing a 1962 red Ford convertible through the neighborhood? (Actually just across the stage).

Okay, maybe the Bennet Cerf line re Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) applies. Cerf said that Geisel was the one genius he discovered in his publishing career--and you don't question genius. Or so Cerf said. You do it their way, and if Zefferelli has a 62 red Ford convertible do a little backward time travel to a 1946 Napoli slum--well that's the way it goes.

Otto said...

C'mon Romeo and Juliet is for girls. Never read it and don't want to now. Boys that age know sh*t about love, all they want to do is play ball, fix a car and get into some girl's pants. Note that little twerp Whitney still wants to get into Hussey's pants.

Bay Area Guy said...

We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII. I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over, and I believed I would be lucky to have any adulthood at all. I remember wishing that the world could at least last until I was 25, so I'd have a taste of something like a full life.

That's interesting. I bet a lotta Baby Boomers felt similar. My Dad felt similar about not making it to middle age, let alone old age.

In contrast, the WWII generation faced actual horrors and death overseas in Europe and the Pacific.

My Grandparents were a little too old for WWII, but they were traumatized by the Great Depression, the fear of poverty, the fear of losing their family. It scarred them for life.

Myself, I don't quite make the Baby Boomer cohort. I never once feared a nuclear war, or that life would end somewhat abruptly. My take was one of gratitude for the folks who came before me, and a strong desire to fight and prevail in the Cold War (against the bad guys), so that my old age would be pleasant.

Rick.T. said...

I'll second the fear of nuclear war. We lived near a SAC base with a nuclear strike wing. Used to stay awake at night as a young child wondering if the flash was just lightening or something far worse. The duck and cover drills and the films of nuclear tests with all the buildings being blown away didn't help, either.

I recall at 9 years old during the Cuban Missle Crisis asking my father if there was going to be a nuclear war and he told me he didn't know. Leaves an impression.

dreams said...

The actors are old but Romeo and Juliet avoided that fate.

dreams said...

"We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII. I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over, and I believed I would be lucky to have any adulthood at all. I remember wishing that the world could at least last until I was 25, so I'd have a taste of something like a full life."

I never worried about nuclear war as a child or as a young adult.

Ann Althouse said...

I remember during the Cuban Missile Crisis, my school sent home a memo to give to our parents telling them they should teach us how to walk home, just in case we were left to wander home in a nuclear war (when there'd be no school bus). My parents looked at the memo and opted to do nothing about it. I pushed them to do what they were asked to do and they refused. Clearly, in a nuclear war we were dead and walking instructions to give some little kids a shred of hope to find our way home as our skin was melting was just bullshit.

Roughcoat said...

"Once infant mortality is stripped out, life expectancy [in the Victorian period, ~1800s] at 5 years was 75 for men and 73 for women." About the same as it is now.

Excellent point, and one I often make (when and where relevant)in my publications dealing with ancient military history. Average lifespan in the pre-modern world skewed lower because of high infant and childhood mortality rates. If you made it past infancy and early childhood into your teens you stood a reasonable chance of living a reasonably long life.

Which is why, in Mediterranean societies (including Bronze and Iron age Greek and Roman societies) women customarily did NOT marry until their late teens. The notion that women married in early adolescence is mostly incorrect. They may have been in betrothed, but the unions were neither formalized nor consummated until they reached the age to marry which was about the same then that it is now. The reason for this was due in part to the relatively late age -- later than now, in fact -- that they reached sexual maturity and began menstruating.

As for men: they tended to marry in their mid-to-late twenties or early thirties. In Republican Rome men served on active duty in the army ages 18 their late twenties. It was only after they were released from their military obligation in their late twenties/early thirties that they married. See especially in this regard "Rome at War: Farms, Families, and Death in the Middle Republic" by Nathan Rosenstein.

Other wise the Biblical maxim applies: "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalms 90:10

dreams said...

I remember one time my youngest uncle talking about building a nuclear fallout shelter and my grandmother telling him that if things got that bad, a fallout shelter wouldn't be any good and so I never worried about it. The fifties and early sixties were an innocent time for me except for the normal worries of navigating teenage years and adulthood.

jeremyabrams said...

Juliet is two weeks shy of her 14th birthday. But yes, technically 13. Absolutely great movie version.

Mark said...

One of the most breathtaking scenes in film is in Jesus of Nazareth, where we see someone's hands working a loom and then the camera pans up with the utter beauty of Olivia Hussey as Mary seen as she rises from behind the loom.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Sylwester said...

Not long after the 1964 movie For Those Who Think Young was reviewed for this Althouse blog series, the movie was broadcast on the TCM cable channel. I recorded the TCM broadcast and subsequently wrote an eight-part review of that movie for my own blog about the movie Dirty Dancing.

For my blog, I have reviewed many movies that were released around 1963, when the movie Dirty Dancing takes place. It was just a coincidence that I reviewed For Those Who Think Young soon after Althouse reviewed it.

My review's Part 1.

All eight parts of my review are listed (linked) in my Part 8.

Jeff said...

We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII. I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over
I'm 61 and I remember the duck and cover drills. But I never really feared nuclear war. I do remember thinking a time or two that at least if the bombs started falling, at least some members of my dysfunctional family would be killed, and if I survived, I might get away on my own.

I can't actually remember any childhood moments I'd want to relive.

Fandor said...

What's new? Love is just as intense and the threat of nuclear annihilation is still here.
The world is just as exciting and dangerous as it ever was.
Live fearlessly each day like it is your last.
One day it will be.

Roughcoat said...

The level of medical care and the knowledge undergirding it were quite high in the ancient world. Much of that knowledge, accumulated over the course of millennia, was lost in the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome when those damn dirty German and Hun invaders destroyed civilization.

Egyptian physicans, e.g., were trepanning patients to remove brain tumors as far back as the third millennium B.C. Knowledge of the circulatory system was extensive, widespread, and applied in medical procedures. So were the antibiotic qualities of wild honey (producing a variant of penicillin) which was applied to wounds to effectively prevent infection and sepsis.

The ancients developed theories of micro-organisms (i.e., germs and bacteria) and correctly surmised and/or inferred their role in causing infection, illness, and related maladies. The importance of good sanitation and its relation to disease was well understood and acted upon: plumbing technology with running water for toilets and public baths and fountains was well developed and indoor plumbing was not uncommon in the great cities of antiquity. Possibly the cleanest and most sanitary locale during the Roman period (Republic and Empire) was a Roman Army camp. Surgery was performed using anesthetic and post-op care emphasized cleanliness.

The level of medical care and associated knowledge was abysmal for much of the Early Modern and Modern era. Army camps and hospitals as late as the 19th Century and through the First World War were appallingly unhealthy. A Roman legionary wounded in the Punic Wars, or a Hittite charioteer wounded in the Battle of Kadesh, would have been horrified by the wretched care afforded by hospitals in the U.S. Civil War and the unsanitary conditions in the army camps of that time.

The barbarians came and all that ancient knowledge was lost, lost like tears in the rain.

Rob said...

By lucky coincidence, the music is the Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet. That worked out well.

As to Meryl Streep and John Cazale, not only did they act together in "Measure for Measure," they were romantic partners for two years until Cazale's untimely death from lung cancer at the age of 42.

William said...

I thought that there was a fair chance of the world ending in a nuclear conflagration. I remember reading a pamphlet by Bertrand Russell where he explained that every weapon ever invented got used until it became obsolete. He thought that going by humanity's past record that it was only a matter of time until the bombs were used again. It could still happen, although maybe not between the combatants we expected. Anyway we're all doomed in twelve years, so it doesn't matter. A thermonuclear holocaust might be preferable to the lingering, wasting death of global warming....The lavish visual style of Zefferelli exactly complements the overflowing imagery of Shakespeare's poetry. Shakespeare is not meant to be played in an understated or restrained way......I think it's a shame that parts that were written for cross dressing teen aged boys are now routinely given to women. This is not what Shakespeare intended.

William said...

I think people here are way too sanguine about life expectancy. I read that about one in six people starved to death during the famine years in Ireland. I think about that same percentage of women died during childbirth, usually after hideously painful ordeals. Ever read one of the Bronte novels. So many characters croak, and their characters have a much longer lifespan than the typical Bronte....Now that I'm an old man, I appreciate what it's like to live in the presence of looming death.

Rocketeer said...

We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII. I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over.

This made me laugh out loud!

MadTownGuy said...

Ann Althouse said...
"We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII. I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over, and I believed I would be lucky to have any adulthood at all. I remember wishing that the world could at least last until I was 25, so I'd have a taste of something like a full life."

I was born later but remember the Cuban missile incident. Yes, it was scary then, but now I have come to understand that trafficking in fear is the modus operandi of the news outlets now, just as it was then.

readering said...

My parents wouldn't take me to Romeo and Juliet, probably because of the notorious nudity. Instead, they took me to Taming of the Shrew, which Zeffirelli made right before R+J with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, a couple in real life. I was 11 and ET was my parents' age and the two couples' arguing was kinda similar (and my dad had had a crush on ET) but I couldn't relate. Only wished they had taken me to see hot Olivia Hussey, who was getting SO MUCH publicity in London, where we lived. Then my parents took me to Shakespeare in the theater and the protagonist was gay! (Ian McKellen as Richard II. So I started with the very best.)

readering said...

I don't remember any drills around October 1962, but I do remember worrying about the bomb after Reagan was inaugurated and the Soviet leadership turned senile for his first term.

Clive said...

Philomena Cunk on Shakespeare: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=cunk+on+shakespeare

Mike Sylwester said...

In 1998 I was living in Eugene, Oregon. On May 21, a high-school student named Kip Kipling shot his parents to death at his home in Springfield, which is Eugene's sister city. Then he went to his high school and shot 25 of his fellow students -- two of them fatally.

Kip was stopped when a heroic student, Jacob Ryker, charged and tackled Kipling while he was still shooting.

Before he went to the school, he turned on a recording of the soundtrack of the 1996 movie Romeo + Juliet which had been directed by Baz Luhrman and which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. He set the recording to play repeatedly, and so it was playing when the police later came into the home and found his dead parents.

The parents had not been able to control him. He had pestered them to buy him guns and to pay for shooting lessons. They relented, hoping that a gun hobby might calm him. His older sister was an excellent student and a cheerleader at the University of Hawaii.

Otto said...

"I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over". Hey stupid when you see a piper cub, TWA or any Airline commercial plane flying overhead you know it is not carrying a nuclear weapon! Didn't your parents explain that to you?

Marcus said...

The only class I failed in high school was Shakespeare. Turns out you can't skip classes and BS your way through an essay test on a play you haven't read. It left me a half credit short and even though I was voted Most Likely to Succeed, I could not graduate with my class.

My youngest daughter, the actress, is in the lead in one of his plays at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey this month. Proud father.

THEOLDMAN

In 1963 my parents moved us into a house in SE PA that had a bomb shelter. My dad would not let us play in it. He stored some glass jugs of water down there but that was about it. I was apprehensive about nuclear war in the 80s after that television movie The Day After was shown. But then Reagan won The Cold War and that was that.

Big Mike said...

In 1968 I was a senior in college, with the imminent end of my student deferral hanging over my head and a war in Vietnam awaiting me. Thanks to a marvelous high school English Lit teacher I already knew the fate awaiting Romeo and Paris and Juliet in the crypt. But the film clarified so much — how young and emotional and, especially, impetuous Romeo is, how equally young and starry-eyed Juliet is. The desperation of Romeo fighting the older and better swordsman Tybalt. Poor Mercutio — a plague on both your houses, indeed!

Andrew said...

Fantastic movie. I saw it twice when I was in high school (once in class - the teacher warned us ahead of time not to snicker or make jokes during the bedroom scene), and once a few months ago, more than thirty years later. It still holds up. Such a beautiful and powerful movie.

Reading the play first, and then watching the movie, was a revelation to me. The play was poetic but dry. Then the movie made it all come alive. (I'm sure a good stage production would do the same thing.)

My favorite character was Mercutio. The actor was perfect for the role. He made the Queen Mab speech sound like an actual young man venting his creativity.

The dance scene still moves me almost to tears, not least because of Nina Rota's beautiful music.

Andrew said...

"...there was the clip of "The Godfather II Michael talks with Fredo" in the video panel labeled "The sense of of teenagers in love is incredibly strong and real..." Did a double-take on that one."

Haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Could that be the real reason Michael kills Fredo? Romantic jealousy? Who was the third in the triangle? Not Tom I hope!

Char Char Binks said...

Spoiler Alert -- It was all a dream., and then they died.

Char Char Binks said...

Olivia Hussey was much prettier than Claire Danes -- almost as pretty as Leonardo DiCaprio!

Bruce Hayden said...

"We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII."

“Its funny that we didn't. And we had two huge US bases within 50 miles.
We were a nuclear target and it seems nobody cared”

Spent my college years looking over at Cheyenne Mountain, sitting on top of one of the top 3 nuclear targets. You could almost see one of entrances, with nothing between us and it. Not sure if they had formally named it yet, but we were very aware of the concept of fratricide, knowing that since the facility had gone underground a couple years earlier, the Soviets were expected to greatly overtarget the area, sometimes I would look over an imagine the nuclear warheads arriving like rain, the later ones being incinerated by the earlier ones. Then I would shortly go back to what college guys do.

Never lost any sleep over it though. Maybe some of the girls did though - they are more often the worriers. The thing that kept us up at night was the thought of going halfway around the world to die in a rice paddy. Of course, no one told us that it had been LBJ and McNamarra who were trying to win the war by attrition, by intentionally trading American lives for hopefully a greater number of Vietnamese lives. Graduated, and then discovered that the four years that I had been in college were the years when Nixon had switched to fighting strategically and to win. No one told us, because they hated Nixon. After four years of dreading the jungles of Vietnam, all the way through college, I never got an induction notice after I was reclassified 1A upon graduation.

Bruce Hayden said...

“Never lost any sleep over it though...The thing that kept us up at night was the thought of going halfway around the world to die in a rice paddy.”

What did go through my mind was that if the Soviet nukes were indeed committing fratricide over Cheyenne Mountain, I very much would not be going to Vietnam. We, and most everything around us, would go in the initial flash. Nothing between us and Ground Zero. So, it would be fast. We probably wouldn’t even hear it.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do remember wondering when we did R&J in HS, whether girls of that are were really that stupid, when it came to love, to kill themselves. And then figured out with grandsons that age, that, yes, some girls really are that stupid. Both of us are now more than four times Juliet’s age when she died. And I am thinking of all the life that I would have missed if I had been that foolish with my life.

Not having had sisters, the reaction of the girls in the class never made any sense. Instead of looking at how tragic it was that the two would voluntarily cut their own lives so short for something so transient, the girls all seemed to get caught up in how romantic the story was. Romantic? Stupid from my point of view, and probably that of many of the guys in class.

0_0 said...

India Eisley, Olivia's daughter, is also beautiful.

Skeptical Voter said...

I lived and worked in San Diego in the late 60s and early 70s. At the time the Navy had four or five aircraft carriers based in alongside North Island Naval Air Station in San Diego Harbor. You could drive along Harbor Drive and count the carriers in port. At the time I figured that the Russkies would not strike unless at least 3 carriers were in port.

Usually at least two of the carriers homeported in San Diego at the time were in the Western Pacific on either Yankee or Dixie station off the coast of Viet Nam--so that kept the carrier count down.

Joe said...

"India Eisley"

Wow, never made the connection. A lot of her looks came from her dad.

Did some searches, Olivia's son by Dean Martin looks very much like her.

Her son by Akira Fuse looks very much a mix of the two parents.

NEO-FIDO said...

Olivia Hussey. Well named, as she was the first naked bosom I saw, if only in a flash and it was, in its day, a proud bosom.

Alas, sic transit Gloria mundi.

She will always be that beautiful black haired girl.

eddie willers said...

lost in the Dark Ages after the fall of Rome when those damn dirty German and Hun invaders destroyed civilization.

Listened to a fellow on the radio the other night that pointed out that the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest may have been the most devastating loss in history.

The reason being is that that took the wind out Augustus and Rome never expanded into Germany. Can you imagine if that hadn't happened and Rome moved on to colonize and pacify that area and bring it into the Empire?

How different the history of Europe. No WWI and no WWII most likely.

readering said...

I believe Olivia Hussey starred in her own version of The Hunt in the early eighties: Escape 2000.

c365 said...

When I first watched it, I thought the director is probably a pedofile hiding behind art. And years later that was pretty much revealed to be true. There nude scene, while mild, was clearly superfluous and a reflection of the directors sex addiction than any art.

Mike Sylwester said...

My high school's senior class was allowed to watch a matinee screening of this 1968 movie. As I remember, any student who wanted to watch it had to pay for his own ticket. Many of us did so and were able to skip class and watch the movie.

I remember the glimpse of nudity, which had been much discussed when the movie was released.

What I remember most is that, after the movie, some of the girls were weeping in the lobby and the boys were laughing at them. One of the girls responded: "You don't have any sensitivity."

This is a great movie. I saw it again a few years ago.

Paco Wové said...

"We had the threat of nuclear war compliments of WWII."

"Its funny that we didn't."

There seems to be something in the Western soul that craves the end of the world. The Apocalypse, nuclear war, global cooling, global warming, etc. – we've just got to freak out about something.

Otto said...

"I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over". Didn't your parents tell you about the DEW line?

JAORE said...

""I feared death every time I heard a plane fly over, "

I rushed outside to gaze in wonder at the airplane. The birds of my youth included the Lockheed Constellation with that beautiful triple tail, the V-Tailed Bonanza, the T-33 trainer, Piper Pacers and so many more.

Glorious. What a loss it would have been to have had your reaction.

MacMacConnell said...

Like the professor I was born in 1951. My father was a fighter pilot in three wars, I spent most of my life till 15 living on military bases in the South. I never practiced "duck and cover" at my schools. I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was about defensive nuclear missiles in Cuba and Turkey. I do remember MPs carrying carbines for a week. We kids didn't get scared, we understood deterrence and life and death often. The only thing that ever kept me up at night was waiting for Christmas morning and jets being tested on the flight line.

I bet the professor also buys the bullshit that Woodstock defined our generation.

I saw R&J at the theater when it came out, I teared up. I also teared up watching Camelot when that cunt cheated on King Arthur. I teared up at the end of the old black and white José Ferrer Cyrano De Bergerac, but I wept during the Gérard Depardieu version.

MadTownGuy said...

Otto said...
"Didn't your parents tell you about the DEW line?"

True, but living in SoCal I didn't find out until many years later that the radomes on the hill south of out house also housed several Nike missiles as a last line of defense against Russian bombers. The threat was real, yet unlikely due to MAD.

hstad said...

".....We're told quite clearly in the text of the play that Juliet is 13. These are young kids indeed....." AA, back in those days (1300s) that was not considered young. They were married off at that age. Since everyone today is coddled until over the age of 25 I can understand your comparison, to what end I don't know.

Leora said...

I've been avoiding re-watching this because I was afraid it wouldn't be a good as I remembered. I will put it on my watchlist now.