Les Amants De Verona (aka The Lovers Of Verona) (1949)
Set in Venice and Verona, a glassblower (Serge Reggiani) and the daughter (Anouk Aimee) of a corrupt ex-fascist magistrate (Louis Salou) are given jobs as stand ins for the two lead actors in a movie being made of Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET. They fall in love and their romance parallels the story of Romeo and Juliet. Directed by Andre Cayatte who co-wrote the screenplay with Jacques Prevert. Shakespeare's romantic tragedy of star crossed lovers has been filmed many times, both in faithful retellings (like Zeffirelli's 1968 film) or re-imagined versions (like WEST SIDE STORY). This graceful and lush version shot in shimmering B&W by Henri Alekan (Cocteau's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST) is one of the better ones. Reggiani and Aimee are not only appealing but so beautiful that one begins to pray that Cayatte and Prevert have rewritten Shakespeare. Cayatte keeps the romanticism on full throttle without going overboard and the supporting characters provide enough acidity that it never becomes mush. A lovely film. With Martine Carol, Pierre Brasseur, Marcel Dalio and Marianne Oswald.