Basil Rathbone received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Romeo and Juliet is a fairly poor adaptation of Shakespeare's plays because they fail to really make language work, and many of the performances are incredibly dull.
Basil Rathbone plays Tybalt who is hardly the greatest of Shakespeare's characters. In fact Tybalt does very little in the play therefore he does very little in this film. He is merely one of the Capulet's who want to get in a good fight with the Montagues. He does very little until he kills Mercutio and then is later killed by Romeo. He really is more of a plot catalyst than a real character. He lacks any big speeches, and his biggest scenes are sword fights. I hate to sound repetitive but he is another nominee with very little to do.
Tybalt is no Hamlet, and Rathbone I suppose is no Olivier. He does not really make it come alive though but he handles it well enough. He never is really interesting though with his performance, but Tybalt himself is not a very interesting character anyways. He does just what about should be expected from Tybalt I suppose but that is very little. The biggest thing expected of him is to perform well in the sword fighting scenes. Rathbone excels at this I suppose, but then again maybe he is too good since it does not really look like Leslie Howard's Romeo really had a chance, and Rathbone losing seems a little forced. Rathbone is not bad as Tybalt, Tybalt just is not much of a character but someone still could have been better as Tybalt.