Thursday, 21 February 2013

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 1968: Michael York in Romeo and Juliet

Michael York did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet.

Michael York is an actor with a very distinct voice that is both posh and pompous sounding to begin with.  This helps in portraying the pompous Tybalt one of the leading men in Capulet clan. Where the other men might go about with various insults to one another, and build to the antagonism Tybalt throws himself full force in it. Tybalt is easy to be just a bully, but York takes this role and makes a most of it from his first scene by showing that Tybalt just completely revels in the idea of conflict. York does not this to portray Tybalt is just evil or anything close to it though, which is how he gets so much out of his role.

York is very energetic in the role with a big smile and a broad manner that really characterizes Tybalt brilliantly for this film. One thing this version of the play really does well is show that the tragedies that occur in the film were not an inevitability by any means. York contributes to this idea well by not portraying Tybalt as sadist in regards to enthusiasm to fight, or even call out his enemy like when he wants to kick Romeo out of a party. Instead York makes him almost a wannabe romantic hero, he wants to brash and big with his fight even if he does not have the slightest idea what he really is fighting for.

Tybalt's manner of course leads him to his fateful duel with Romeo's friend Mercutio (John McEnery). This scene is the highlight of a good film, and a lot of the credit for this deserves to go to York and McEnery. They are terrific as the two go up each other in a duel that is more about theatrical antics and showing up one another in public more than trying to kill each other. The two have a lot of fun in the scene as they both try to show up the other in their technique and style they use. It is a particularly strong scene because both actors show the men are having genuine fun in their act there is no malice making the tragedy all the greater when Tybalt accidentally stabs Mercutio.

York single short reaction to seeing the blood and the blade is absolutely perfect. We see the remorse that Tybalt has for this action, and he makes it clear that murdering Mercutio was never his intention. It actually is a very moving moment despite being a very short one. When Romeo demands vengeance for the death of his friend York is excellent because we see his rage match Romeo yet York subtly infuses a bit of confusion and angst over the whole matter that came about so accidentally. Of course York's performance ends quite quickly after this point, but York has made his impact on the film. His take on Tybalt is unique and quite effective. Although Tybalt still is not the most complex character around York actually manages to get even more than there is out of the character.

5 comments:

RatedRStar said...

wow im very happy but surprised =D, I thought he was great, great review im glad u pinpointed his reaction scene when he accidentally stabs Mercutio, what are the chances of him getting in for Cabaret do you reckon Louis?

Louis Morgan said...

Very likely.

RatedRStar said...

I always used to think Michael York was gay, I dont know why (maybe the voice), he kinda has this um, flamboyance to him lol

koook160 (Robert MacFarlane) said...

I have to say, I agree with this review. The fight with Mercutio was easily the best reimaginings that Zeffirelli made to the adaptation. I remmeber watching this in high school and everyone in the room agreed, that was a great interpertation.

RatedRStar said...

we saw this in our school 2 koook160, they loved the duel, they also kept debating on who the sexiest actor was lol haha.