“ Genre: Music DVDs - Adult Pop / Theatrical Release: 1962 / Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise / Actors: Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer ... / DVD released 01 February, 2000 at MGM Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Dubbed, PAL, Widescreen „
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West Side Story is a musical set in the 1950's New York and is based on Shakespeare's tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet. In West Side Story, the two opposing gangs which the lovers come from are the Jets (Americans) and the Sharks (puerto ricans).
I personally love the musical and am doing a production of it at the moment in which I am playing the part of Maria (the equivilent of juliet) so I have found this very useful and inspirational as the acting is really good. The dancing is also of a very high standard and the music, by Bernstein and Sondheim is superb.
The only complain I would have against this film is that it is quite old fashioned and dated. The special effects are quite cheasey and at points detract from the actors.
However, overall, a great watch which I personally haven't got bored of seeing over and over again. It might not be the type of film for everybody, but I would definately recommend it for those who enjoy musicals, old classic films or a good love story. Have your box of tissues ready for the end though.
West side story is the not very modern, modern day Romeo and Juliet. A musical made over 45 years ago that is still watched and loved today. It has the typical story line of a boy and girl fall in love but are being forced apart due to there different lives, with terrible consequences. It also features gangs and the effect that fighting gangs have on the people involved. It is quite moving and gets you involved with the characters. Natalie Wood who plays Maria is both beautiful and enchanting and combined with Richard Beymer who plays the handsome and upstanding Tony it is a must see for any musical or chick flick fan. It has a very catchy sound track that will get you singing along with great songs like "America" and "I feel pretty". It is a film you can watch time and time again. I would recommend it for a night with the girls, maybe not so much for the men.
"Kubrick becomes enthusiastic about ballet", was the strange thought that was rumbling in my mind when I have started watching the movie. Slow pace in the beginning. Starting credits that don't change for a long time (so long that I thought that my player frizzed), bright colures. People dancing, instead of fighting, and not that passionate, Argentinean or capoeira "dancing". But gentle and jolly dancing (if you won't to make a movie where they dance instead of fight, un-jolly approach should be used). Movie doesn't get any more enthusiastic latter on.
Story is simple Maria (Natalie Wood) falls in love in Tony (Richard Beymer). But Tony is an ex-member of a gang, now lead by Riff (Russ Tamblyn). Now the archenemy of this gang is a Porto Ricans gang, led by Maria's brother, Bernardo (George Chakiris). As you can see it's a classical Romeo and Juliet plot. If I tell you anything more I will ruin the whole movie.
Because this is a musical we should say something about the songs and the sinning. First off, I hated the majority of the dancing. Also a lot of the songs. Pace and to much ballet have ruined it for me. Ballet must be placed in a theater not the streets (the fact that dancers learn the hard way, because the have a lot of soared muscles and bones because of dancing on concrete and asphalt). All gangs, no matter of the era, they have some sort of toughness in it. Jolly dancing doesn't belong in a gang (like in Grease, why better then this one). But one thing I must say that I liked very much. They way that the pour social problems of the word in the lyrics. Songs that explain why they are in gangs, why did they come to America, how is like to be in America,... excellent lyric, amusing and funny to listen, lyrics that care a lot of truth.
A lot of actors didn't perform their own songs. I have no problem with that. Because sinning style is not by my likings, but I will still say that as performance goes - it's done well.
Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer, look OK together, even though Natalie Wood doesn't look a bit Latin to money. Rita Moreno as Anita was for me the best performer in the movie.
Directing and editing, was boring to me. Trying to transform a play in a movie and kept the limits of a stage is a mistake. They should use every benefit that movie making has. But they deliberately confined them self in way that scenes look like they would be recorded in theater.
People who direct plays, shouldn't direct movies.
~~ WEST SIDE STORY ~~
I would like to say this is a modern day Romeo and Juliet and I suppose it is, if you think back to when Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, but in fact the film is now 44 years old and it was nominated for 11 Oscars which it won 10 of.
West Side Story (Stage show), premiered at the Rivoli Theatre in New York in 1957, where it had a very successful run of 77 weeks. After its successful time on the stage, the movie went into production in August 1960, the full cast having to complete 2 months of gruelling rehearsals prior to production. So look out next year as it will be the Golden Anniversary of West Side Story and I should imagine they will re-release a special edition to celebrate it.
Originally the movie version was only going to take 3 weeks to make, but instead it took months and Premiered in October 1961. Why did it take so long, well, Jerome Robbins who was one of the two directors on the movie, was a perfectionist when it came to the dance routines, he pushed all the cast beyond their own expectations and achieved fantastic results on the dance scenes. But sadly ¾ of the way through the movie the men with the money sacked Robbins so they could finish the film quicker, they did reinstate Robbins though at the end to help with the editing of the movie. For your information the other Director on the movie was Robert Wise.
~~ Cast ~~
Maria - Natalie Wood - She was the 2nd choice for the part, the original choice was for Audrey Hepburn, who declined the part due to being pregnant. So we have a young and very beautiful Natalie Wood playing the part of Maria, to me she played the part very well, from what I have read she hated her on screen partner Richard Brymer (Tony), but on the emotional scenes you would never have guessed. She wanted to do all the songs herself, but sadly her voice was not strong enough for the songs or at least the directors thought so and they brought in Marni Nixon who did all the songs on voice over for Maria (she was also known for the voice over songs in the King and I for Deborah Kerr and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady).
Sorry I digressed to technical info again, back to Maria - she is Puerto Rican and the young sister of the gang leader of the Sharks. Going out to her first dance she meets Tony and it is love at first sight, where you have the romantic look across the Gym at the local dance. They are quickly torn apart by the two gang leaders.
Tony - Richard Beymer - Our Romeo in this movie, as just stated it was love at first sight, after the dance he meets Maria in a sneaky rendezvous with and with a pledge of undying love they make arrangements to meet the next day.
Anita - Rita Moreno - She plays the girlfriend of gang leader Bernardo (The Sharks), she is also a friend and it appears watchdog over Maria. She works with Maria and watches over her for Bernardo. She was very good in her part, there was a scene where the rival gang The Jets set about her pushing her around when she was on an errand to help Tony and Maria. Due to their behaviour she told them that Maria had been shot. This was sadly passed on to Tony making him to go demented in anguish and causing him to run away to his demise.
Lt Schrank - Simon Oakland, Officer Krupke - William Bramley and Doc - Ned Glass - all have small contributing parts to the flow of the story and make periodic appearances throughout the film.
Now that leaves our two gangs. Yes, there are two rival gangs made up of Puerto Ricans and Americans, both gangs hating each other causing friction and fighting. Do not expect the blood and guts as you will get today, this is a musical remember you will get the fights which have been wonderfully choreographed and appear more like a dance than a fight.
~~ The Jets ~~
Riff - Russ Tamblyn - He is the gang leader, a bit cocky, a bit stupid (let's face it aren't all 'gang' leaders), anyway he is the best friend of Tony who used to be the Gang Leader until he wanted to grow up and leave the scene and get a job at Doc's. Due to Tony falling for Maria who happened to be Bernardo's sister, Riff decides that they must have a rumble and so a war meeting had to take place that night at midnight.
Other Jet members were - Ice - Tucker Smith, Action - Tony Mordente, A-Rab - David Winters, Baby John - Eliot Feld and Anybody's - Sue Oakes.
~~ The Sharks ~~
Bernardo - George Chakiris - Gang Leader of the Puerto Ricans, he was just as hot headed as Riff, overly protective of his sister and dating Anita. There was a nice scene on the roof of his apartment block where America was sung. He plays the part of an arrogant youth with attitude.
Other Sharks members were - Anita (already mentioned), Chino - Jose De Vega, Pepe - Jay Norman, Indio - Gus Trikonis (Gus's sister was also in the show, Gina Trikonis she played Grazella Riff's girlfriend), and Consuelo - Yvonne Othon
~~ Songs ~~
This is a musical and no musical will be without its Songs so here we go:
The Overture - takes us through the title West Side Story.
The Prologue - takes you through the opening shots which was an innovation for its year, it was an aerial shot over Manhattan and then homes in to the West Side where we will find our first meeting with the Jets.
Jet Song - we are with the gang and they take us through the streets with a dance routine.
Something's Coming - This is Tony in the courtyard at the back of Doc's where he works. It is a nice song, a happy song that picks you up and carries you along, Tony is singing this as he feels excited that something good is going to happen. I have read somewhere that Tony's singing voice had a voice over as well, but I have not been able to find out by whom.
Dance at the Gym - The dancing here was spectacular I really enjoyed the dance scenes, sadly the music did nothing for me at all, at times it was pleasant at others it had an overpowering sound of the trumpet, and the beat made your heart go faster. Typical music of that era.
Maria - Well what can I say a classic love song which is sang by Tony about a girl called Maria, it is very pleasant to listen to, he sings this in a kind of dream state where she pictures Maria and himself together.
America - Started off by Anita on the roof of their apartment block, the sharks all join in. I found this a lovely song and dance sketch, the music was fast but pleasant, with a Latin American feel to it. You wanted to sing along and click your fingers to the beat.
Tonight - A lovely duet. - This is the love song version between Maria and Tony where they both sing about meeting their love tonight.
Gee, Officer Krupke - Riff and The Jets have a load of fun singing and clowning around with this, it is a wonderful piece of chorography and song. It is quite playful and catchy.
I Feel Pretty - A fun song sang by Maria and set in the Bridal shop where she works, she runs round feeling 'pretty' wearing coloured sashes over her head, showing her happiness to her friends but not the reason why.
One Hand, One Heart - Once again it is Maria and Tony, they are alone in the bridal shop after it has closed. They talk and get carried away with their love for each other, they have a makeshift wedding using the shop dummies for their parents, best man, bridesmaids etc, all the time singing this romantic and uplifting song.
Quintet - This is 5 different versions of Tonight sang at the same time as they make their way to the rumble - you have Maria and Tony separately singing their romantic version of Tonight. Riff - singing The Jets are going to have their day tonight. Bernardo - sings The Sharks are going to have their way tonight and finally you have Anita singing her little version of what she is going to do tonight with Bernardo. Even though it is the same tune the tempo here as become faster to get you ready for the action of The Rumble.
The Rumble - The big fight between the two gangs, again I cannot find fault with the dance routines, once again the tempo of the music has been quickened to get your heart racing and temples pulsing as the choreographed dance routine and the fight begin.
Somewhere - The fight is now over Tony has ran to be with Maria - they are holding each other and feeling the depths of despair, Maria holding Tony close to her chest starts singing this song of hope - Somewhere there's a place for us, towards the end of the song they clasp hands and together they sing with hope in their hearts.
Cool - The Jets, this is started off by Ice as Riff is no longer, it is a song to build the spirits up and get the gang to act 'cool', once again a great dance scene and the song is not too bad either.
A boy like that/ I have a love - as most songs in musicals they continue the story this is a sad song, a bit like a disagreement between Anita and Maria - Anita singing the boy like that part and Maria singing I have a love part. They intertwine like a conversation.
For those of you that want to know the music was by Leonard Berstein and the lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.
~~ My Opinion ~~
West Side Story was not one of my favourite musicals, but I did enjoy it. As I mentioned earlier it was a musical spin off of Romeo and Juliet which is also not one of my favourite stories either. I love musicals, I just don't like the story line, but that is me I don't like it because this tragedy happened due to two different cultures not getting along and not allowing the love to grow.
I loved all the dance scenes they were absolutely fantastic, all the perfectionism and pushing Robbins did, really, truly paid off.
The scene where Maria and Tony did their makeshift wedding, the vows they said to each other were lovely.
Overall I enjoyed the film.
Sadly the extras were nothing special, and very difficult to come out of, I had to keep taking the disc out and putting it back in later as it would not let me navigate around it. Once you had selected an option you were stuck with it.
~~ Extras ~~
Language Options: English, Deutsch, Fracais, Italiano and Castellano.
Scene Selections: there are 36 scenes and they are grouped in blocks of 4
US Theatrical Trailer - this was a 5 minute run through the highlights of the show, like an advertising feature to encourage you into the theatre.
Well here she is again musicals, musicals, musicals. .....I can't stop I love them all so much. West Side Story - what can I say that hasn't been said before. A modern day love story based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, but with a somewhat different ending. Maria does not commit suicide as Juliet does, but instead feels her life has ended because of everything that has happened to her. The true ending of Romeo and Juliet was deemed to be too depressing for filmgoing audiences, hence the change. Again, originally a stage show later made into a movie, West Side Story is directed by Robert Wise, who went on to further fame when he directed Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim are responsible for the amazing musical score, indeed Sondheim was a protege of the famous Oscar Hammerstein, who actually talked him into this joint endeavour when initially he was reluctant to be involved in working jointly with Bernstein. And what music it is with songs such as: America Tonight I feel pretty There's a Place for Us (later made a hit by P.J.Proby) ....and so on..... and amazing dancing which we see right from the outset in the Prologue scene with the Jet's song and throughout the film with amazing choreography by Jerome Robbin - who could ever forget the dances when America is sung on the rooftop, or the playful interacting during Officer Krupke. Strong starring roles are taken by George Chakiris who plays Barnardo, the leader of the Peurto Rican gang - the Sharks. His moody sardonic attitude and dark good looks give him truly the air of a brooding gang leader. Chakiris himself has a chequered and interesting past history....did you know, for example, that he had a part in White Christmas and also he was one of the dancers carrying Marilyn Monroe when she sings Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? Look out for
him the next time you see this. George originally took the part of Riff, the leader of the Jets in the West End Production, but was selected for Barnardo by Robert Wise later for the film version and later received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor alongside Rita Moreno who won Best Supporting Actress for her role as his girlfriend, Anita. Rita also took the part of Tuptim in the King and I, when she plays a sweet and innocent slave girl - totally the opposite to her part in West Side Story as the rather sleazy and worldly wise gang moll. Unfortunately, in my opinion Richard Beymer lets the film down. His acting as Tony is wooden and he looks uncomfortable in the romance scenes. Strangely enough I never heard of him starring in any future productions and if anyone can throw any light on what happened to him, I would be very interested to hear it. Natalie Wood is of course beautiful as Maria, but not particularly innocent looking (probably due to her various affairs in Hollywood at the time). Her singing is of course dubbed by the undervalued Marnie Nixon as ever and although Rita Moreno sings some of her score, she is aided by an unknown (to me anyway) singer by the name of Barbara Wise. Another main player is of course the legendary Russ Tamblyn, star of such films as Seven Wives for Seven Brothers and Tom Thumb, amongst others. His dancing is totally amazing as indeed is the rest of the cast's. Originally the film was to be called East Side Story and the story based around the love affair of a Jewish boy and Italian girl, but this was later deemed to have lost impact and changed to a more racial background. Briefly, the story surrounds the love affair of Tony and Maria, both with rival backgrounds - Tony is the co-founder of the Jet gang, Maria is the sister of Barnardo the leader of the Sharks. Maria has been brought to New York from Peurto Rico during the l950s to marry Chino one of the Sharks, but meets and falls
in love with Tony at a dance when a rumble (gang fight) is to be arranged between the two rivalling factors. Tony kills Barnardo in a rage when his best friend Riff is killed accidentally during a clash between the two gangs and the story continues with Maria and Tony's love affair despite this disaster. I don't think I've given too much away to those of you who may not have seen the film as the story of Romeo and Juliet is so well known. The film's strength however is not based on the story so much as the singing and dancing aspects of it which have to be seen to be believed. Some of the scenes were filmed in Manhattan New York to give the film authenticity, although other sets are somewhat staged and look dated in our now age of realism. The violence is under rather than overstated, so the film is suitable for youngsters as well as adults. A true classic - winning no less than ten oscars, West Side Story has opened time and time again as a stage show - don't miss the film if you truly enjoy great music and dancing at its best.
I can't rememeber the first time i watched 'west side story', my family (older brothers and sisters) have been walking around humming the tunes and quoting the dialogue ever since i was knee-high-to-a-grass-hopper (is that how you spell grass-hopper, or is it with one 'p'??). So i dont know what kind of impact the musical makes on a first time watcher, but thats just the thing about West side story, the more you get to know the songs and storyline, the more you enjoy it. For those who arent aware, the story is about two rival gangs in america, boy meets girl from rival gang, and you begin to get the Romeo-and-Juliet picture of things. First i'll start with praising the songs. These vary greatly from a sweet rendition of 'I feel pretty... oh so pretty, I feel pretty and witty and gay.....' (which is obviously quite dated!), to the fierce 'When you're a jet you're a jet.. from your first cigarrete to your last daying day....', and the famous 'Mariaaaaaaaaaaa, I'v just met a girl named Mariaaaa.... and suddenly that name, will never be the same....' (yes you guessed it, thats mr.romeo singing about his juliette). The songs are really catchy, and the lyrics are often hilarious (especielly in the case of the song 'officer Kropky'),and the dance routines to go with the songs are equally hilarious- picture a skinny puerto-rican in a purple suit, with trousers up to his armpits jumping around on the roof of a high-rise block of flats, and girls running around in the frilliest and most tasteless dresses that even a 2-yearold bridesmade wouldn't wear, whilst singing: '... i'd like to be in San Juan' '...i know a boat you can get on... bye bye, bye bye..' 'Everyone there will give three cheers' 'Everyone there will have moved here...' The acting, as is the case in most musicals, is a little over-the-top, bu
t mostly well done. The actors and actresses could not be called 'totty' by any means, but i think that would ruin the feel of the musical anyway. What i find so entertaining about the film is how the characters manage to convey serious emotions and dialogue within the confines of their ridiculous dance routines (a scene where one gang member is shot is immedietly followed by a song and dance (literally) by the gang (of the shot memeber) about how they will have to carry on without him, and i quote 'Stay cool, boy...' as the song title to illustrate my point above!) The colourfull costumes, great catchy songs, quirky dance routines, and hilarious dialogue all make this one heck of an entertaining musical, which also happens to have quite an emotional ending. What more could you want???!?!!
West Side Story is among the very best of all film adaptations of a Broadway Musical. -- The story of two young people from different ethnic backgrounds, whose love could never be is a modern-day version of Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet". The music is wonderfull, the lyrics nothing short of perfection. One of the few movies that has a variety of material; comedy, action, sad parts, it's a great movie I loved it and highly recommend you buying it.The DVD has the widescreen version and brilliant colours. There are also several trailers and a booklet with more information about the film, as well as trivia questions.
The first time I saw this movie, I was in my music class at senior school, and of course as our lessons were only 45 minutes long, we had to wait until the following week to get the next installment, and on until the film finished, this is probably why I feel it's a little disjointed for me, I can only hark back to when I was 11. However, this is nothing to do with the wonderful musical that lays before us..... This movie has won 10 Academy Awards, and quite rightly too, with the story-line based around Shakespears "Romeo and Juliet" mixed with just the right amount of dancing and singing, it's one of the best musicals around (I can understand why my music teacher wanted us to see it!). The story is based in America's New York City around the 1950's with all of the juvenile delinquency you can muster..... With 2 gangs called 'The Sharks' and 'The Jets' (obviously representing both Capulets + Montagues) Richard Beymer and Natalie Wood are the two lovers lost in family hatred, not knowing (yet also knowing) what or who to turn to next. The unforgettable score 'Maria', 'America', 'Somewhere', and 'Tonight' just goes to show you that they don't make 'em like they used to (well, maybe with the exception of Grease). Robert Wise - the producer along with Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim - the music composers make this film a joy to behold, ok, so the actors didn't sing their own songs, but who gives a hoot? (you can't really tell anyway!) In 1961, just before the film came out, apparently it was going to be called East Side Story, doesn't ring quite right does it? Even 40 years on, the acting, dancing, singing and storyline are absolutely superb. I must have watched this film at least 20 times since my first viewing in 19(frozen to death) Buy this film, it's a classic. Nuff said!
West Side Story (1961) Format: DVD Type: DVD 9 - Dual Layer, Single Sided. Region: 2 (UK and Europe) Case: Amaray Country: USA Studio: MGM Genre: Musical Running Time: 139 minutes Rating: PG (no cuts made by BBFC) Picture Format: Widescreen, 2.35:1 Anamorphic: Yes Colour: Technicolor Audio: English (5.1), French, German, Spanish, Italian (all Mono) Subtitles: English, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish Menus: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish Extras: Trailer The FILM ------------ The rivalry of two gangs (the Sharks and the Jets) begins to escalate, and turn to violence as they fight for control of a small patch of streets amongst the slums of New York. As the deaths mount up though, the gang members slowly begin to realise the futility of their enmity. This modern-day reworking of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet started out life as a Broadway smash before being treated to one of the most successful adaptations from stage to screen. On the year of its release, 1961, it swept the Oscars (winning a total of ten awards) and really has dated very little since, so universal are its themes. The poor status of the film musical over recent years means that modern audiences may not be particularly accustomed to this genre, but it is well worth a look, even to people who might shy away from the thought of singing and dancing gangsters. The DVD ------------ *MENUS: The menus are static and silent, and really about as basic as they come. Admittedly they do the job, but do pale in comparison to some of the animated ones which are becoming increasingly frequent. A good point though is that unlike many discs, the menus are available in a number of different languages, and not just English. *VIDEO: Considering the age of the film, the quality of the transfer is exceptional with br
ight, vivid colours and very few marks on the print. An excellent job has been done by all concerned with the restoration. Vitally, it is also presented in its proper widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, preserving Jerome Robbins choreography and the compositions of cinematographer Daniel Fapp exactly as they were intended it to be seen. *AUDIO: Clearly musicals are as much about the sound as the picture, and in keeping with this the audio has also been restored. There do seem to be one or two places where the sound fades slightly for a second or two, but apart from this I have nothing but praise for the work done in this area - a comparison with the trailer reveals how washed out and tinny the deteriorative effects of age have made the original soundtrack. In addition to this, it has also been remixed to support the Dolby Digital 5.1 format (though note this is only applies to the English version, the other languages all remain in mono). Views differ on whether older films should be given this treatment – personally I am in favour, as older soundtracks do tend to sound a bit lifeless in comparison to newer ones, but clearly the best solution to please everybody would be to include the original sound on a separate track, an opportunity that has been missed on this release. *EXTRAS: The extras on the disc are disappointing. All you get is the original US trailer, which mainly serves to highlight the atrocious quality of the original print in terms of both video and sound. For a film of this status I’m sure they could of done better, and something like the documentary of Bernstein recording the soundtrack would have perfectly complimented the film. *PACKAGING The disc comes in an Amaray case, and as is standard for MGM, includes a well-presented informative eight-page brochure. This mainly focuses on the original inception of the stage version, and how this was later adapted for the screen. *OVERALL:
A fantastic adaptation for cinema of one of the greatest musicals makes this a pretty much essential purchase, and the excellent restoration work that has been done means that this is the best the film has looked and sounded in ages. Admittedly, it is poorly supported by extras, but ultimately you buy a disc because of the film, so on balance this disc still receives a good rating, and is in my opinion well worth the money.
The winner of 10 Academy Awards, this 1961 musical by choreographer Jerome Robbins and director Robert Wise (The Sound of Music) remains irresistible. Based on a smash Broadway play updating Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the 1950s era of juvenile delinquency, West Side Story stars Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers from different neighbourhoods--and ethnicities. The film's real selling points, however, are the highly charged and inventive song-and-dance numbers, the passionate ballads, the moody sets, colourful support from Rita Moreno, and the sheer accomplishment of Hollywood talent and technology producing a film so stirring. Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim wrote the score. --Tom Keogh