West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition – Blu-ray
Directed by: Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins
Cast: Natalie Wood, George Chakiris, Richard Beymer
Running Time: 2 hrs and 32 mins
Due Out: November 15, 2011
PLOT: (from news release) This film sets the ageless story of “Romeo and Juliet” against a backdrop of gang warfare in 1950’s New York. A love affair is fated for tragedy amidst the vicious rivalry between two street gangs – the Jets and the Sharks. When Jets member Tony (Richard Beymer, The Longest Day) falls for Maria (Natalie Wood, Splendor in the Grass), the sister of the Sharks leader, it’s more than these two warring gangs can handle. As mounting tensions rise, a battle to the death ensues and innocent blood is shed in a heartbreaking finale.
WHO’S IT FOR? Anyone who wants to watch own on of the most beloved musicals of all time.
I was lucky. I didn’t know it at the time. In fact, I thought I was being punished. Every once in a while, my parents sat me down and made me watch a classic movie. I know, pretty rough childhood. One of the films was West Side Story. With the introduction that just wouldn’t stop, I remember thinking this was worse than spinach. After the two and a half hours, West Side Story had another fan. I was probably eight. The beauty of this film is the black/white perspective, until we finally see the shades of grey. At least that’s how I remember it then, and even now that I have watched it nearly 20 years later.
Time hasn’t been perfectly kind to the acting in West Side Story. The melodrama has hit a level certain level of “cheesy” but 50 years will do that do a film. In this film death is almost ignored. The Jets and the Sharks are kids, who don’t rationalize violence and death for what it actually is. Noticing the “cheese” as I have put it, doesn’t hurt the film, it just makes it dated. This happens to many movies and doesn’t for one second diminish the beauty and most importantly, the dance numbers in West Side Story. Plus, the extras are where this Blu-ray becomes worth owning. You can watch the movie with the extra “Pow! The Dances of West Side Story. That means every time there is a dance number, you’ll get extra commentary from people involved with the film and contemporaries who were influences by it. That alone it worth the purchase.
MOVIE SCORE: 8/10
ALL-NEW: Pow! The Dances of West Side Story – cast members, contemporary filmmakers, dancers and choreographers analyze and illuminate the film’s famous dance sequences.
Dance At the Gym
Tony and Maria’s Cha Cha
Maria’s Roof Dance
ALL-NEW: A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy – a look back at the iconic film and the impact it has had all over the world
Creation and Innovation
A Timeless Vision
Song Specific Commentary by Lyricist Stephen Sondheim
The Jet Song
Dance At the Gym
Gee, Officer Krupke
I Feel Pretty
One Hand, One Heart
A Boy Like That / I Have A Love
Music Machine – allows viewers to go straight to their favorite musical numbers
West Side Memories
Storyboard to Film Comparison Montage
Original Theatrical Trailer
Original Issue Trailer