Martha Graham, Baryshnikov, Jerome Robbins – these were my heroes. My degree is in dance. I spent my youth on stages in rehearsal halls, etc. I auditioned, practiced, took class, and then did it again (and again, and again). West Side Story was and still IS my “heart” movie. With Jerome Robbins’ choreographic styling, the flow between story, music and dance is perfection. Add in Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein and you’ve got a classic that holds it’s place as MY all time favorite musical as much today as when I first saw it in 1961.
With two rival gangs vying for the same territory, this street version of Romeo and Juliette tells the classic tale of a love that transcends class and color. The Jets led by Riff vs. The Sharks lead by Bernardo are at constant war. When a meeting at the dance brings Bernardo’s sister Mari face to face with Riff’s best friend Tony it is love at first site. While the two lovers plan a secret meeting the Sharks and Jets meet to rumble. Tragedy strikes when fists become weapons. In a heartbreaking conclusion….well, you read Romeo & Juliette, so you know.
The film was cleaned up beautifully in the blu-ray edition and looks more like a stage play (with vivid colors) than it did originally. The music holds up, the dancing holds up and the story is timeless.
- Pow! The Dances of West Side Story In-Movie Viewing Mode: For people like ME who can’t get enough of the dancing. I loved hearing what Debbie Allen & Yvonne Wilder had to say.
- Song-Specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim: Interesting at first, but I found him to be a bit tough on himself, especially considering the fact that it was a major hit.
- Music Machine: Individual videos, great to find JUST the pieces you were looking for.
A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy: Loved hearing the memories of some of the cast, and others NOT involved in the movie.
- Creation and Innovation
- A Timeless Vision
- West Side Memories: A look back: Sigh…Jerome Robbins…sigh, oh and there was some interesting footage about the book (had no idea).
- Storyboard-to-Film Comparison Montage
West Side Story: 50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray] is available in stores nationwide.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “Z” – Zippy
We received a copy of this title for our review. All opinions are our own.