Saturday, August 29, 2020

West Side Story

This tale, and updated version of Romeo and Juliet, of course, displays the unnecessary bigotry and hated of the "other" in NYC in the early 60's. The stupidity of fighting for "turf" is highlighted as a Latina (played  in a very un-politically correct manner by the very white Natalie Wood) falls in love with a "pollack" as their different factions fight for the streets of NYC.

Again, the cinematography and sets (obviously on a sound stage, but very effective none-the-less) is superb, with special kudos to the lighting and set dressers. As I said, I have always loved the choreography of these types of films and this is especially well done - Jerome Robbins did an incredible, unforgettable job here - and Leonard Bernstein shines with his music for Stephen Sondhelm's lyrics, creating fantastic songs that stand the test of time and have been covered by musicians as varied as Tom Waits and Alice Cooper (which may be a reason why this resonates so strongly with me).

Of course, the story of two outcasts falling in love heartened my heart, as well, as I have always been an outcast in the crazy world we live in - although, of course, I didn't want to end up as these characters did! Naturally, in today's world of ultra-violence, this story of rival gangs is pretty quaint, but it's a good story, told well, with style (man, the PR's all dress like MInk DeVille!) and flash.

I'd be surprised if anyone has not seen this in this day'n'age, but if not, make the time while it's available on Netflix!