West Side Story

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Product Overview

Musical about two youngsters from rival nyc gangs who fall in love.

Specifications

Studio MGM
SKU 40227134
UPC 027616898807
UPC 14 00027616898807
Format DVD
Release Date 5/20/2008
Rating NR
Keywords
Classic
Essential Cinema
Gangs
Love Story
Recommended
Stage Play
Theatrical Release
Tragedy
Editors Note
Note Considered one of the most popular musicals of all time, WEST SIDE STORY earned director Robert Wise an Oscar for Best Director as well as nine other Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Realistically portrayed characters and their surroundings and expert editing complementing innovative dance sequences mark this highly stylized modern-day Romeo and Juliet tale. The stage is set in New York's Upper West Side in the 1950s, where the area's slums are plagued by racial tensions acted on by two rival gangs: the Puerto Rican Sharks and the Caucasian Jets. In the middle of this mess is young, innocent Maria (Natalie Wood), a Puerto Rican seamstress whose brother, Bernardo (George Chakiris), is the leader of the Sharks. Despite the warnings of Anita (Rita Moreno), Bernardo's fiery girlfriend, Maria falls in love with a young, hopeful Polish boy, Tony (Richard Beymer), who used to belong to the Jets, now headed by Riff (Russ Tamblyn). When Tony, on Maria's urging, tries to stop a rumble between the gangs, tragedy ensues, marking their dedicated love affair with violence and desperation. The infectious, lyrical landmark score by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim help round out one of the greatest musical experiences ever captured on film.
Plot Summary
Summary A Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim score backdrops this landmark Broadway musical in which a modern-day Romeo and Juliet are involved in New York City street gangs. Academy Award Nominations: 11, including Best (Adapted) Screenplay. Academy Awards: 9, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor--George Chakiris, Best Actress--Rita Moreno, Best Scoring of a Musical Picture.
Reviews
Entertainment Weekly "..Incredibly cool..." 04/04/2003 p.83
Total Film "...You'd be a fool not to buy it and once more savour the muscular song-and-dance numbers..." 07/01/2003 p.134
Uncut "[E]very Bernstein song's a humdinger with sizzling Sondheim lyrical gags. Cosily cool." 12/01/2003 p.160
Directors
Robert Wise
Jerome Robbins
Actors
Richard Beymer
Natalie Wood
Cast & Crew
Natalie Wood - Actor
Richard Beymer - Actor
Rita Moreno - Actor
Russ Tamblyn - Actor
William Shakespeare - Adapted From Play By
Arthur Laurents - Based On Play By
Jerome Robbins - Based on Play By
Jerome Robbins - Choreography
Robert Wise - Director
Leonard Bernstein - Musical Score
Technical Info
Original Release Date 1961
Catalog ID 1005613
UPC 00027616898807
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 152 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English [CC], English, French Dubbed, Spanish Dubbed
Aspect Ratio
Standard  1.33:1 [4:3]
Awards
Oscar (1962) Daniel L. Fapp, Winner, Best Cinematography-Color,Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins, Winner, Best Director,Robert Wise, Winner, Best Picture,Fred Haynes, Gordon Sawyer, Winner, Best Sound,Thomas Stanford, Winner, Best Film Editing,Boris Leven, Victor A. Gangelin, Winner, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color,Daniel L. Fapp, Winner, Best Cinematography, Color,Ernest Lehman, Nominee, Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium,George Chakiris, Winner, Best Actor in a Supporting Role,Irene Sharaff, Winner, Best Costume Design, Color,Rita Moreno, Winner, Best Actress in a Supporting Role,Saul Chaplin, et. al., Winner, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture
Golden Globe (1962) West Side Story, Winner, Best Motion Picture - Musical
Reviews
ReviewSource James Berardinelli's ReelViews
Review ...[West Side Story] still represents a brave and effective fusion of serious and fantasy elements, and offers two and one-half hours of solid entertainment. Admittedly, there are times when West Side Story strikes a campy or discordant note, but those instances are overbalanced by the more frequent moments when it offers its own brand of cinematic magic.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 7
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the musical had become one of the most popular motion picture genres. The list of past hits was impressive, including titles like Singin' in the Rain, South Pacific, The King and I, Oklahoma!, An American in Paris, My Fair Lady, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and Carousel. Consequently, Hollywood moguls were always on the lookout for new source material, regardless of whether it was original or adapted. So, whenever a new Broadway musical captured the public's attention, an attempt was usually made to transform it into a screen event...Of course, as is always the case with a musical, West Side Story is at its best when the characters are singing and dancing. Bernstein's score is rich and memorable, and of the roughly twelve songs on the soundtrack, three are standouts. Two of them, the romantic ballads "Tonight" and "Somewhere," are instantly recognizable standards. The third, arguably the most energetic number, is the six-minute "America." In addition to being a favorite, the song also includes West Side Story's strongest element of social commentary...Until Baz Luhrmann attempted a highly unusual take of Romeo and Juliet using snatches of Shakespeare's original dialogue in a radical setting, West Side Story remained the best known and most atypical modernization of the Bard's tale. And, even though the movie version of the stage production does not play quite as well today as it once did, it still represents a brave and effective fusion of serious and fantasy elements, and offers two and one-half hours of solid entertainment. Admittedly, there are times when West Side Story strikes a campy or discordant note, but those instances are overbalanced by the more frequent moments when it offers its own brand of cinematic magic.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 9
ReviewSource Chicago Sun-Times
Review Although "West Side Story" was named the best picture of 1961 and won 10 Academy Awards, it is not much mentioned by movie fans these days, and the old warhorse "Singin' in the Rain" is probably more seen and certainly better loved..."West Side Story" was the kind of musical people thought was good for them, a pious expression of admirable but unrealistic liberal sentiments, and certainly its street gangs at war -- one Puerto Rican, one the descendants of European immigrants -- seem touchingly innocent compared to contemporary reality...I hadn't seen it since it was released in 1961, nor had I much wanted to, although I've seen "Singin' in the Rain," "Swing Time," "Top Hat," "My Fair Lady" and "An American in Paris" countless times during those years. My muted enthusiasm is shared. Although "West Side Story" placed No. 41 in the American Film Institute's list of the greatest films of all time, the less industry-oriented voters at the Internet Movie Database don't even have it in the top 250...What I loved during "West Side Story," and why I recommend it, is the dancing itself. The opening finger-snapping sequence is one of the best uses of dance in movie history...So the dancing is remarkable, and several of the songs have proven themselves by becoming standards, and there are moments of startling power and truth. "West Side Story" remains a landmark of musical history. But if the drama had been as edgy as the choreography, if the lead performances had matched Moreno's fierce concentration, if the gangs had been more dangerous and less like bad-boy Archies and Jugheads, if the ending had delivered on the pathos and tragedy of the original, there's no telling what might have resulted. The movie began with a brave vision, and it is best when you sense that vision surviving the process by which it was turned into safe entertainment.
ReviewDate
ReviewPage
Reviewer Roger Ebert
ReviewRating 10
Features
DVD, Pan and Scan (TV Format), English, French, Spanish, No Longer Produced
Product Attributes
Actor Wood,Natalie
Label Mgm Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Quotes
The New York Times A cinema masterpiece!
At-A-Glance Film Reviews ...astonishingly powerful...
David Cornelius, eFilmCritic.com ...a world unlike any other, a phenomenal filmmaking achievement.
Shay Casey, Film Written Magazine The dance choreography endures as some of the most energetic ever captured on film.
Stella Papamichael, BBC ...[a] groundbreaking combination of toe-tapping tunes and wailing pathos...a truly arresting musical.
Variety Powerful! Electrifying! Breathtaking!

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