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  • #6802506
  • Manufacturer: MGM
  • UPC #883904245230
  • Model #883904245230



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    Detail Description
    Detailed Description
    (Manufacturer # 883904245230 )

      Romeo and Juliet is updated to the tenements of New York City in this Oscar-winning musical landmark. Adapted by Ernest Lehman from the Broadway production, the movie opens with an overhead shot of Manhattan, an effect that director Robert Wise would repeat over the Alps in The Sound of Music four years later. We are introduced to two rival street gangs: the Jets, second-generation American teens, and the Sharks, Puerto Rican immigrants. When the war between the Jets and Sharks reaches a fever pitch, Jets leader Riff (Russ Tamblyn) decides to challenge the Sharks to one last "winner take all" rumble. He decides to meet Sharks leader Bernardo (George Chakiris) for a war council at a gymnasium dance; to bolster his argument, Riff wants his old pal Tony (Richard Beymer), the cofounder of the Jets, to come along. But Tony has set his sights on vistas beyond the neighborhood and has fallen in love with Bernardo's sister, Maria (Natalie Wood), a love that, as in Romeo and Juliet, will eventually end in tragedy. In contrast to the usual slash-and-burn policy of Hollywood musical adaptations, all the songs written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the original Broadway production of West Side Story were retained for the film version, although some alterations were made to appease the Hollywood censors, and the original order of two songs was reversed for stronger dramatic impact. The movie more than retains the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, which is recreated in some of the most startling and balletic dance sequences ever recorded on film. West Side Story won an almost-record ten Oscars, including Best Picture, supporting awards to Chakiris and Rita Moreno as Bernardo's girlfriend, Anita, and Best Director to Robbins and Wise. Richard Beymer's singing was dubbed by Jimmy Bryant, Natalie Wood's by Marni Nixon (who also dubbed Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady), and Rita Moreno's by Betty Wand. The film's New York tenement locations were later razed to make room for Lincoln Center. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
    Movie Type
    Movie Level Themes
      Inner City Blues, Star-Crossed Lovers, Feuds, Death in the Family, Street Gangs, Immigrant Life
    Movie Level Tones
      Bittersweet, Passionate, Poignant, Stylized, Stirring

    DVD Features

    • Blu-ray: Feature Film & Special Features
    • Pow! The Dances of West Side Story In-Movie Viewing Mode
    • Song-specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim
    • Music Machine
    • Blu-ray: Additional Special Features
    • A Place for Us: West Side Story's Legacy
    • Creation and Innovation
    • West Side Memories
    • Storyboard-to-Film Comparison Montage
    • DVD: Feature Film & Special Feature
    • Music Machine
    • 1962--British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Robert Wise-Nominee
    • 1962--British Academy of Film and Television Arts, Jerome Robbins-Nominee
    • 1961--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Jerome Robbins-Winner
    • 1961--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Ernest Lehman-Nominee
    • 1961--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Irene Sharaff-Winner
    • 1961--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Thomas G. Stanford-Winner
    • 1961--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Fred Hynes-Winner
    AMG Rating


      West Side Story is remarkable for its seamless transference from stage musical to screen classic, with the complete Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim song score intact, as well as the choreography of Jerome Robbins. The story, derived from Romeo and Juliet, works on a symbolic rather than realistic level; there is no pretense that this is a true representation of what New York City gangs were like circa 1960. Veteran director Robert Wise is probably the person most responsible for the film's success, and for retaining the best qualities of the stage production, though co-director Robbins, who feuded with Wise throughout the production, would likely disagree. After several weeks of delayed production due to Robbins' insistence on extra rehearsals, Wise tired of the Broadway legend and had him removed from the set. West Side Story swept the Oscars, taking ten awards, including awards for Best Picture and its decidedly non-cordial co-directors. The Academy gave a special choreography award to Robbins, who thanked a great many people in his acceptance speech, noticeably failing to mention Wise. ~ Richard Gilliam, Rovi


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