Thursday, March 21, 2013

MYST POST #2: West Side Story

West Side Story is an all-time favorite of music-lovers all over the world. It came out in 1961 and was adapted from the 1957 Broadway musical. It starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris. The story is a new version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. It is set in New York City and focuses on 2 different gangs, the Jets and the Sharks. Maria (Natalie Wood)and Tony (Richard Beymer) fall in love, but fight to keep their love alive as their families and friends rival each other. One of the directors of this film was Robert Wise who directed The Sound of Music and Star Trek among many others. Also, Jerome Robbins was the other director and the choreographer. 

I absolutely love this film. I have seen it numerous times and has always been one of my favorite movies. The music is the most important part of the film, every song is beautifully written and sung with passion by the stars of the film. One of my favorite scenes is when Maria and Tony are trying to figure out how they are going to get away together. It includes the song "Somewhere" which is my favorite song. In the scene, Tony holds Maria who is crying and comforts her by saying there is a place for them to be happy somewhere. The lighting in the beginning of the scene is very interesting, there is a dividing line of color between Tony and Maria. I think this symbolizes the division between the two lovers because of their separated lives. The scene is very powerful and sad because it shows the overwhelming hope they both have to be together. 

The camerawork in this film is very interesting and greatly executed. During the dance numbers they usually film wider shots to show everyone and then there are also shots that are very quiet and intimate between characters. The look of this film is overall pretty dark, it gets darker as the movie progresses to show the sadness and despair. The use of the camera also shows the different lives of both of the gangs. The Jets aren't shown in their homes, but out on the streets with the gang. Then there are the Sharks who are always with their family and other gang members in their small apartments. The camera comes from many different characters perspectives, which is very interesting and keeps the idea of division in play. 

Overall, I adore this movie for the music, the acting and the message. It shows that love is true and even if it seems forbidden it can prevail over all odds. I would rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to really anyone, but especially people who love music and dancing. 


  1. This movie is amazing! You did a really great job of showing that in your post!

  2. I love this movie! I had never noticed what you mentioned about the lighting during "Somewhere," but that makes a ton of sense -- I'll have to look for that next time I watch it. Your review made me really want to see this again.

  3. A classic musical, but surprisingly, I've never seen the whole thing- just clips. I need to watch the whole thing though. So many people love this movie.

    Weirdly, we just saw Natalie Wood too, in Rebel Without a Cause. Which movie do you think she does a better job in?

    Good work with the review! Keep watching movies!