West Side Story

West Side Story

Starring: Natalie Wood Russ Tamblyn Rita Moreno George Chakiris Richard Beymer Director: Robert Wise Jerome Robbins Rated: PGRunning Time: 2 hours 32 minutes

Winner of ten Academy Awards including Best Picture, this electrifying musical sets the ageless tragedy of Romeo and Juliet in the slums of 1950s New York and stars Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer.

The stage show was a resounding success. So, it was inevitable that it would take the journey from stage to screen.

Ernest Lehman adapted the screenplay with some minor changes that make cinematic sense. Robert Wise joined Robbins on directing chores. They worked with the original stage crew and the result is a very faithful adaptation. Some of Bernstein's musical passages had to be shortened while some were extended for the reworked film scenes. This is also where the film's greatest advantage comes into play. Not limited by a pit Orchestra's size, Bernstein's music was re orchestrated for a massive sound.

Some of the casting seems haphazard. 3 major roles would need their singing dubbed (Moreno, Wood and Beymer). And Beymer's Puerto Rican physicality made his "Jets" membership questionable. Maybe those casting questions are actually positives as the film was a resounding success (taking in 10 Academy Awards).

Special Features:

  • 'West Side Memories' Restrospective Documentary - New 1 hour Featurette containing Natalie Wood's original vocal recordings and new interviews with the cast and crew, including: Robert Wise and Stephen Sondheim.
  • Original Film Intermission Music - Restored and Remixed in 5.1 SurroundStoryboard-to-film comparison
  • Original Release Trailers and Behind the Scenes Photos - film archive also includes rare and never before seen materials such as production design and storyboard galleries.

    Collectable Film Book:
  • Ernest Lehman Introduction - New essay from the Academy Award Winning Screenwriter.
  • Film Script - Complete copy of the working film script with behind the scenes photos.
  • Original Lobby Brochure Reproduction
  • Behind the Scenes Memos - plus film reviews from 1961.

    Always a big fan of musicals, it's fantastic to be able to watch this in the comfort of your own home for those good nights in.

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