Sunday, May 27, 2012

West Side Story


West Side Story (50th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

#41 (1998) and #51 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 Films List

West Side Story is a 1961 musical film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The film is an adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which in turn was adapted from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris and it was photographed by Daniel L. Fapp, A.S.C., in Super Panavision 70.

The film's opening sequence was shot on the streets of New York City, mainly in the area where the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts campus of Fordham University now stands. Veteran director Robert Wise was chosen as the director and producer because of his familiarity with urban New York dramas, such as Odds Against Tomorrow. Wise had never directed a musical before and when it was suggested that Jerome Robbins, who had directed the stage version, be brought in to handle all the music and dance sequences in the film, Wise agreed. After about one-third of the movie had been shot, the Mirisch Company, which had become increasingly concerned that the production was over-budget, fired Robbins, who, according to Saul Chaplin in his autobiography, nearly suffered a nervous breakdown during the time he worked on the film. The remaining dance numbers were handled by Robbins' assistants. However, because of his great creative contribution to the film, Wise agreed Robbins be given co-directing credit, even though Wise directed the majority of the film himself. The ending title sequence was created by Saul Bass, who is also credited as "visual consultant" on the film.

The film was released on October 18, 1961, through United Artists. It received praise from critics and the public, and became the second highest grossing film of the year in the United States. The film won ten Academy Awards in its eleven nominated categories, including Best Picture, as well as a special award for Robbins. West Side Story holds the distinction of having won more Academy Awards than any other musical film (unless one counts the Honorary Award given to Maurice Chevalier in 1959, the year that Gigi won its nine Oscars). The soundtrack album sold more copies than any soundtrack album before it, and more than the original cast album did.

* Natalie Wood (Marni Nixon, singing) – Maria Nunez, Bernardo's younger sister, Chino's fiancĂ©e
* Richard Beymer (Jimmy Bryant, singing) – Tony Wycek, inactive co-founder of the Jets with best friend Riff, works at Doc's drug store
* Russ Tamblyn – Riff Lorton, leader of the Jets, best friend of Tony
* Rita Moreno (Betty Wand, singing) – Anita, Bernardo's girl
* George Chakiris – Bernardo Nunez, leader of the Sharks
* Simon Oakland – Lieutenant Schrank, neighborhood police Lieutenant
* Ned Glass – Doc, drugstore owner
* William Bramley – Officer Krupke, neighborhood cop, Schrank's right-hand man
* John Astin – Glad Hand, social worker
* Penny Santon – Madam Lucia, owner of neighborhood bridal shop

Jets

* Tucker Smith – Ice, Riff's lieutenant
* Tony Mordente – Action, a Jet who is easily provoked and often in an angry state
* Eliot Feld – Baby John, the youngest member of the Jets
* David Winters – A-Rab, Baby John's best friend
* Bert Michaels – Snowboy, the comedic member of the Jets
* David Bean – Tiger
* Robert Banas – Joyboy
* Anthony 'Scooter' Teague – Big Deal
* Harvey Hohnecker – Mouthpiece
* Tommy Abbott – Gee-Tar

Jet Girls

* Susan Oakes – Anybodys, a tomboy who keeps pestering Riff to be in the Jets
* Gina Trikonis – Graziella, Riff's girl.
* Carole D'Andrea – Velma, Ice's girl
* Rita Hyde d'Amico – Clarice, Big Deal's girl
* Pat Tribble – Minnie, Baby John's girl
* Francesca Bellini – "Cool" dancer
* Elaine Joyce – dancer


Sharks

* Jose DeVega – Chino Martin, Bernardo's best friend
* Jay Norman – Pepe, Bernardo's lieutenant
* Gus Trikonis – Indio, Pepe's best friend
* Eddie Verso – Juano
* Jamie Rogers – Loco
* Larry Roquemore – Rocco
* Robert E. Thompson – Luis
* Nick Covacevich – Toro
* Rudy Del Campo – Del Campo
* Andre Tayir – Chile

Shark Girls

* Yvonne Othon – Consuela, Pepe's girl
* Suzie Kaye – Rosalia, Indio's girl
* Joanne Miya – Francisca, Luis's girl
* Maria Henley - Teresita, Loco's girl
Act I

1. "Overture" – Orchestra
2. "Prologue" – Orchestra
3. "Jet Song" – Riff, Jets
4. "Something's Coming" – Tony
5. "Dance at the Gym" – Orchestra
6. "Maria" – Tony
7. "America" – Anita, Bernardo, Sharks and Girls
8. "Tonight" – Tony, Maria
9. "Gee, Officer Krupke" – Riff, Jets

Act II

1. "I Feel Pretty" – Maria, Consuela, Rosalia, Francisca
2. "One Hand, One Heart" – Tony, Maria
3. "Quintet" – Maria, Tony, Anita, Riff, Bernardo, Jets, Sharks
4. "The Rumble" – Orchestra
5. "Somewhere" – Tony, Maria
6. "Cool" – Ice, Jets
7. "A Boy Like That/I Have a Love" – Anita, Maria
8. "Somewhere (Reprise)" – Maria
9. "Finale" – Orchestra

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