movie film review | chris tookey

West Side Story

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  West Side Story  Review
Tookey's Rating
10 /10
Average Rating
8.81 /10
Natalie Wood (dubbed by Marni Nixon), Richard Beymer (dubbed by Jim Bryant) (HARVARD LAMPOON AWARD - WORST ACTOR OF THE YEAR), Russ Tamblyn
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Directed by: Robert Wise , Jerome Robbins
Written by: Ernest Lehman , from Arthur Laurents's play conceived by Jerome Robbins from William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. Music by Leonard Bernstein , lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

Released: 1961
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 155

In New York, a white American Romeo (Richard Beymer) falls for a Puerto Rican Juliet (Natalie Wood).
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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One of the great film musicals, despite an odd mixture of stylised and realistic sets, and a stiff leading performance by Richard Beymer, who never looks as if he would be seen dead in a street gang. Natalie Wood has difficulty holding her accent, but is still very touching.

Most critics blame the ultra-conventional nature of the non-choreographed numbers on Wise - who took over directing from Robbins, when the latter's perfectionism threatened to take the picture over budget. Jerome Robbins's choreography of the production numbers is unsurpassed, as is Leonard Bernstein's score. Stephen Sondheim's lyrics are far from his best - soppy in the romantic numbers, tongue-twisting in America, and too sophisticated for Maria's character in I Feel Pretty; but Gee Officer Krupke is a masterpiece. Full of faults it may be, but there are few films that I've re-watched as often, or with so much enjoyment.

The film's 10 Oscars included awards to Daniel Fapp's cinematography, Boris Leven's art direction, Victor Gangelin's set decoration, Irene Sharaff's costume design, Thomas Stanford's film editing, the musical scoring by Johnny Green, Sid Ramin, Irwin Kostal, and associate producer Saul Chaplin, the sound by the Todd-AO company and the Samuel Goldwyn sound department , with a special honorary Oscar to Robbins for "his brilliant achievements in the art of choreography on film in West Side Story."

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