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West Side Story

Director: Robert Wise

U.S.A.| 1961. Colour. Anamorphic. dts digital sound. 151 min.


Originally filmed in glorious 70mm, West Side Story is now re-released in a restored 35mm version with a superb digital soundtrack. This was one of the biggest musicals of the 1960s, and marked a high point in the career of the late Robert Wise, who went on to make The Sound of Music. Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, the original stage musical was conceived by Jerome Robbins, who also co-directed the film with Wise. It tells of star-crossed lovers who reach across the racial/ethnic divide as rival teenage gangs the Jets (second-generation Americans from white European immigrant families) and the Sharks (newly arrived Puerto Ricans) fight for dominance on the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Robbins created something fairly radical by depicting juvenile delinquency and other inner-city problems in a mainstream Hollywood musical. His brilliant choreography is a truly spectacular combination of ballet, acrobatics and jazz specially adapted for the camera. The score by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein has become a much-loved classic.

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