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WEST SIDE STORY

Director: ROBERT WISE & JEROME ROBBINS

152 minutes| U.S.A.| 1961| Colour| D-Cinema


Restored and re-released in digital format to celebrate its 50th anniversary, West Side Story was one of the biggest musicals of the 1960s. Inspired by Romeo and Juliet, the original stage version was conceived by Jerome Robbins, who went on to co-direct the inevitable film adaptation with Robert Wise. It tells of star-crossed lovers who reach across the racial/ethnic divide as rival teenage gangs the Jets and the Sharks fight for dominance on the streets of New York’s Upper West Side.

Robbins created something fairly radical by depicting juvenile delinquency and other social problems in a mainstream musical. His choreography is a spectacular combination of ballet, acrobatics and jazz especially adapted for the camera. The score by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein has become a classic, and the array of songs includes such favourites as ‘Maria’, ‘Tonight’, and ‘Somewhere’. Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer make an attractive couple, but the acting honours are stolen by the more dynamic supporting players. (Notes by Peter Walsh.)

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