Sunday, 2 February 2014

West Side Story: Phew!

1st February, 2014.
Right now … ?

Right now, I’m gently going to get something of an early night.

A comparatively early night, at any rate.

After all, the night is closing in: and my electricity is slowly running out.   Or getting nearer to me having to dip into the emergency credit, at any rate.

Either way … ?   I wanted to get a start on this particular post.

And tell you I’ve just watched West Side Story.

In part because I had a couple of tunes from it playing my head, overnight.   And in part, because the piece is one of those films — musical or otherwise — that I felt should be seen.

For no other reason than to say to myself that I’ve seen one film I know people say one should … 

2nd February, 2014.
Yes, yes, I know!   It`’s been a long time  since I got started on this post.

Some twenty-two hours, certainly.

But, amazingly … ?   

Amazing, I’ve only managed to sit down in the past couple of hours.

My nephew, Jude … ?

Is rather active: to the point of inventing the game of Catch Mummy’s Hat.

Six hours of that, train-sets, cars, keyboards and ‘Where’s The Orange’ can be fun … but SERIOUSLY exhausting … 


At any rate, I was telling you about last night’s musical, wasn’t I … ?

I’d actually managed to see the 1961 film version of Broadway musical, West Side Story: after having a couple of songs from the film play through my head, whilst sleeping.

Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, West Side Story tells us the story of the Jets — a gang of second generation Polish-American youths — and their arch rivals, the Sharks: equally young, poor,  Puerto Rican immigrants to the US.

Opening with an aerial overview of the city, the film opens by showing us that by now famous dance routing: that closes with a fight between the gangs that’s broken up with by the local police.

After the fight, The Jet’s leader, Riff, decides enough is enough: and that he, and Jets co-founder, Tony, are going to have a war council with Bernardo, the leader of The Sharks.

That war council is set for after the dance arranged by a local social worker.

What neither Jets or Sharks realise … ?   Is that Tony (Richard Beymer) is going to meet Maria (Natalie Wood) at that dance.

Meet … 

And almost immediately fall in love with … 


Now … 

Did I enjoy West Side Story, and would I see it again?

Would I recommend it to you?

Let’s start with ‘would I see it again?’, shall we?

Right at the moment, I don’t know that I would: but I can say that, yes, I did enjoy it.

Granted, West Side Story isn’t my usual run of fare: my standing joke, if anyone asks, is a film’s got to have tentacles, lasers and aliens to grab my attention.

Just don’t ask what the tentacles are doing … !

But being the musical iteration of Romeo and Juliet that it is, I feel West Side Story has much to say to us: not least that letting hate and bigotry can kill as surely as a gangster’s bullet.

And please: view the music in West Side Story as integral to both plot and character.

This is no light weight, Barnumesque/We Will Rock You piece of flummery.


West Side Story is quite a bit darker than you’d think.

For my money … ?

That makes it worth seeing, at least once.
West Side Story

No comments: