Genre Grandeur – West Side Story (1961) – Encore Review 2 – MovieRob


For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Shakespeare on Film Movies, here’s a review of West Side Story (1961) by me.

Thanks again to James of Blogging By Cinema Light for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by Sally of 18 Cinema Lane and we will be reviewing our favorite Youth-Led Movies.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Jan by sending them to youthfulsally@movierob.net

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Sally!

Let’s see what I thought of this movie:

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“[singing] Here come the Jets, like a bat out of hell – Someone gets in our way, someone don’t feel so well.” – The Jets

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (TV, Video, DVD, 26 May 2013, 26 Jun 2017 and 30 Dec 2019)

Link to original reviewHere and Here

Brief Synopsis – Modern adaptation of the Romeo and Juliet story transplanted to New York City where two members of rival gangs fall in love.

My Take on it – I have never really been the biggest fan of Shakespeare’s writing and as a kid (and adult) have tried as hard as possible to avoid reading his works because they never make much sense to me.

The movies on the other hand are a bit different since watching the actions of the characters has always added to the understanding of what is being said and is going on.

In high school, we were required to read Romeo and Juliet and until I saw the 1968 adaptation (in class) I had no clue what was going on.

This film is a modern musical adaptation of that story and it makes things even more tangible and realistic to a modern viewer because it shows how timeless such a story can truly be.

The film hinges on the chemistry between the two leads played by Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer and that helps make us believe the fact that these two characters from very different backgrounds can fall in love so rapidly.

The film’s songs and music are superbly written and they help build the atmosphere of the story so well.

The choreography is splendid and is presented in such a fashion that it helps the story flow even more smoothly via the movement of the characters during the dance sequences and during the parts of the story that work dramatically.

In addition to these two leads, this film has an amazing supporting cast.

Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris each play great characters who are able to evolve over the course of the film.

Both Moreno and Chakiris won Oscars for their performances in this film.

This movie won 10 out of its 11 Oscar nominations which is quite a feat including Best Picture and Best Director.

This film has a very engaging story that works really well.

As an adult, I can appreciate this film’s story even more than I was able to when I was younger and things feel even more poignant and powerful than one would expect from a musical and I love how it manages to hold on to the basic plot points of the Shakespearean classic yet make it more accessible to a modern viewpoint.

Bottom Line – Amazing modern adaptation that makes the story even more tangible and interesting because it is quite relatable. The chemistry between Wood and Beymer is great and its easy to believe this relationship that begins so rapidly. The songs and music are superb and enhance the story even more. The choreography is done exceptionally well and that helps the story flow so smoothly. The supporting cast is also great with Moreno, Chakiris and Tamblyn all doing wonderful jobs with their characters. Both Chakiris and Moreno won Oscar for their roles here. The film won an amazing 10 out of 11 Oscars that year. The story works really well and is even more enjoyable from an adult standpoint because it is much more poignant than one would assume that a story like this could be. Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – When filming “The Taunting Scene”, Rita Moreno was reduced to tears when she was harassed and nearly raped by the Jets, as it brought back memories of when she was raped as a child. When she started crying, the Jets immediately stopped what they were doing and tried to comfort her, while pointing out that the audience was going to hate them for what they were doing. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)

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Check out my *updated* movie stats here

To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link

To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)

Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

2 thoughts on “Genre Grandeur – West Side Story (1961) – Encore Review 2 – MovieRob

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur December Finale – Julius Caesar (1953) – Blogging By Cinema Light | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: My Six from the 60’s | MovieRob

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