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Found 2 results

  1. West Side Story is a beautiful classic movie-musical, hands down. The people who said that there would never, ever be another film like it when it first came out were right on their money. Having said that, I firmly believe that West Side Story is a classic that should never, ever be re-made, for the following reasons: A) One of the beautiful things about West Side Story, as a film, is the fact that there's no explicitly sexual or overly graphic or steamy romance scenes in it. Had West Side Story come out afew years later, or if and when a re-make of this film does occur, the romance scenes, especially between Tony and Maria, as well as Anita and Bernardo, would be a great deal steamier, more graphic and more explicitly sexual. B The police in many places here in the United States have become much more militarized, much harsher in their ways of treating miscreants, delinquents or criminals, especially if they're on the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum, or people of color, and in a re-make of the film West Side Story, Lt. Schrank and Officer Krupke would become even meaner, more militant and rougher in their treatment of the newly-arrived Puerto Rican Sharks and the White European Ethnic American Jets (but especially Bernardo and the Sharks and their girls), and the language that the police used would be "bluer" and much harsher and more threatening. C) The skirmishes on the playground, as well as the Rumble (especially the Rumble) would be more graphic and bloodier, especially because guns, especially automatic assault weapons, would be used, and the insults between the Jets and Sharks would be even harsher, and more people would be killed, plus the deaths of Riff, Bernardo and Tony would be much, much bloodier. D) In the 1961 film version of West Side Story, and in West Side Story as a musical, generally, there was a much more balanced point of view; both the Jets and the Sharks were at fault for all their hatred of and feuding with each other. With a re-make of West Side Story, there would be too much of a good guys vs. bad guys atmosphere; The Jets and their girls would be considered the bad guys, and the Sharks and their girls would be considered the good guys, if one gets the drift. E) When Rita Moreno spoke about the upcoming re-make of the film West Side Story, she was predicting that a re-make of this film would be very different, and that the musical score would be either hip-hop or rap. That, imho, would help destroy what's really great about this film, as would the re-make of the dancing, which would undoubtedly be much more frenzied and overly filled with emotion. F) The Sharks and their girls would undoubtedly be conversing with each other and singing in Spanish, which is an interesting idea on the face of it, but, it did not work when it was applied to the more up-to-date Broadway stage revival of West Side Story. It did, in affect, mess with a classic. I think the same would happen in a re-make of the film version of West Side Story. G) In the more up-to-date Broadway stage revival of West Side Story, certain very integral and vital aspects of the story behind West Side Story, such as the Jet gang whistles, the finger-snapping, and the message of reconciliation between the Jets and Sharks at the end of West Side Story were all taken out of it, which, imho, detracted from the story itself, by taking these very important parts out of this Broadway stage revival of a great musical. I believe that this could very well happen in a re-make of the film West Side Story. H) The Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the story of West Side Story was originally set, and, originally filmed in many areas, is no longer the poor, run-down and somewhat rough area of NYC that it was at the time. Lincoln Center now stands in the area where West Side Story was filmed, and much of NYC's Upper West Side is now quite gentrified. It would be extremely difficult to re-create this classic film for this reason, as well. I) West Side Story, as a movie, won ten well-earned Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in late October of 1961, when it was first released into the movie theatres. It makes no sense to re-make a classic that won so many awards. J) Hollywood, unfortunately, has run out of creative ideas, which is why there are so many re-makes and sequels taking place. With rare exceptions, re-makes of classic films often come out rather badly. Witness the re-makes of both Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", and the 1968 film, "Planet of the Apes", as well as the two 1970's re-makes of the 1933 film "King Kong". These re-makes of good, classic films all went over like lead balloons, and with ample reasons. It's extremely difficult and awkward to re-set the times that are now so far out of our reach. There's something quite dreadful about trying to re-make films that were made during certain older times, or whose stories were set in older times; Quite often, it doesn't work very well. These re-makes were absolutely no exception, and I see no reason to believe that West Side Story, if and when it gets re-made, will come out any better. The fact that these are all older movies are what makes them so special, and there's no reason to destroy what's great about them by attempting to update them. West Side Story is no exception, imho. K) What seems to sell these days in the way of movies, especially to today's younger generation, are movies where there's constant exploding of things on the screen, and more graphic and explicit sexual scenes, and almost constant "blue" language. I'm admittedly no stranger to "blue" language myself, but it would be totally inappropriate and out of line in a film such as West Side Story. L) A number of advocates of a re-make of the 1961 film version of West Side Story believe that it would be more accessible to younger viewers, in their teens and 20's. I disagree with that assumption. Imho, the best way to introduce today's younger generation(s) to this great, golden oldie-but-keeper of a classic movie-musical is to have more national re-releases of the original 1961 film version of West Side Story into selected movie theatres, nationwide, as they're having later this month. M) There are a number of people who feel that the original 1961 film version of West Side Story is racist. I also disagree with this particular assumption. On the contrary, West Side Story, both as a film and a stage play, has one of the most, if not the most anti-racist messages of any films, particularly films coming out nowadays. N) To re-make the film West Side Story would be to turn it into a piece of junk, which destroys everything great about it, and contains a hip-hop or rap musical score of the original score, to make it more graphic and explicitly sexual, and even bloodier, with even more killings at the Rumble, much "bluer" language on the part of the police and on the part of the Jets and Sharks, and a more aggravated, hostile and angry "Doc", the Candy Store owner. O) Some people that I've talked to believe that a re-make of the 1961 film version of West Side Story would make many more people of all ages curious about the original 1961 film and be even more interested in seeing it. I'm not sure I agree with that, however. I can't help but have the feeling that, with the exception of availability on TV and/or DVD-Blue-Ray, that the original 1961 film West Side Story would only be available on TV, and no longer be played in movie theatres, at all. As a devout fan of the original 1961 film version of West Side Story, I would genuinely hate to see that happen!
  2. The film West Side Story just had a national re-release of it, in a number of selected movie theatres, nationwide, on June 24th, and on June 27th. Not knowing how the film would do, I bought tickets for myself, my sister-in-law, and a longtime good friend of mine for the evening show on Sunday, June 24th, and for myself on Wednesday evening, on June 27th. None of us were disappointed; we were all very happily surprised and amazed, in fact. The print of West Side Story was absolutely pristine, and the soundtrack was not only perfect, but it was powerful and in one's face, like it's supposed to be. The seats in the theatre were stadium-type seats that one could sit back, and to also stretch out our legs on, and be as comfortable as we wanted to be. There are so many different emotions in West Side Story, and the fact that they're told so intensely, accurately and competently by dance, and emphasized by colorful costumes, lots of bright colors, especially red, and a very intensely special, and colorful cinematography, not to mention a powerful and intensely brilliant musical score is one of the very things that is West Side Story's strength, on screen, as well as on stage. Everybody in the movie theatre, including ourselves, thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and it was so worth going to see. I'll be going to see the film West Side Story again, with a live rendition of the musical score by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, at Tanglewood, out in Lenox, MA, which is out in the Berkshires, on July 28th, and again, in mid to late August, at the Brattle Theatre, in Cambridge, MA. I love this film so much, and would absolutely hate to see it disappear into the dustbin of history due to Spielberg's and Kushner's re-make of it.

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