Sign in to follow this  
Guest

Movies I Love To Hate

43 posts in this topic

Yes slappy, I was one of those kids but back in the 60's.

As I have stated before - WSS is my favorite movie since the first time I saw it. I also mentioned, for some reason, I thought we were going to see a western. Was I surprised. To this day all can remember of that movie experience was the feeling of being totally absorbed into what was on that screen. Kind of like the dance hall scene when everything blurred except for Tony and Maria. I felt I was all alone in the dark with the screen before me even though my whole family was there and the theater was packed. This was 1968 or 69, a re-release (maybe 1970 - 10 year anniversary?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I too loved (and love) West Side Story, but I still think it was not as good as it could have been because of the casting of Richard Beymer as Tony. Like I said before, it was like asking Truman Capote to play BlueBeard the pirate. It needed a Tony as masculine as, but more sensitive than, George Chakiris (who won the Oscar), Tony's gang counterpart.

 

The music is superb, mixing the vibrant and sensuous "America" with the emotional "Maria." Why, I even had "One Hand, One Heart" sung at my wedding. Of course, we divorced 10 years later, and I even blame Beymer for that.

 

You want to talk musicals, nothing can come close to "Carousel," based on Molnar's 'Lilith,' the ever-modern story of an amoral bully who impregnates a sweet, innocent young girl and is in time killed. His punishment is to view his wife and daughter from heaven as they try to manage without him. He discovers his deep love for them both too late and is granted one day to return to earth to be with them. He is of course invisible to all, and returns on the day his daughter is graduating from school. I defy anyone to get through the finale without having tears running down their cheeks as "You'll Never Walk Alone" is sung, and Billy kneels beside his wife and then his daughter, telling both how much he loved them and how sorry he is for the mistakes he made. He then kisses both on the cheek, his wife and daughter smile, and he walks slowly into the distance, back to heaven.

 

O damn, where's the Kleenex?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capet, please tell us sometime who you would have cast in Richard Beymer's place, keeping in mind who was available at that time. Also, did you see my earlier reply to you? Scroll down a bit to find it now. ;)ML

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL bggalaxy! I can just picture you in the 50's telling your friends: "Yeah my Mom's taking me to see a Bible movie tonite, "All About Eve", and next week we're gonna see some crummy nature film: "To Kill a Mockingbird".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

classicsfan: Who would I cast in Richard Beymer's place in West Side Story? Hmmmmm someone with excellent vocal skills to effectively present the music, someone who is a tenor since most of the songs seem scored for that range, someone good looking and masculine, someone who is believable when paired with Natalie Wood AND who was available at the time. WOW!

 

I eliminated Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka and the other rock n rollers except one. OK, I'll get to the point. My first choice would be Pat Boone, second choice Bobby Darin, third choice Fabian.

 

With regard to your post, I agree that musicals should be kept alive for the younger generation to enjoy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capet...interesting choices there! I'm guessing that you left out Ricky Nelson and Elvis for a reason? I do think, however, that the last thing they wanted to do was to bring in a current "teen heart-throb" into WSS, which would have totally destroyed this film, and I'm very thankful that they didn't! I find myself wondering why a more "appropriate" (if Beymer wasn't quite it) young man with experience on Broadway couldn't have been found for the role of Tony? Maybe Beymer was the only one they could find, after a careful and thorough search. ML

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You probably already know this ML, but Elvis was director Robert Wise's first choice for Tony (according to imdb). But given that he'd already made "Jailhouse Rock" and several other films by then, and his popularity at the time, I think he would of been a distraction and may have stolen the film. It's pretty hard to argue with the results without Elvis in the cast, though I do agree that Beymer was unusual casting.

 

BTW, also according to imdb.com, Elvis was allegedly offered roles in The Rainmaker (1956), The Defiant Ones (1958), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958), Sweet Bird Of Youth (1962), The Fastest Guitar In The West (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), True Grit (1969), Willy Wonka & The Choclate Factory (1971), A Star Is Born (1976) and Grease (1978).

 

Pretty interesting, if true, eh?

 

And slappy, I read your hilarious comment before on another website. Do I know you by another name over there?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slappy, I won't tell you what I thought I'd see when I first saw "The Mating Season" with Ritter, Lund, and Tierny. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Path...Elvis in WSS, and any of the other movies you listed? I have a vivid imagination, but can't even come close to imagining him in any of those movies, in anything near to a leading role. As for Robert Wise, was he trying to pull a "The Producer's" trick asking for Elvis? Good grief! ML

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Interesting. I researched an article:

 

http://www.filmsite.org/wests.html

 

that indicates that the Broadway cast of West Side Story (which got great reviews) was completely changed for the film version, except for George Chakiris (who won the Oscar for his performance.

 

Carol Lawrence was replaced by Natalie Wood, Larry Kert by Richard Beymer and Chita Rivera by Rita Moreno. As a result, all three leads had to have their singing dubbed.

 

It goes on to say that Beymer was chosen because of the work he did in The Diary Of Ann Frank, playing Anne's sister Gretel (JUST KIDDING!!). He played Peter Van Daan. HELLO??!! I don't get the connection. And I don 't rememember any singing in that attic unless I had an Altzheimer moment and saw Mel Brooks' "Springtime For Hitler" in The Diary Of Ann Frank and not The Producers.

 

I think this is another case where 'well enough' should have been 'left alone.' If the Broadway cast wasn't broken, why did they break it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Capet, thanks for providing us with this research...good job! It appears to me that when WSS was cast they were looking for people would could dance, and had at least some acting experience. Singing ability was not a priority with the transfer from Broadway to Hollywood, and in my humble opinion, Rita Moreno showed us exactly why. She was great!

 

We'll probably never know why not all of the Broadway cast made it to the film, and I'm not sure that it really matters. Broadway and Movies are two totally separate venues, however, and casting from one to the other isn't as simple as it might seem. The film ended up being a major success then, and it still is, even for new generations of viewers, as Slappy pointed out. Regardless of Beymer (and what's with the gay-bashing?), it remains as a musical gem today, and is still one of the best musicals ever produced. ML

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the first I've heard that Moreno didn't do her own singing. Evrything I'v read and seen in interviews was that is why they wanted her for her voice and dancing.

Chakiris, by the way was in the London production of WSS but not as Bernardo but as Riff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A woman by the name of Betty Wand was the singing voice for "Anita" (Rita Moreno), and sang for songs like "A Boy Like That", and "I Have a Love". Moreno may have done "America" herself, however, because it was also a strong dance number. Marni Nixon was the singing voice for "Maria" (Natalie Wood). ML

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In reply to classicsfan1119: while this isn't about WSS, I can think of one example that might help explain why Broadway actors don't always make it to the silver screen; money. In an interview I saw recently, Karl Malden explained why Jessica Tandy, the original Broadway 'Blanche' of 'Streetcar Named Desire' was not cast in the movie. She was not considered as 'bankable' a star as Vivien Leigh. Miss Leigh had, of course, already won an Oscar for GWTW, and, despite her turbulent personal life, turned in an Academy Award winning performance in SND. But, according to Malden, both he and Kim Hunter, who would both win Oscars in supporting roles, would not have been cast if it had not been for the star power associated with Miss Leigh. Who was better, Tandy or Leigh? In this case, I'm sure it is a toss-up. But I generally find it is the bottom line that determines these things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi evh55! No doubt about it, the movie studio's first and major concern is always going to be about making money. I mentioned this in a different thread just this week. ;)ML

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a funny quote about West Side Story--it's froma review, I think, but can't remember the source:

"Natalie Wood played Maria...and lost."

 

My Mom and Dad had the soundtrack of this movie and I loved to listen to it. I like the songs better than the actual movie, especially "Officer Krumpke" and "Be Cool" (is that what it's called?)My son had to watch it last year in music and HATED it. He just didn't see how you could have a knife fight and do ballet (his terms) at the same time. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tracey, tell your son to be careful. Those ballet dancer guys can be some pretty tough hombres. Why just last year I told dancer from "Cats" that the ensemble he was wearing was just too "busy" and that his accessories were on the "flouncy" side. Whereupon he screeched "We all know where YOU'Ve been!" and proceeded to slash my gorgeous new taupe chintz curtains and melted all my Bette Middler records in the microwave!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us