West Side Story (1961)

Link: West Side Story

Summary: The classic forbidden love story of Romeo and Juliette retold as a dance and song musical on the 1950’s New York streets.

Thoughts: Though I’d already heard pretty much all the songs and music from this popular musical, I’d never actually seen the movie.  And, eh, it was OK.  A bit too wannabe-hip for my tastes, and the dancing was blegh, except for when they did flips, because flips are always cool.  But it’s like, “Hey, we’re hip, ‘cause we’re snappin’ our fingers to the groove, and now watch us gracefully kick our legs really high!”  What?  Stop it.  What do you think you’re doing?  If you’re going to dance, then you should dance like they did in Singin’ in the Rain.  And I’ve never found Romeo and Juliette to be a very compelling story; it’s such baseless shallow love.  “I see you, and now I love you!”  “Me too!”  “Why do we love each other?  Just because!”  Blegh, I say!  Bah humbug!

Anyway, it’s hard not to love Leonard Bernstein’s beautiful music.  Sondheim’s lyrics are OK, but not nearly as intricate or interesting or witty as they’d become in his later work.

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