West Side Story (Three-Disc 50th Anniversary Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray packaging)
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On the bonus features disc, "A Place for Us: West Side Story's Legacy" explores how incredibly groundbreaking and innovative the film was. Offering their musings are contemporary producers, directors, actors, and choreographers, among them Adam Shankman (Hairspray and Rock of Ages), Zach Woodlee (Glee), and Mikhail Baryshnikov (White Nights and Baryshnikov on Broadway), as well as Sondheim and assistant director Robert Relyea, and even composer Leonard Bernstein's daughter Jamie Bernstein. What comes through loud and clear is that West Side Story was a revolutionary film: a project in which three men from three separate disciplines came together to tell a story in a completely new way and in which the traditional boundaries between dancing, acting, and singing simply dissolved. The feature explores the emotional impact of this then-new form of storytelling and how it led the way for musicals, and later music videos, to tackle serious subject matter. It also looks at the global reach of the film, gives a nod to the many modern films and television programs that have paid homage to the film over the years, and explains how the musical inspired the West Side Story Project, in which police and theaters in places like Seattle join forces to facilitate open conversation and interaction among gang members, police, and local theaters. The 56-minute "West Side Memories" features director and coproducer Robert Wise, playwright Arthur Laurents, lyricist Sondheim, executive producer Walter Mirisch, various other cast and crew members, and even the voice of Jerome Robbins, thanks to a recording of a 1960 interview. They expound on everything, from the unique form of this musical to the genius of Leonard Bernstein and his uncanny way of combining popular music with Cuban and jazz influences, as well as aspects of classical music. They also touch on the complex choreography of Robbins and the intense relationship he had with the dancers, and Sondheim's uncanny ability to tailor a song to a specific role and to function as an extension of the author. There's discussion about how different the characters of Maria, Anita, Tony, and Riff are and how markedly the demands of playing each role differ, as well as an interesting and very frank conversation about Saul Chaplin's insistence on dubbing many of the singing voices. Other special features include a storyboard-to-film comparison montage and four trailers: original theatrical, original issue, reissue, and animated. --Tami Horiuchi
Pow! The Dances of West Side Story In-Movie Viewing Mode
Song-Specific Commentary by Stephen Sondheim
Disc 2: Blu-ray Additional Special Features
A Place for Us: West Side Story’s Legacy
Creation and Innovation
A Timeless Vision
West Side Memories
Storyboard-to-Film Comparison Montage
Disc 3: DVD
West Side Story Digitally Restored in
Top Customer Reviews
The one hour documentary featuring interviews with some of the cast, Robert Wise, Harold Prince, Sondheim, and some key crew members is completely engrossing. Home movie footage showing the filming of the movie is included. Examples of the techniques that the movie makers used to film a musical are fascinating. I was amazed that the knife scene, for example, is COMPLETELY counted out and the actor/dancers' movements were choreographed down to the second (breath, two, three, four; stab, two three; look, two, three, four). Incredible! Rita Morena is particularly informative regarding the dubbing of her song "A Boy Like That". The Robbins/Wise codirecting of the film is explained. And some of Natalie Wood's original vocals are included. The documentary is invaluable for fans of the film.
As for the film itself, it looks and sounds incredible on my widescreen HDTV. The anamorphic transfer is very good.
The DVD is packaged very well. The book which accompanies the set is very cool, with a great introduction by screenwriter Ernest Lehman (who is one of my movie heros).
I'm very impressed with this special edition of WEST SIDE STORY. The film is a classic, and deserves such treatment.
Little known writer in Elizabethian England pens a drama about two star-crossed lovers. Flash ahead to the turbulent streets of New York in the late 1950s and early 60s. Turn feuding families to rival gangs. Add music, choreography, make it vital. Then find a brilliant director who knows what to show, and watch as it takes home every Oscar it can.
We know the story of this film but what's important for you to know about here are the extras you get in this package that make it worth your while: The first disc is the film, preserved perfectly. And the second disc has your special features.
First, you get a great documentary on the making of the film. Titled "West Side Memories," Principals like Sondheim, Moreno, Chakiris, Beymer and more sit before the cameras and explain the process of preparing and executing what could be the finest example of the Hollywood Musical, ever. It's a piece that's could have been a stand alone DVD, it's so rich with insights.
You also get an interesting "Storyboard to Film" montage, where you see the artist's renderings of the scenes, and how those shots looked when they appeared in the film. You get to study these storyboards more carefully in several galleries on the disc. Lots of other goodies, like the theatrical trailers and photos galore... everything from Jerome Robbins's cattle call for dancers to location shots during production!Read more ›
PLOT: In a nut shell, this is Romeo and Juliet in the ghetto. Natilie Wood (dubbed by Marni Nixon) is Maria; poor, Puertorican and in love with Richard Beymer (Tony). But her brother, Bernardo (George Chakaris) and his girlfriend, Anita (Rita Moreno) don't approve. If you know your Shakespeare, you know how this one ends. The difference here are the songs, so electric and outstanding that they easily steal the show. Try listening to "America" or "I Feel Pretty" without tapping your toes or "One Hand, One Heart" without getting goose-bumps. It's impossible.
MGM gives us some nice packaging and some extras but let's state the obvious first: this transfer is identical to the one previously issued on DVD. Having said that, the transfer is quite good, with a rich bold color scheme and fair solid blacks. But there are cases where edge enhancement is present and quite obtrusive. There's also a lot of pixelization in the backgrounds.
Certain scenes appear slightly out of focus, while others are so sharp that even with your televsion sharpness turned to zero, the image is rather hard to look at on the screen.
The soundtrack is very strident. Songs are presented at an explosive listening level that really rocks the house. But other bits of dialogue are soft or muffled. Some of the songs have a grating high pitch to them that really strains the ear.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This has been one of my favorites since I was a teen-ageer, I wanted my granddaughter( an aspiring dancer) to see it.Published 3 days ago by pamela sullivan
I'm thrilled to have a movie that I thought I'd never enjoy again as I got rid of cable.Published 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
The details were remarkable in this Blu-ray version. The following scenes illustrated this clarity.
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Excellent soundtrack. Really enjoyed seeing the late 50's and early 60's scenery.Published 8 days ago by SusanD
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