16 April 2014

West Side Story, 1961 - ★★★★

With a great ending and those fantastic songs still ringing around in my head I came out of West Side Story having really enjoying the experience. The film looks great, especially the 70mm version I saw as part of Bradford's Widescreen Weekend, the colours and streets all so vivid.

Taken as a whole though I think the film is severely flawed. The "love at first sight" sequence is magnificent but the resulting relationship feels completely unbelievable. It isn't helped by all taking place over a couple of days; would Maria still side with Tony after only knowing him for hours or am I just a cynical bastard. It feels futile to complain about the dancing in a musical but I thought the opening dance (which many seem to love) completely tedious, overlong and just inappropriate for the characters (although the camera choreography is pretty special). Fortunately the rest of the dancing is much more suitable and less jarring. I also found a lot of the songs didn't work that well either and would have preferred a shorter film with fewer songs.

Overall I came out happy but it's not one of the greatest musicals I was expecting.

April 16, 2014 at 07:06PM

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