West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks, and the Making of a Classic
Richard Barrios (Author)
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DescriptionA captivating full account of a vital, exciting, and turbulent cultural moment: the making of ground-breaking classic West Side Story (1961).A major hit on Broadway, on film West Side Story became immortal. Unforgettable songs, an urgent love story, audacious choreography in real New York locations: West Side Story was a movie different from anything that had come before, but this cinematic victory came at a price.The film's enormous budget and complicated logistics made it a difficult production, and massive overruns in both cost and schedule led to tension between co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The result was Robbins being fired midway through the filming, a termination devastating to the film's star, Natalie Wood, who was also shattered upon discovering that she would not be permitted to do her own singing.Over nearly six decades, West Side Story has endured, past its off-screen dramas, as a classic. What other film makes such intrinsically powerful and brilliant use of dance? How many have been so emotionally meaningful, as set to Leonard Bernstein's music and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics? Plus, given its Shakespearean roots (Romeo and Juliet), how often is any film -- let alone a musical -- so simultaneously timeless and current? Small wonder that the film continues to be a favorite.The production and impact of this classic have been recounted, so far, only in vestiges. As written by film historian Richard Barrios, this book is a captivating account of a crucial and exciting cultural moment. West Side Story was a triumph that appeared to be very much of its time; over the years, and especially in this text, it has shown itself to be eternal.
2 July 2020
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