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What is better? Movie or Stage show? 

What is better...West Side story movie or Stage Show?
Movie!!! 49%  49%  [ 17 ]
stage show 51%  51%  [ 18 ]
Total votes : 35

What is better? Movie or Stage show? 
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Post Mmmm...
It would have to be the stage version, although there are things I do like about the movie version. (Don't get me wrong, I do love the movie and like to watch it again and again, but I don't consider it the quintessential version of this musical.)

Some of the orchestrations are terrific, for one thing. And I like Marni Nixon's voice. And my favorite aspect of the movie version is the switching of Krupke and Cool. In the stage version...maybe I've just never seen a stage version that builds up the pre-Cool tension satisfyingly, but it seems an awfully big song and dance to release what doesn't seem to be quite enough tension. Whereas in the movie, the fear, rage and anguish after the murders, Action's anger at the man who calls him "hoodlum", all building up at a breakneck pace to Ice's shout of "YOU'LL *LAUGH*!!!", leading into the excellent song and superb choreography...all of this achieves a power that wasn't in the stage version of this song. (Although I still can't help giggling when A-Rab yells "POW!!!" and laughs like a maniac for no discernible reason.)

But the movie version does have things working against it. Being dated, for one thing. Guess it couldn't be helped since it *did* take place in the 1950s, but it's still a little jarring. And many of the actors seem too old to be believable teenagers, and Richard Beymer is no great shakes as an actor. And, as mentioned before, the lack of the "Somewhere" ballet.

I wonder what a television remake, remedying these problems, might be like?

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Thu Dec 12, 2002 10:20 am
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Post Definitely the stage show!
Though there are things I like in the movie better. Gotta agree w/Jennifer Lynn-I like Krupke and Cool switched around. . .just seems to make more sense. I also like the guys in America and the movie orchestration better-I think it's more exciting. However, I cant STAND the way the songs are transposed down for the movie, and the way they rush through "Tonight" like a bullet train. I still LOVE both, though, despite the acting limitations of a certain lead character. 8)

Oh, yeah, Ordinary Fool~ Music Man beat out WSS for best musical in 1957 because WSS's plot was too emotionally taxing. First time I heard that I practically screamed! Of all the injustices. . . . :x

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Thu Dec 12, 2002 10:21 pm
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I would have to say that I like the stage version better. Seeing "America" live is so exciting. In the movie, the dancers seem way to comfortable and relaxed. I really like seeing the girls dancing their hearts out and being sassy. I don't think you quite get that with the guys added. I also like hearing the actual actors/actresses' voices. It's more interesting to watch triple threats than to listen to people who are dubbed in my opinion.


Wed Jul 21, 2004 8:39 am
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Post Hmm....
As far as the entire presentation, as a whole, packaged......none is better, they're two different animals. Live and filmed are two separate methods of delivery.

I know I'd rather visit Paris myself, rather than getting to know it from a T.V travel show.

If you were referring to the book and musical number's sequencing or general script. The movie version seems to make better use, of the show's emotional power, in it's rearranging of some musical numbers which make the story more effective. Though, "America" was dramatically altered for film, it's the best version for the cinema. The stage version is the best version for the stage, because it's the most thrilling. It's a thrill that does not transfer to film due to the live aspect being gone. On film, the song's over-all message and situation should move the story forward, not make it stand still.

On stage, that's what showstoppers are made of, making time stand still. A live audience is willing to let the story freeze and stand still, so that Anita can express her inner emotions through dance. In film, there's no time for that. That's why movie musicals worked so well back in the day, every form of entertainment involved a presentation and entertaining was the key. Nowadays, an audience can't be entertained unless it's believable and real. The film version of "America" works because it moves the story forward with an entertaining look at the battle of the sexs. Expression through dance sits in the backseat, but rigns supreme on stage.

If it's between a live performance and a film, well the film version works for film and the stage version works for the stage. If some director stages the film version, then there needs to be a serious change of director. Directors like that are clueless! Clueless because they think the impact is no different, than the two very distinctly different methods of delivering them and the artistic reasons behind their alterations.

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Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:29 am
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The movie is very good, and I watch it all the time (One of few movie musicals that I don't hate with a passion, but actually enjoy), but I think the stage show is better because the dancing, especially the original Jerome Robbins choreo, from up close is breath taking, put with a booming orchestra and larger than life sets (depending on the producition), the live expirience can be incredible

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Tue Jul 27, 2004 8:16 pm
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Just a quick thought- I agree with everyone who says the stage version is better, because it keeps A Boy like That/I have a Love, which is my absolute favorite song in the show! The movie doesn't have it, right?


Tue Jul 27, 2004 11:10 pm
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Oh, it has the song, but it cuts out the whole section where Maria and Anita are singing counterpoint.

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Wed Jul 28, 2004 12:26 pm
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Post Stage, stage, stage
As someone who saw the professional stage production before seeing the movie, I have watched the movie 3 times now and every time it's been a painful experience... especially now that I've played Tony myself.

I agree that switching "Cool" and "Krupke" works better in the movie, but in the stage show, you NEED "Krupke" in the second act - it's the only light relief for the whole of Act II.

The movie version of "America," in my opinion, is just plain embarrassing. But I've spoken about that in other threads, so I'll leave it alone here.

I just find the movie really dated. Dated and camp. How it won 11 Academy Awards (putting it on par with "Titanic" and "The Return of the King") is completely beyond me.

Interestingly, I recently bought a C.D. of the show - the 2-disc set from the 1993 English professional production. (I was looking for a soundtrack with great orchestra performances, but without the awful-sounding opera singers - fortunately, this one fits the bill pretty well - and it's also got Caroline O'Conner, who was the first Anita I ever saw on stage in Melbourne! :) )

Anyways, there is a foreword in the C.D.'s booklet, by the director of this particular season. Here are some of his thoughts...

"The film won 11 Academy Awards and was a huge hit. But the creators were not entirely happy with the results. Laurents felt the film was "too literal" a medium for a show which Sondheim says is "about the theatre." While Robbins was hired as choreographer and co-director of the film, he was released fairly early in the filming, as he was taking "too long." Bernstein's score was re-orchestrated (Hollywood-ized), Sondheim re-wrote some lyrics and Laurents's brilliant book was make into a screenplay by Ernest Lehman. A great many changes were made for the film...

"The film does work as a whole but I do not think you can play with the stage version. There have been three NYC revivals. I truly believe that if the creators thought the film changes were improvements, they would have used them in one of the revivals. I have directed the show twelve times and done it exactly as it is written... Even attempts at updating the show are to be avoided since racial prejudice is by no means a thing of the past."


Some interesting thoughts there from a man who obviously knows what he is talking about!

Incidently, this C.D. comes with all of the "alternate" versions of the songs on the second disc. So everyone's happy. :)[/i]

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Thu Jul 29, 2004 10:28 pm
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Though I love the movie, I think I'd have to say that I enjoy the stage version even more. One of the things I like the most about West Side Story is all the dancing, and I think seeing the stage production, if it's done right, allows the audience to really see the dancing. In the movie, I felt like in some of the big dance numbers, such as "America," all the flashy camera angles made that impossible.

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Sun Aug 01, 2004 2:55 pm
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.


Last edited by snowie86 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:36 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:37 pm
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Post Re: Stage, stage, stage
.


Last edited by snowie86 on Sat Jan 23, 2010 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Aug 12, 2004 1:43 pm
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I saw the stage version around week and a half ago, but have never performed WSS....

I enjoyed it but found it VERY depressing.

I just watched the film and I adored every minute of it! Though, it was very depressing. The "Krupke"/"Cool" switch was a brilliant turn, but I thought "Krupke" was a lively addition to Act II and liveliness was an element that act lacked... I thought the film was excellent as a film.. and I'm a man who knows his movies. but that is just my opinion, and like I said I've never performed it so I dont' know it as closely as any of you guys.

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