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Why West Side Story is my Alltime Favorite Movie: 
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Post It's the sign of the times.
satch wrote:
Brock07 wrote:
Micaela? wrote:
Brock07 wrote:
satch wrote:
awww so what if this thread is already made before. so wssfan has a passion for west side story. i think it's pretty neat. personally i never seen this thread and right now i'm checking out west side story and i think i'm gonna rent it tonight .

i hate the decline of society thru the ages.... back in the day you had great movie musical movies like your my fair lady or your sound of music or west side story.. now the closest thing you have to a musical for the current generation that's new out in the theatres is "high school musical 3".

well i guess sweeney todd should deserve some credit.

but still. *shakes fist*




Have you heard of Mamma Mia? :wink:


Hairspray and Rent were in theatres too...not the best examples of movie musicals, but still.


Then I'm curious about what makes Sweeney Todd special in that it deserves credit. I'm not bashing or anything, I'm just curious. Both Mamma Mia and Hairspray did much MUCH better commercially than Sweeney. Both were more mainstream and will be more enduring in our culture. With the exception of musical fanatics like us, people will look back on this time, as we do now to the 50s and 60s with West Side Story, Sound of Music, and Singin In The Rain, and see Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Chicago, and dare I say it, High School Musical.

So just curious.


sorry but musicals like oklahoma/ my fair lady/ sound of music had a greater impact than musicals like mammia mia/ hairspray/rent would ever have. i guess it is because of the times... back in those days (50s/60s) you didnt have any other forms of entertainment. i mean.....my mom was telling me that when bye bye birdie ran on tv, everybody was talking about it at the lunch table the next day... i mean EVERYBODYYYYYYYY....... even people not even in theatre...... now these days you have video games , 500 plus channels, the internet.... so many distractions....

so in a way...yes.......... the increase in diff. types of medium has ruined a muscal's impact.

sorry...that's how i feel.


You could very well be right, satch. Musicals just aren't the way they used to be. Like all musicals/movies, they reflect the times in which they're made. In addition to the film West Side Story, I've also seen My Fair Lady, Sound of Music, Oklahoma, Sweeney Todd, and Cabaret, Godspell, and Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd, and Hair. All of the above musicals I've seen on both stage and screen, and I forgot to include Wizard of Oz, which I've also seen on both stage and screen.

Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd, for whatever reason(s), was never, ever made into a movie, and I've only seen Brigadoon and Showboat on stage.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand, the great, veneral golden oldie-but-goody movie/musical classic, West Side Story, is my alltime favorite film, hands down. The first time I ever saw the movie was at a now-closed cinema in a town north of Boston, called the Route 3 Cinema City. I fell in love with the film immediately and had my love for this great film re-inforced roughly 4 years later on a six-week trip to Europe when one of the people in the group I was with had brought a cassette tape of the movie soundtrack of WSS, which was played almost every evening. It was then that my great love for this film really took off. Need I say I've been hooked on it since?
:)


Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:38 pm
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Uh...Rent has had a pretty damn big influence on musical theatre and culture in general. Remember, it was THE musical during almost the entire course of its run. As it's been said a gazillion and a half times, it's the Hair of the 90s.

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Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:46 pm
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Brock07 wrote:
Micaela? wrote:
Brock07 wrote:
satch wrote:
awww so what if this thread is already made before. so wssfan has a passion for west side story. i think it's pretty neat. personally i never seen this thread and right now i'm checking out west side story and i think i'm gonna rent it tonight .

i hate the decline of society thru the ages.... back in the day you had great movie musical movies like your my fair lady or your sound of music or west side story.. now the closest thing you have to a musical for the current generation that's new out in the theatres is "high school musical 3".

well i guess sweeney todd should deserve some credit.

but still. *shakes fist*




Have you heard of Mamma Mia? :wink:


Hairspray and Rent were in theatres too...not the best examples of movie musicals, but still.


Then I'm curious about what makes Sweeney Todd special in that it deserves credit. I'm not bashing or anything, I'm just curious. Both Mamma Mia and Hairspray did much MUCH better commercially than Sweeney. Both were more mainstream and will be more enduring in our culture. With the exception of musical fanatics like us, people will look back on this time, as we do now to the 50s and 60s with West Side Story, Sound of Music, and Singin In The Rain, and see Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Chicago, and dare I say it, High School Musical.

So just curious.


Oh God. You really think in 50 years High School Musical will still be around? I personally thought it will just be forgotten.


Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:47 pm
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dolbinau wrote:
Brock07 wrote:
Micaela? wrote:
Brock07 wrote:
satch wrote:
awww so what if this thread is already made before. so wssfan has a passion for west side story. i think it's pretty neat. personally i never seen this thread and right now i'm checking out west side story and i think i'm gonna rent it tonight .

i hate the decline of society thru the ages.... back in the day you had great movie musical movies like your my fair lady or your sound of music or west side story.. now the closest thing you have to a musical for the current generation that's new out in the theatres is "high school musical 3".

well i guess sweeney todd should deserve some credit.

but still. *shakes fist*




Have you heard of Mamma Mia? :wink:


Hairspray and Rent were in theatres too...not the best examples of movie musicals, but still.


Then I'm curious about what makes Sweeney Todd special in that it deserves credit. I'm not bashing or anything, I'm just curious. Both Mamma Mia and Hairspray did much MUCH better commercially than Sweeney. Both were more mainstream and will be more enduring in our culture. With the exception of musical fanatics like us, people will look back on this time, as we do now to the 50s and 60s with West Side Story, Sound of Music, and Singin In The Rain, and see Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Chicago, and dare I say it, High School Musical.

So just curious.


Oh God. You really think in 50 years High School Musical will still be around? I personally thought it will just be forgotten.


I sure hope not. I loved Rent, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd and even Mamma Mia. Don't forget about Grease.

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Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:02 pm
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I think it'll still be remembered, same as the "Beach Party" movies are remembered fifty years on today. Same genre, teen musical with pop music of the day, same basic concepts. They're just considered B-movies now.

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Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:14 pm
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I don't really appreciate the WSS movie. I got very bored after 20 minutes.

I agree with Sondheim's view on most movie musicals.. especially WSS..
He said something about them moving far too slowly and not having the same amount of expression, or something like that.

I still like the show though, and the music.

But I don't really like a lot of movie muscials. I'll watch just to remember about the show. Its like the cheap, crappy, convenient alternative. Meh.

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Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:23 pm
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fjays wrote:
I don't really appreciate the WSS movie. I got very bored after 20 minutes.

I agree with Sondheim's view on most movie musicals.. especially WSS..
He said something about them moving far too slowly and not having the same amount of expression, or something like that.

I still like the show though, and the music.

But I don't really like a lot of movie muscials. I'll watch just to remember about the show. Its like the cheap, crappy, convenient alternative. Meh.


This interview is insightful of why Sondheim doesn't like movie musicals:

http://www.stageandscreenonline.com/dow ... eeney.html

(Of course, maybe too conveniently, he likes Sweeney Todd)


Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:53 pm
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Post Different strokes for different folks.
fjays wrote:
I don't really appreciate the WSS movie. I got very bored after 20 minutes.

I agree with Sondheim's view on most movie musicals.. especially WSS..
He said something about them moving far too slowly and not having the same amount of expression, or something like that.

I still like the show though, and the music.

But I don't really like a lot of movie muscials. I'll watch just to remember about the show. Its like the cheap, crappy, convenient alternative. Meh.


To each their own, I guess. While I'm aware of Sondheim's and Laurents' negative opinion of the movie version of West Side Story, it hasn't stopped me from having a different opinion of the movie WSS and going to see it everytime it comes to one of our indie movie theatres in town, or even on TCM TV. While I agree that the majority of musicals tend to lose their "kick" when transferred from stage to screen, I believe that West Side Story, for all kinds of reasons, is a rare exception.


Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:55 pm
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satch wrote:
sorry but musicals like oklahoma/ my fair lady/ sound of music had a greater impact than musicals like mammia mia/ hairspray/rent would ever have. i guess it is because of the times... back in those days (50s/60s) you didnt have any other forms of entertainment. i mean.....my mom was telling me that when bye bye birdie ran on tv, everybody was talking about it at the lunch table the next day... i mean EVERYBODYYYYYYYY....... even people not even in theatre...... now these days you have video games , 500 plus channels, the internet.... so many distractions....

so in a way...yes.......... the increase in diff. types of medium has ruined a muscal's impact.

sorry...that's how i feel.

Well, these days, I don't think any Broadway musical will have as much impact. I think people in the 1950s knew more about what was on Broadway than people today. Back then it was turn the Broadway musical into a movie, now it's sort of the otherway around. Even with a film like Sweeney Todd, the time between its opening and the film is almost 30 years. And Hairspray was film -> musical -> film. Right now, Hollywood is taking some familiar Broadway favorites like Mamma Mia! and making a movie out of it, and Broadway returns the favor by taking a film and turning it into a muscial. The advantage of the latter is that the stage product is based on something the people know. The Drowsy Chaperone was a great show but an unknown product to the average tourist. Even I had some apprehension when first seeing it. Wicked however, just say based on the The Wizard of Oz and you've got an instant sell.

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Tue Jan 27, 2009 9:13 pm
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Pounce wrote:
satch wrote:
sorry but musicals like oklahoma/ my fair lady/ sound of music had a greater impact than musicals like mammia mia/ hairspray/rent would ever have. i guess it is because of the times... back in those days (50s/60s) you didnt have any other forms of entertainment. i mean.....my mom was telling me that when bye bye birdie ran on tv, everybody was talking about it at the lunch table the next day... i mean EVERYBODYYYYYYYY....... even people not even in theatre...... now these days you have video games , 500 plus channels, the internet.... so many distractions....

so in a way...yes.......... the increase in diff. types of medium has ruined a muscal's impact.

sorry...that's how i feel.

Well, these days, I don't think any Broadway musical will have as much impact. I think people in the 1950s knew more about what was on Broadway than people today. Back then it was turn the Broadway musical into a movie, now it's sort of the otherway around. Even with a film like Sweeney Todd, the time between its opening and the film is almost 30 years. And Hairspray was film -> musical -> film. Right now, Hollywood is taking some familiar Broadway favorites like Mamma Mia! and making a movie out of it, and Broadway returns the favor by taking a film and turning it into a muscial. The advantage of the latter is that the stage product is based on something the people know. The Drowsy Chaperone was a great show but an unknown product to the average tourist. Even I had some apprehension when first seeing it. Wicked however, just say based on the The Wizard of Oz and you've got an instant sell.


You're absolutely spot-on about this, Pounce! Broadway musicals (and theatre generally) today really aren't what they used to be, and people are not as aware of what's happening on Broadway, either. There's a desire to keep things sort of up to date, to please more contemporary audiences, and this generation, overall. It's funny that the reverse is happening: Broadway musicals used to be turned into movies, now movies are being turned into musicals, or musicals are being based on oither musicals, or revivals of older musicals are being tailored to contemporary audiences and whatever's "chic".

Nowadays, too, there's often been a trememdous downsizing of casts, props, crew, and even the scenery, and this has been going on for the past several decades. One big reason, I believe, is the fact that many, if not most young actors/actresses aren't unionized, and therefore not well-trained or well-paid, and have not had the chance to really hone their craft, or to launch their career. I saw a revival of the stage version of "Oklahoma" almost 5 years ago in my area, and regretted not having looked a review in the Arts section of our local paper before buying myself a ticket and attending this production. I did, however, see the review afterwards, which rated this "Oklahoma" revival mediocre at best.

What had been advertised as a Broadway revival of "Oklahoma" was not the kind of Broadway stage production of "Oklahoma" that I'd seen back in the early 1960's, which was fabulous. The more recent revival that I saw was a very pared-down revival of this musical, with less scenery, less cast, fewer props, and a down-sized crew. Inotherwords, it was a shell of its old self. I learned a lesson from this.

I also saw the musical "Movin' Out", which, while my friend and I enjoyed, was not the kind of really exuberant, spontaneous kind of musical of the old days.

Not long after that, on another website, I read a letter that a woman from New York had posted on that particular forum, that had been forwarded to her by a cast member of "Les Miserables", a long-running musical with an equity cast. I read the letter with much interest, because I believe that it shed much light on the reasons for the decline of musicals and of live theatre generally. Lack of unionization and inadequate training of young actors/actresses, little to no opportunity to hone their craft, and inadequate pay were cited in that letter. In this letter, it was also suggested that before spending 80-100 some-odd-dollars on a ticket for a seat for a "Broadway" revival of wherever place, one should contact the box-office of the theatre and find out if it's an equity cast. ( Equity casts are unionized, better trained, have had more opportunity to hone their craft, and are better paid.) If it's not an equity cast, or the person at the box office isn't sure, don't buy.

Back to the subject at hand, the musical West Side Story, is in a class all by itself, which is what makes this musical so special, both on screen and on stage. Whenever a screening of the film West Side Story is due to come to town, be it in one of our indie movie theatres, or even on TCM televesion, I mentally prepare and anticipate its arrival in excitement for days, weeks, or even months in advance. I know it sounds wierd, but that's what I do.

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Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:11 am
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i find this topic very bizarre .

although i'm not into theatre as most of you here. i haven't acted on stage nor do i know much about theatre (but i'm learning).

but i'm Indian and in my culture, our movies are ...basically musicals.....any movie you watch that's bollywood... you'll see action.. then they break into song....then action.. then song.

so in a way, i just...i dont consider high school musical to really even be ...well.....a musical. it's just... a western version attempt of bollywood.


i guess i consider a musical a musical if it's performed on stage.

i do agree with the impact of Rent. that is a great movie. and i really think movies can help introduce certain musicals to people who normally wouldn't be into that sort of thing.

for instance, high school musical introduced theatre to my lil sis and she was never into that. so i think stuff like legally blonde, hsm, wicked!, etc can be beneficial.

but i dunno. i guess we all have our favs.

i tried listening to the west side story soundtrack and it's a great soundtrack.. but i will never get the full experience unless i seen the production and/or movie.

it's like what i tried to do with Into the Woods.... i listened to the soundtrack only.. i got confused and couldn't understand it... in fact i didn't like it because it was too confusing... but when i saw the production, i fell in love with it. it made sense.

so yes, i do think the visuals are probably if not as impt as the actual audio recording.

sorry if i rambled.

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Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:35 pm
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Post Interesting info, satch. Thanks.
I've never seen any bollywood movies, but they sound interesting.

I don't know much about the theatre either, but any little bit that I learn is helpful, imho.

I have both the CD soundtracks of the film version and the original Broadway stage versions of West Side Story. I also love listening to the movie soundtrack to WSS, because I always envision the movie in my head when I do.


Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:14 pm
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